5 Tips to Fight Fatigue
Tiredness throughout the day is a familiar feeling for most adults. Whether it’s due to a rough night of sleep or an afternoon slump after a big lunch, it’s easy to yearn for the days of childhood when a daily nap was a given. However, there’s a difference between tiredness that is linked to a specific cause (a busy season at work, a newborn baby at home, etc.), and true fatigue — an unshakeable exhaustion that interferes with your ability to focus. Fatigue often points to an underlying health condition that can’t be remedied by simply getting more sleep.
Health conditions linked to fatigue include:
- Thyroid problems
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Heart disease
- And many others
If your fatigue has lasted more than six months (chronic fatigue), or if you have additional health concerns, it is important to see a primary care doctor as soon as possible. If you have experienced fatigue for a shorter period of time (acute fatigue) and are looking for ways to remedy it, consider these tips.
1. Modify your diet.
If you are not taking in enough nutritious foods, fatigue is sure to find you. Foods loaded with sugar and carbs cause a sudden spike in blood sugar, giving you a short burst of energy followed by a long slump. A balanced diet should include plenty of fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, and whole grains. Consider eating small meals or healthy snacks throughout the day to optimally fuel your body.
2. Focus on hydration.
Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue. Start your day with a full glass of water and continue drinking throughout the day. Most adults need 75-100 ounces daily to remain fully hydrated. If you’re relying on caffeine for a boost in the morning or afternoon, consider cutting that out. Not only does it dehydrate your body, it can actually make you feel more tired when the initial effects wear off.
3. Gradually increase physical activity.
If you’re feeling fatigued, exercise might be the last thing on your to-do list, but pushing yourself to be more active could be the fix you’re looking for. Start small with short walks in the morning, on your lunch break, or after work. Then, as you feel your energy start to return, work up to moderate intensity workouts, such as jogging or cycling. Aim for 30 minutes a day.
4. Find ways to manage your stress.
Most adults know they’re stressed, but what they don’t realize is how quickly stress burns energy. Find what makes you feel relaxed and pursue that regularly. Consider spending time in nature, exercise such as yoga, reading or listening to music, and visiting with friends. If stress is causing anxiety or depression, seek additional treatment with a doctor and/or counselor.
5. Stick to a routine.
We all know how erratic sleep schedules affect children. As it turns out, adults are no different; we thrive on consistency and rest. If you don’t have a bedtime routine, implement one. Turn off screens 30 minutes before you plan to sleep and try reading instead. Go to bed and wake up around the same time daily. Instead of hitting snooze, give yourself time to shower, meditate, and prepare for the day ahead.
Be Proactive to Fight Fatigue
Your primary care provider or a behavioral medicine provider can help you pinpoint the exact causes of your fatigue and prioritize strategies that will make the biggest difference. If you don’t have a provider, you can find one at any of LeBauer’s nine locations in the Triad area.
To schedule a behavioral medicine appointment, you can use our online request form or call 336-547-1574.