Do you dread the sound of your alarm clock in the morning? Rely on coffee to wake up and keep you functioning all day? Feel so sleepy in the afternoon that you wish you could just put your head down on your desk for a while? And after collapsing on the couch to watch Netflix all evening, do you just keep watching because you’re too tired to get up and go to bed? Are you just plain tired all the time?
You’re not alone! Feeling tired all the time seems to have become so epidemic that it just seems like a fact of life! I know how you feel because I’ve struggled with long periods of relentless exhaustion all of my life. But never fear! Today I’m going to share probable reasons why you feel exhausted all the time and how to make sure you feel energetic every day from now on.
One out of four people report feeling tired at least 4 days per week – that’s a lot of people! There are so many reasons you could be tired. Various medical conditions could be to blame, such as diabetes, heart disease, thyroid problems, hepatitis, sleep apnea, ADD and ADHD, anaemia, and iron deficiency. Sometimes, even the medicine you take to get better can cause you to feel exhausted!
My sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in her mid-30’s and that girl is constantly tired. And I know several women who felt tired all the time they could hardly find the energy to take a step, and then found out they had heart conditions. Once they were treated, they felt so much better! I’ve always wondered why I have never seemed to get by on the daily recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. I have always needed at least 10 in order to feel rested – not that I often had that much. It all became clear when I found out that people with ADD simply need more sleep! If you are chronically exhausted and can’t find a logical reason for it, do yourself a favor and see your doctor for a check up.
There are also many aspects of modern life that make us feel tired all the time. Technology, working too much, money worries, stress eating and drinking, depression, lack of sleep, and too much sitting, to name a few. There are plenty of articles on the subject, but today I’d like to focus on the things that I know I can help you with!
Stress & Anxiety
Not Spending Enough Time Outside
I’m going to show you how to remedy these things so you can stop feeling tired all the time.
1. POOR SLEEP
Obvious, of course, but why? And what can you do about it? Do you work so hard that you don’t have enough time to get enough sleep? Maybe you’re so wound up when you go to bed that it takes you forever to fall asleep? Or do you wake up once or more times per night and therefore never get the deep rest your body needs?
I get it. I’ve been guilty of going to bed too late because I had to finish something for work or because my creative juices flow much better late at night when it’s dark and quiet and everyone else is asleep. Babies and young children have a sleep schedule all their own and they could care less about yours! I’ve worked at my building my website in such a focused way that I was too wired to fall asleep afterwards. I’ve woken up many times a night either to go to the loo or because I’ve had a hot flash and then lain awake stressing out about my kids, or my business, or my money situation, or my future. And then there’s the partner who won’t stop snoring…
Everyone else’s articles are prescribing not looking at blue screens for at least an hour before bed and going to bed at the same time every night, and only using your bed for sleep and sex. I don’t know about you, but I live in the real world, I hate rigid schedules and rules, and the only time I have to enjoy reading is in bed, so none of this is going to cut it for me!
These are some of the things that help me fall asleep:
I have an essential oil diffuser on my night table. Every night when I go to bed, I fill it with water and add something to relax me and help me sleep. My favorites are lavender, vetiver, bergamot. Sometimes I combine them, sometimes I buy oils that already have combinations for relaxing, such as Serenity, from DoTerra. I set it to run for one hour, by which time I’m out cold.
I like to turn out the lights and read on my Kindle Paperwhite. It has a matt screen and I can turn the light level down low. Unless it’s the weekend, I try not to read anything too exciting. It’s an excellent time to read self-help and business related books. I’ll usually have trouble keeping my eyes open after 10-15 minutes!
More often than not, I go to sleep with my headphones on, listening to one of my many collected guided meditations, or my favorite hypnotherapy recordings by Marisa Peer which I have on my iPhone. This is super relaxing and I usually fall asleep before they’re done. I wake up briefly when they’re finished, just long enough to take off my headphones, turn over, and go to sleep.
Stay Super Hydrated During The Day:
Drinking 2 liters of water, slowly throughout the entire day, is great for your kidneys and helps your body to control its temperature. It may sound counterintuitive, but drinking all that water during the day insures that I don’t have to go to the bathroom at night. It also keeps me from getting hot flashes, which used to wake me up every hour or two in the past!
2. STRESS & ANXIETY
It feels as if we’re all stressed out and anxious these days and I can’t say I blame us! The problem is that stress wreaks all kinds of havoc on your body, the result of which is that you feel tired all the time. Every time you have an anxiety attack, your body gets an adrenaline rush, after which you crash. Being stressed out also causes your muscles to be tense, which can be exhausting. Stress and anxiety are also tough on your brain because it’s overactive and full of scary thoughts which can also drain you emotionally. Ongoing stress and anxiety lead to depression, which also makes you feel like never getting out of bed again.
The good news is that, with the exception of immediate life-threatening situations, you can have complete control over your stress and anxiety. Here’s what I do:
Most people who are exhausted also say they’re too tired to exercise. I understand that feeling, but we must!
Exercise is one of the absolute best ways to release stress from your body!
What type of exercise is up to you. I always feel great when I go for a 15 minute walk first thing in the morning. Yoga is also a great way to focus on your body and really feel what’s going on there so you can relax your muscles. But maybe you need a good run to get those thoughts out of your head, or a social game of squash, tennis, soccer or basketball. Or a combination, such as doing the short daily walk, yoga once a week, and maybe a more high impact sport once a week.
You may not be able to control what is going on around you, but you can have absolute control over your thoughts. Start paying attention to the negative thoughts that pop into your mind and let them know who’s boss right away! Some great methods are:
- Turn it into a positive statement. For example, “I can’t handle this,” becomes “I have excellent coping skills.” Do this every time, with every negative thought that comes up, and they will start to show up less and less.
- Imagine a strange little man with a bowler hat and a briefcase. Give him a name (mine’s Edgar). Every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, put it into that briefcase and tell him (Edgar) to get out of town!
- Ask yourself if the thought is true. Has it happened yet? Is it certain it will happen? No? Then cut it out! My absolute favorite line from Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them is when Newt says, “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” There will be plenty of time to suffer if and when the thing actually happens. Until then, stop driving yourself crazy for no reason!
Sometimes you need a little help. Your heart is pounding, your mind is racing, and you feel like you’re going to lose it. Calming essential oils can be very helpful, either in a diffuser, or rub a drop or two on the palm of your hands, cup them over your nose, and breathe deeply and slowly for a minute or two. I also really like RESCUE gum drops from Bach. Give these a try before you reach for prescription tranquilizers.
3. LOUSY DIET
Just like a car, your body needs enough of the right kind of fuel to function properly. When you feel tired, you’re more likely to grab things to eat and drink that only make the problem worse. Some of them promise a quick fix, like caffeine and sugar. Some of them are just faster and more convenient.
But while that cup of coffee may perk you up for a while, it can also cause fatigue in the long run by tricking you into using energy you don’t actually have, causing a lazy thyroid, and dehydrating you.
Sugary treats are also a go to when you’re feeling tired, but that also has the price of the crash that follows. The problem with eating fast, processed, and refined carbs is that they’re empty calories. Your body needs protein, vitamins, minerals, good fat, and slow sugar in order to be healthy.
My best advice to you is to:
- Stop eating crap and just eat real natural food.
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and juice them for quick nutrition and energy.
- Don’t get your protein out of a can – eat a piece of meat or fish or eggs or cheese or yogurt.
- If you have decided to be a vegetarian or a vegan, make sure you know what you’re doing – find out how you will be getting enough protein, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc so that you have a healthy and balanced diet.
- Skip the bread and the muffins and the cookies and the candy bars. You don’t need them. It may feel like you’re tired to prepare healthy food for yourself, but I guarantee that you will start to feel better after only a few days and then that will no longer be an issue.
- You can save time by making a large amount of soup or stew, something that freezes and reheats well, and freeze it in portions so you have something fast and nutritious to go to. You can also freeze your juices. They may be a bit less nutritious than fresh, but certainly better than a Coke!
- Also, make sure you are eating enough – you don’t want to run out of gas!
I doubt I’m the first person to tell you that you need to drink plenty of water – ideally 2 liters/70 fl oz per day. And I doubt you need me to inform you that your body is made of mostly water, which is why you need to make sure and stay hydrated. But it’s not just about the amount you drink. How do you stop the water from leaving your body just as fast as you put it in?
Drink Slowly Throughout The Day:
I used to chug a big glass of water every hour to “stay hydrated.” I also had to pee every 10 minutes! While this is great for flushing things out when you’re detoxing, it’s not so great if you’re trying to stay hydrated. Sipping 2-3 ounces at a time is much more effective. Just fill a pitcher with 2 liters and keep a glass on your desk. This will remind you to drink and help you keep tabs on how much you’ve had.
Drink Room Temperature or Warm Water:
When you drink a big glass of cold water, your body immediately tries to regulate its temperature. The result is that you don’t absorb the water as your body rushes to eliminate it as quickly as possible, leaving you dehydrated. Sipping room temperature or warm water (or herbal tea if you prefer) is far more beneficial and easier on your body.
Build Your Muscle Mass:
Did you know that trained muscles retain more water per kilo than untrained muscles? Almost 70% more to be be precise. One of many great reasons to exercise and do strength training!
5. SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
Have you ever noticed that the more you sit, the less you feel like getting up and moving around? So many of us spend our days sitting and working behind desks, using our computers, making phone calls, and going through stacks of paperwork. Chances are your typical day looks like this: Sit in your car/public transport to go to work, sit at your desk all day, sit in your car/public transport to get back home, sit down to eat dinner, sit/lie down to watch TV, lie in bed and sleep. Sound about right?
Gone are the days of the lean active hunter gatherer, but that doesn’t mean we have to resign our bodies to days on end of sitting. There are all kinds of little things you can do throughout the day to keep your body feeling energized.
Get Up And Move Once Per Hour:
If you use your brain all day and forget about the rest of your body, you will definitely end up feeling tired. It’s important to get up once every hour and spend 5-10 minutes to stretch, drink some water, maybe walk around or do some light form of exercise.
I like to do my 5-minute energy recharge as a way of getting off my chair and getting my brain and body back in top form. This does take discipline at first, but it won’t take long to make it a habit. Drinking plenty of water at your desk is a great trick to force you to get up, at the very least, to go to the loo!
Walk Whenever Possible:
If something is within 15 minutes walking distance, then walk instead of driving. In a hurry? Have you thought about biking? Another thing you can try is taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Try pacing around instead of sitting when you’re talking on the phone.
Make sure you get some exercise at least 3 times a week. And if you want to do yourself a big favor, start every morning with a brisk 15 minute walk, which will raise our energy for the entire day!
6. NOT SPENDING ENOUGH TIME OUTSIDE
If you spend most of your time indoors, you’re breathing stale oxygen-depleted air full of dust, wastes, toxins, and microorganisms. Not only does this sound kind of gross, it can lead to fatigue. Our bodies need sunshine to produce vitamin D. If you don’t get enough, it can lead to all kinds of problems, including feeling tired all the time.
So go outside!
- Take a morning walk
- Take a walk at lunchtime
- Have walking meetings
- Do walking meditations
- Eat your lunch outside
- Take your coffee break outside
- Open a window if you can
Not only will this make you feel less tired, it will elevate our mood, relieve stress, help you concentrate, and make your body function better in many wondrous ways!
Toxins are almost impossible to avoid these days. Our environment is filled with them from the air we breathe, to the water we drink, to the food we eat. They’re in our walls, our floors, our furniture, our electronics, and our cars. Sometimes our jobs expose us to high levels of toxins. They’re even in our cosmetics, deodorants, and shampoos!
Our livers are in charge of ridding our bodies of toxins, but they are seriously overloaded and this makes us feel exhausted. While we can’t protect ourselves from every toxin that gets thrown at us, there are steps we can take to minimize them.
Did you know that tobacco smoke is a poison, not a narcotic, and your body treats it as such? From the moment you inhale it, your body goes on high alert and scrambles to get it the hell out of your system within an hour. In the meantime, it decreases your lung capacity, so you don’t get enough oxygen, which makes you feel tired. And the oxygen you do get is poisoned, making it difficult for your blood to absorb and deliver to the rest of your body. Not to mention the long term damage to your body and organs which eventually destroys your overall health and energy.
If you think you can’t quit because you are physically addicted, I am here to tell you that your addiction is a fiction of your imagination and entirely emotional. The only physical sensation you could have from stopping smoking is a mild feeling of emptiness in the pit of your stomach – not very dramatic. It’s all between your ears. Do yourself a favor and reprogram yourself. I did.
Drink Less Alcohol:
Not to be a party pooper, but alcohol is also a toxin. Not only does it kill microorganisms, it can kill you too if you drink enough at one time. To make matters worse, your body has to turn it into acetaldehyde in order to flush it out, and acetaldehyde is even more toxic than alcohol! Drinking during the day can make you feel sleepy and tired. Drinking in the evening will ruin your night’s sleep by raising your stress hormone level, making you snore, and stimulating your bladder, all of which can cause you to wake up in the night. Furthermore, alcohol acts as a diuretic, which makes you dehydrated, which as you already know, makes you feel tired.
Eat Organic Food:
Organic food has been found to have less pesticide residue. Studies have also shown that organic crops also contain 50% less toxic metals than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Cadmium is a heavy metal that accumulates in your body, causing heart disease and cancer. Funnily enough, vegetarians and vegans have been found to have a higher level of cadmium in their blood than omnivores. The good news is that the same study also showed that organic food contains more antioxidants, which actually help your liver to detox your body.
“ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL”
All of these reasons for being tired all the time, are all intertwined with each other! They all exacerbate each other, but remedy one, and you could remedy them all!
- Poor Sleep – Use essential oils, guided meditations/hypnotherapy, read, stay hydrated, minimize caffeine
- Stress and Anxiety – Exercise, practice positive mental attitude, essential oils and natural remedies
- Lousy Diet – eat fresh, natural, organic food, avoid refined sugar, processed food, fast food, fake food, caffeine
- Dehydration – sip 2 liters of water slowly throughout the day, drink room temp or warm water, build your muscle mass
- Sedentary Lifestyle – get up once per hour and move around, walk whenever possible, exercise at least 3x per week
- Not Spending Enough Time Outside – take walks, do meetings outside, eat lunch outside
- Toxins – don’t smoke, reduce alcohol intake, eat organic foods, stay hydrated
One of the simplest and most comprehensive ways to treat all of these things and restore your energy is to do a detox. My detox, 3 Week To Fabulous, contains the cures you find listed in this article and more. Not only will you help your liver to rid yourself of toxins, you will reduce your exposure to them and you will form new tastes and habits which will ensure that you will never have to feel tired all the time again. If you detox for three weeks, once per year, you will feel great for the rest of the year. No more mood swings, no more sleepless nights, no more getting sick all the time, no more achy head, joints, and muscles, and no more excess blubber. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was with the results myself!
Check out my book and online program if you’re interested, but for now I’d like to leave you with a FREE way to ENERGY UP. It’s a short video showing you how to do my 5 Minute Energy Recharge. This is something you can do during the day to recharge yourself and keep you from being sedentary! You can easily do these at home or at the office, so give it a try and let me know how it works for you!