Everyone experiences extreme tiredness from time to time throughout their life, especially in this modern rat race of the world that we live in today, but you may be wondering how tired is too tired? When your exhaustion is complemented by moodiness, dizziness, aches and pains, and other physical, mental and emotional symptoms, you may be suffering from the big bad “F-word”: fatigue. In this article, we discuss the common causes of fatigue, what it could be telling you about your health and different types of natural remedies and tips that can make all the difference.
What is Fatigue?
It’s a terrible “F-word”, that’s what. Fatigue is often associated with chronic tiredness and exhaustion but it can be so much more than that. Not only can it produce a handful of uncomfortable and even debilitating mental, physical and emotional symptoms, it is often an indicator of an underlying health condition. So, to say fatigue is just feeling extremely tired would be a serious understatement.
In the simplest terms, fatigue is often described as unrelenting exhaustion that produces a nearly constant state of weakness and a lack of motivation. However, what separates this sensation from the typical bout of drowsiness or sleepiness are the additional symptoms that often come along with it, such as:
- A lack of motivation
- Feelings of apathy (not caring what will happen)
- Aching or sore muscles
- Delayed reflexes and responses
- Moodiness, such as anxiety, irritability and depression
- Difficulty making decisions
- Impaired judgement
- Loss of appetite
- Blurry vision
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty remembering things
- Impaired hand-eye coordination
You may not experience all of the symptoms mentioned when you are experiencing fatigue but you likely experience one or two, at the very least. Now, this may be no cause for concern as fatigue can be a normal response to emotional stress, boredom, a lack of sleep or physical activity.
However, fatigue can also be a major red flag that something else is going on.
The Common Causes of Fatigue
As mentioned, fatigue can be a normal and important response the body has to emotional stress, sleep difficulties, physical activity and even boredom. But it can be, and is often, an indication of a possible underlying health condition. This is why it’s imperative to identify what is causing your fatigue, so you can take the proper steps needed to heal the problem at the source.
Some common causes of fatigue are:
- Lifestyle: Various lifestyle factors can contribute to fatigue, such as the use of alcohol or drugs, a lack of regular exercise, an irregular sleep-wake cycle, a lack of sleep or too much sleep, and poor diet.
- Workplace: Stress brought on by your job or workplace can lead to feelings of fatigue, as well as poor workplace practices and shift work. Additionally, different types of jobs may cause fatigue, such as those that involve irregular work hours, a high-stress environment, nightlife, etc. You may also experience fatigue from a burnout or even unemployment, due to financial pressures, prolonged job hunting, increased stress, etc.
- Emotional stress and mental health concerns: Many mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and grief, can cause feelings of fatigue.
- Medical conditions: Fatigue is a common symptom associated with a variety of different mental physical health conditions, including depression, anxiety, thyroid disorder, heart disease, diabetes, anemia, concussions, obesity, etc.
Natural Remedies for Fighting Off Fatigue
Whatever the cause, there are a variety of natural remedies and tips that can help you fight off fatigue. Implementing a few simple changes and adopting some new daily habits can help keep your energy levels high, your brain sharp and your fatigue at bay. There are also many natural remedies that are age-old remedies for boosting energy.
Here are some top ways to fight off fatigue:
- Smell some peppermint oil: Breathing peppermint oil can be an excellent way to perk up your energy. Hold a bottle of peppermint oil to your nose and breathe deeply, use a peppermint roller and apply it to your pressure points, or add a couple of drops into your next bath.
- Add in adaptogen herbs: Studies found that adaptogen herbs can help combat fatigue, enhance attention, increase mental work capacity and enhance your overall wellbeing.
- Get active: Although exercise is likely the last thing you’re thinking about when you’re tired, regular exercise is imperative and can give you the natural energy boost you’re looking for.
- Cut out refined carbs: High-carb foods, such as bread, pasta and sugary sweets cause your blood sugar to spike rapidly, resulting in a quick crash later on. To avoid this midday crash, aim for more complex carbs, such as whole wheat products and veggies. It’ll also help stabilize your blood sugar, which comes with additional benefits.
- Avoid unhealthy fats: The more unhealthy fats you consume, the more likely you are to experience fatigue, according to studies.
- Take your supplements: Magnesium and ginseng are two supplements you’ll want to start taking to fight off fatigue. A magnesium deficiency (most people are low in magnesium) is linked to feeling tired and ginseng is an old-time remedy for feeling run down.
- Eat more spinach: Spinach contains a healthy dose of potassium and B vitamins that are essential for energy.
- Sniff some cinnamon: Grab a cinnamon stick and take a whiff and you’ll instantly feel more alert.
- Drink more water: It’s the best tip for healing a vast array of health conditions. Aim to have at least eight cups of water each day.
- Avoid caffeine: Foods and beverages that contain caffeine will give you a short-term boost of energy, followed by a midday crash. Opt for herbal teas, which will also provide you with many additional health benefits.
- Get active: Although exercise is likely the last thing you’re thinking about when you’re tired, regular exercise is imperative as it can give you the natural energy boost you’re looking for.
- Improve your sleep habits: Develop a sleep-wake cycle that you can stick with, even on the weekends. This will help balance your circadian rhythm, so your mind and body will know when to be awake, and when to be sleepy. You can also add in some natural sleep aids, such as lavender sprays, sleep essential oils, and meditation to induce relaxation and to encourage a deeper, more restful sleep.
- Get down into downward dog: Yoga, in general, can be an excellent form of exercise that can keep your mind and body energized, as it incorporates a variety of breathing exercises, meditation and movements that can effectively fight off fatigue. For those days when you need a quick boost, head into a downward dog pose.
- Eat a handful of nuts: Nuts like almonds and peanuts, are high in magnesium and folic acid which are essential for energy and cell production. So, grab a handful the next time you’re looking for a snack.
- Enjoy some sunshine: Getting outside for a quick refresher can be all you need to enhance your mood and boost your energy.
Fatigue can be a typical body response to everyday stress, but it can also signify something more serious. If you’re struggling with fatigue and are unable to identify the trigger, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to get the proper diagnosis and treatment needed.