“Why am I always exhausted,” you ask yourself every morning you have to roll out of bed. The exhaustion you feel can be confusing, or even depressing. Exhaustion is that flat feeling that interferes with your daily activities. But you don't have to lose sleep over it. UPGRAID has got you covered with some unique solutions!
Health & Wellness
Is Exhaustion Impacting Your Quality of Life?
What Causes Exhaustion?
The constant exhaustion from busy schedules and balancing a demanding work and family life can bring you to your knees. Can you die of exhaustion? Probably not, even if it feels like you’re barely alive. The reality is that many of us find ourselves feeling exhausted too frequently. It’s hard to determine whether it’s the fatigue that causes malaise, or if it’s the general malaise that causes you to feel sluggish.
A visit to your doctor might seem unappealing if you’re sure you are well, but otherwise find yourself snoozing through meetings, or falling asleep at the wheel on your commute home.
Change is Exhausting
Humans don’t respond well to change for one thing. And busy lives keep us in a constant state of alertness. Being in a state of high alert exhausts the body and mind. This takes its toll on our mental and physical health.
Daily traffic jams, lining up in grocery stores, running countless errands, and dealing with irritations is very exhausting.
This never-ending stimulus keeps our brains very busy processing a lot of sensory input. No wonder you’re exhausted.
How can you adapt? How can you thrive? Mental, emotional, and physical health as we are learning, are very much intertwined. For most of us, giving up isn’t an option. We have to put food on our tables and a roof over our heads.
That takes a lot of sustained energy over the course of decades. Lethargy and malaise associated with exhaustion is a real struggle and leads to complete burnout. The daily slog shouldn’t require fifteen cups of coffee. You should be able to treat exhaustion holistically without spending a fortune every month at the coffee shop. That is a short term fix, after all.
What is Lethargy and How Can You Treat it?
Lethargy is described as having low energy. Many of us have a hard time waking up and staying alert throughout the day, but lethargy is more than that. We naturally have waking and sleep cycles and sometimes we get sluggish in the middle of the day. Lethargy is different in that it stays with us wherever we go from the time we wake up until we sink into bed at night.
There are a few helpful ways to approach healing your exhaustion and lethargy holistically. There is relief to be found, and when you can overcome exhaustion, the spark to your existence that you’ve been searching for can be a reality. The fog of lethargy can lift.
First thing’s first, though. Let’s address your sluggishness and low energy. To beat the lethargic symptoms of exhaustion, you can take stock of your sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene, you ask? Good sleep hygiene is developing good sleeping habits prior to going to bed at night. Without developing good habits around your sleeping and waking cycles, you’re sure to have trouble getting the quality of rest and relaxation that sustains you during the day.
Acquiring good sleep hygiene will be accompanied by a disciplined routine. Since most of us haven’t heard of sleep hygiene, many of us don’t practice it. By structuring good sleep hygiene for yourself, you will be able to wake up feeling less foggy and more alert. To overcome exhaustion, we highlight some best practices according to research.
Five Sleep Hygiene Tips to Stop Feeling Lethargic
- Cut out substances like coffee, nicotine, and alcohol that interfere with sleep. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard suggests that you don’t need to cut out caffeine entirely, just limit it from four to six hours before bedtime.
- Get natural sunlight. Your body has what is called a circadian rhythm. These are waking and sleep cycles that create a natural response to daylight. Being in the sunshine helps to naturally regulate your sleep cycles.
- Exercise early in the day. Exercising near bedtime can interrupt sleep cycles. This may seem counterintuitive if you feel like you don’t have enough energy to exercise in the first place, but it is suggested by most research on the subject. Get outside in the daylight for a walk.
- Do not work in your bed. Keep computers, TVs, and work materials out of the bedroom. By doing this, you strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep, rather than creating the mental association of the place you sleep with activity.
- Make your bedroom is a sanctuary for relaxation. Limit outside noises with earplugs or play "white noise" to drown out the usual frenetic sounds. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or use an eye mask to block out light. Keep your room well ventilated to supply your lungs with the freshest air possible. Maintain a comfortably cool temperature —between 60 and 75°F. Equip your bedroom with a mattress and pillows that properly support your body. Diffuse essential oils like lavender. Thanks to its soothing and therapeutic scent, lavender is known to have some calming benefits that may help you catch some Z's.
Once you’ve consistently established good sleep hygiene by avoiding stressful or emotional activities before bed, you will begin to see improvement in your daily energy levels.
For many of us, simply improving discipline in this area won’t be enough to overcome exhaustion and the accompanying malaise. There is more to be done. For starters, malaise isn’t usually a symptom that shows up on its own.
Lethargy and malaise are big indicators that other ailments have been bothering you. Overwhelming and consistent exhaustion is the major symptom that negatively impacts so many parts of your life that you can’t ignore it.
Lethargy can negatively impact relationships, job performance, physical activity, and finding enjoyment in life. When lethargy and malaise just won’t dissipate, you must start looking for more effective relief from exhaustion.
Stress often causes lethargy, malaise, and even depression. Another symptom of exhaustion is often accompanied by chronic and annoying aches and pains.
Chronic pain isn’t always severe, just consistent enough to be a symptom of inflammation, which can be a result of daily stress. Subtle yet consistent aches and pains caused by inflammation wears on your energy levels over time.
What is Malaise and What Does it Reveal About Your Body?
Exhaustion, lethargy, and malaise all seem very similar. However, there are some subtle differences.
Malaise is characterized by general body discomfort and sickness. Malaise can feel like an illness, or uneasiness, with an exact cause that seems difficult to identify. Going about the daily grind while feeling malaise makes every task you undertake more strenuous.
Malaise can bring on or worsen feelings of stress, muscle tension, and pain.
Without knowing why you feel general malaise, first understand that constant stress will cause pain, and muscle tension.
The National Institute of Stress explains that your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed, and they’ll release tension once you’re relaxed again.
Tight muscles cause shoulder pain, neck and back pain, and body aches. This can be very distressing.
This physical response to stress causes a cascade of chemical processes in the body and brain which can lead to chronic inflammation. Generally speaking stress is a considerable reason you’re tired and achy, and feel flat, with a general feeling of malaise. These reactions to stress are a normal part of our society today.
Many people share these symptoms, but don’t realize just how important it is to balance the health of both your mind and body. Alleviating the tension in your body you hold on to will lead to healing and wellness.
Being mindful of your body and emotions and how they are related to your physical health is key to lifting the burden of malaise. Being aware of how emotions including anger, depression, sadness, and anxiety impact your physical body can seem abstract at first.
Fortunately, recognizing that you need to find solutions will get you on the road to healing the malaise you feel.
A way to improve your body’s response to stress and ensuing malaise is to incorporate what experts in mental health call mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness practices are gaining a lot of attention in the western hemisphere, but many of the theories and practices behind mindfulness practices have their origins in eastern Buddhist cultures.
So what does modern science reveal about these ancient mindfulness practices?
As the American Psychological Association suggests, mindfulness can help you to better self-regulate your emotions. This means your daily stressors become more manageable. Mindfulness brings calmness and concentration leading to more clarity toward the cause.
Stress reduction will result in less physical aches and pains. Malaise will lift when you become aware of how stress, anxiety, and so called negative emotions like depression and anger are held in and impact the physical body.
Taking a Holistic Approach to Treating Fatigue
The question of “why am I always tired?” is answered by incorporating natural or holistic therapies into your life. To answer the question about why you are always tired, you will need to assess many aspects of your overall lifestyle.
Poor sleep habits will cause you to feel tired. Chronic stress will cause you to feel tired. Rumination and anxiety will cause you to feel tired. Can a poor diet also cause you to feel tired? Research says yes.
After addressing sleep hygiene, focusing on stress reduction, and employing positive practices in their stead, you can begin to heal your mind and spirit. Healing the body is a very crucial component to achieving overall wellness.
Achieving optimal health includes making an appraisal of your diet. Reducing foods that increase inflammation will help. Eating an unhealthy diet certainly will not help you feel energized. Eliminating the following foods from your diet will support your goal of eliminating exhaustion and achieving overall health.
Some foods contribute to a cascade of inflammatory processes in the body that hinder our ability to heal and feel energized.
Eliminate These Foods to Stop Feeling so Tired
- Trans-fatty acids. Research shows that the very same pathways in the mind and body that are alerted when we are stressed are also alerted when we consume trans fats. Eating foods laden with trans fats causes us to become addicted to food that mimics the daily stress we feel. In this sense, our bodies have become addicted to their own stress hormones, including stress hormone inducing trans fats. Eating unhealthy food adds to this inflammatory cycle.
- Highly processed sugars. Foods that contain a lot of these highly processed sugars are also inflammatory. Much like the way trans-fats cause inflammation, processed sugars are just not healthy for you in moderate, and especially large amounts.
Cut out trans-fats and processed sugars and begin incorporating more healthy food into your diet so that you can get on the road to health and wellness.
Reversing Exhaustion with Organic Food Components
There are two particular components found in whole foods that are proven to relieve exhaustion:
- Mono and polyunsaturated fats (that are not processed). These are found in foods like avocados, walnuts, fish, olive oil, and flaxseed.
- Foods that are high in antioxidants are found in foods such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and root vegetables
The reason antioxidants are so crucial to reducing inflammation is that the stress and inflammation process in the body is known as an ‘oxidative’ process. Antioxidants eradicate oxidative chemicals released by the body from stress, lack of sleep, and eating unhealthy foods.
This is why antioxidants remain a powerful antidote to beating tiredness and inflammation. Depression, anxiety, malaise, and extreme tiredness are all linked to stress and the inflammatory process.
Eliminating habits and foods that are harmful to your health and instead incorporating a holistic lifestyle will help identify and eliminate feeling exhaustion, lethargic, and malaise. In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, there are superfoods that can boost your energy, and speed up your healing.
Supplementation of your diet with rich superfoods containing powerful antioxidants can be found on the market, and are well worth considering, found in superfoods like ashwagandha, turmeric, tart cherry, and ginger root.
Stick to a Plan
Beating exhaustion and general malaise might take discipline and adjusting your lifestyle but it is well worth the effort. A holistic approach to beating exhaustion that includes good sleep hygiene, mindfulness practices, a healthy diet, and herbal supplementation will greatly improve your chances for healing your mind, body, and spirit.
Modern society may be forcing you to live with a myriad of stressors, and that takes its toll. Herbal supplementation should be an integral part of your healing.
Employing all of these helpful strategies will support you on your way to living more fully and energized. Use these techniques to put an end to dragging yourself through life and begin dancing through it. You could even leave the snooze button alone. Can you imagine that?