Tired of feeling tired?
Here’s how to fight fatigue.
“I start projects but don’t have the energy to finish them,” says Nancy, who takes medications for Seasonal Affective Disorder. “I don’t feel like doing things with family and friends.”
Depression can make us feel like we’re slogging through mud. And many mood stabilizers and antidepressants cause drowsiness. If you’re living with a disorder and taking medications, you may find your energy level is low.
Fatigue is when both your mind and body feel tired. It’s hard to concentrate and make decisions. Feeling tired all the time can make you irritable, which can strain relationships. It can make it difficult to focus on your recovery.
Most fatigue is caused by psychological factors, but not eating properly, not getting enough sleep or overdoing daily tasks can make it worse. Because there could be an underlying medical problem that’s causing it, you should talk to your doctor first.
These steps can help:
Tips for fighting fatigue and boosting energy
- If you’re depressed, get treatment for your depression. Take medications if prescribed. Work on the life problems that are contributing to your depression with a therapist.
- Reduce unnecessary stress.
- Try to get eight hours of sleep each night. Read these tips for better sleep.
- Learn how to relax. Try guided imagery.
- Eat a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, low fat dairy products and lean meats. Reduce fats, sugar and salt.
- Eat breakfast for energy and don’t skip meals. Try to eat regularly to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water. Your body will perform better.
- Listen to your body when it tells you need to rest.
- Manage your workload: Alternate a heavy task, then a light task. Tackle the most difficult things when you’re feeling your best. Create shortcuts and combine tasks.
- Make healthy lifestyle changes: Don’t smoke. It can sap your energy by reducing the amount of oxygen available in the blood. Boost your physical activity. It increases energy and improves sleep quality.
- Take time out to relax and enjoy life.
Better Health Channel, Victorian Department of Human Services, Australia
About fatigue, originally prepared for the Arthritis Foundation. Edited by Frederick A. Matsen III M.D. and Basia Belza, Ph.D., RN.