Fatigue is a real joy thief – it can cause you to not only lose productivity but more importantly, it makes it hard to enjoy even the little things in life such as going for a walk, doing the shopping or hanging out with friends.
Fatigue makes us want to shy away and hibernate, which is certainly no way to live and doesn’t need to be our reality.
With that being said, here I am taking you through the steps to take to start exploring the cause of your fatigue and how to regain your vitality:
Step 1: Get a comprehensive health assessment from your GP or healthcare practitioner
Any new feelings of fatigue should be appropriately explored as there may be a physical cause which can be treated or needs to be looked into further. For example, your DR may check for:
Iron and/or B12 deficiency
Acute or chronic infection
Blood sugar dysregulation
Sleep apnoea / sleep assessment
Step 2: Assess your diet
We all know that our body needs fuel to run efficiently and if we aren’t giving it the right fuel or enough fuel, we will start to feel the effects of this.
Take 5 and ask yourself:
Am I eating enough protein? Without enough protein we may not feel satisfied, constantly hungry and this can send our blood sugar on a crazy ride.
Aim for 1-2 x serve of protein at each meal:
- 200g natural yoghurt
- 2 boiled eggs
- 100-120g chicken, fish, lamb, beef etc
- 150g tofu or tempeh
- ½ cup legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans, cannellini beans
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup cottage cheese
- 30g cheese
- 30g nuts/seeds
Have you recently lowered or cut out carbs? Our thyroid (hello energy maker) requires a certain amount of carbs to function optimally. Carbs are also a source of B-vitamins, which help convert our food into energy. If your carbs are low for a particular reason, supplementing with an active B complex may assist fatigue and prevent deficiencies.
Are you eating enough full stop? Our body is energy hungry and we must fill the tank to get from A to B in good form. Have a look at your overall diet and make sure you aren’t slowly making restrictions to the detriment of your energy and overall wellbeing. Tune in to your appetite and see if there are times in your day where you feel hungry or start to lack energy, add a snack or extra serve of protein here.
Step 3: Hone in on Gut Health
You may be putting the goods in but is your body actually receiving and using what being given? Making sure we are digesting and absorbing the nutrients from foods is important – signs you may not be:
Irregular appetite (excessive or non-existent)
Loose bowel motions or more excessive bowel motions
Constipation – slow transit time
Seeking assistance to get to the bottom of gut problems is important, as a healthy functioning gut is key to health! And definitely achievable.
Step 4: Check in with your emotions
A large part of the fatigue puzzle is emotional turmoil. It may not even be excessive stress that you are feeling, it could be constant daily stress or just a lack of joy, passion or purpose.
3 simple ways to make peace with your emotions:
- socialise – being around loved ones and around people who lift you up is an instant mood booster. Take sure you are scheduling in time to socialise.
- Accept and be content with where you are at, you may not have reached your goals, but merely knowing you are well on the way should be good enough
- Celebrate and appreciate the little things, whether it be your coffee in the morning, a text to your best friend or coming home to a warm dinner with loved ones, it’s the small acts that make us the happiest and shape who we are.
Booking in to speak with a counsellor or psychologist can also be a great step to help deal with stress and emotions.
Step 5: Pay attention to Sleep
It goes without saying that a lack of sleep can negatively affect our energy levels. If you are going to bed too late or not sleeping well through the night, reflect on this and try to take steps to develop a healthier sleep routine. I have written about sleep many times before, check out my tips HERE.
Step 6: Is your exercise routine still working for you?
If you are a cardio king or queen and now feeling fatigued, perhaps it may pay swapping to a lower intensity form of exercise. This is because cardio is a stress on the body and can drive up cortisol. If you are already in a stressed state, it’s like adding fuel to the fire.
Reduce your cardio and try exercises which help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, aka rest and digest – such as pilates, yoga or tai chi and mix these with strength / resistance training and going for walks outdoors in nature.
Try this for a few weeks and see what changes this makes to your energy and then reassess!