I see a lot of people who complain of feeling tired all the time, otherwise known as chronic fatigue. They are tired mentally, emotionally and physically. They wake up tired and struggle through their day with increasing irritability and a growing dissatisfaction with life. The longer the situation is allowed to continue the more often other complications arise, such as lowered immunity, poor digestion and bad mood.
Do any of the following statements ring true for you?
- I regularly feel tired for no apparent reason.
- I mostly wake up feeling tired.
- I often feel like I’m coming down with a cold or flu.
- I regularly feel depressed.
- I am increasingly irritable over minor details.
- I feel like lying down in the middle of the day.
- I snack with the hope of feeling more energy.
- I am too tired to do the things I used to enjoy.
If three or more of the above statements apply, it is time to look at your dietary and lifestyle habits. If in addition any of the following are true for you, then you may want to get some help with addressing the problem.
- I have had a very stressful event in the past year, such as moving house or job, financial difficulties, relationship break-up or bereavement.
- I have been diagnosed with a thyroid problem.
- I have one or more chronic health problems.
- I had a severe flu-like illness in the past year.
- I am premenopausal or going through the menopause.
- I have been overworking for the past year or longer.
- I rarely sleep through the night.
Fatigue is real
Too often people with chronic fatigue are told it is all in their head and to pull themselves together and get on with it. Such statements add to the stress. I often meet with clients who will bring in a big bag of supplements they are taking and still cannot regain their energy.
Food sensitivities are harder to identify than food allergies. You may be able to tolerate a certain food once or twice a week but more than that and you start feeling low. However once you start reviewing your eating habits it gets easier to identify if some foods disagree with you.
Life is to be enjoyed not endured.
Sometimes fatigue is due to persisting on a path that does not align with our core values and beliefs. Sometimes we take a job that pays the bills but offers no mental stimulation or satisfaction. Working with people who complain all the time, or answering to a boss who is never satisfied with our work can be draining.
It can be exhausting to consistently be met with obstacles when pursuing something we want, yet despite our best efforts remains out of reach. Accepting that it is time to change direction can be difficult but if you become willing to let go and open up to being shown another way forward, that can be enough to shift stuck energy.
Persistent fatigue is the body’s way of telling us to stop doing what we are doing, to ask for help, and seek a solution and not a quick fix.
Change your dietary habits
Increasing your energy begins with improving the quality of the foods you eat. The less overly processed food-like substances you eat and the more real food you eat, the sooner you can begin to feel better. I don’t give out diet plans to follow, but instead look at what dietary habits you can easily change to start feeling better. You did not get tired overnight, and recovering your energy is a process that can be achieved at a pace that suits you. Trying to change too much at once can be overwhelming and just increases stress.
Energy feeds on energy
Doing some form of daily exercise is important. My favourite is going for a walk, preferably where there is a lot of trees and not too much noise. You begin with what you can comfortably do and go from there.
Herbs to the rescue!
Adaptogens are nutrient dense herbs that increase stamina and help the body cope better with physical and mental stress. Some of the best known adaptogenic herbs are Siberian ginseng, Ashwaganda, Gotu kola and Astragalus. These are usually given in the form of nutritive powders that can be blended into smoothies or mixed with fresh juice.
Loss of energy tends to mean sluggish digestion and sometimes that includes the need to assist the bowels with efficient elimination. Luckily we have plenty of herbs that excel at helping to cleanse, tone and nourish the bowels without any major discomfort.
Depending on what other symptoms you may have I may recommend some tonic herbs for the nervous and digestive systems, or herbs to balance hormones or improve immunity, or herbs to help you sleep. The good news is that once you get started with dietary and lifestyle changes and herbal support you are on the way to recovering your energy.