If you're tired from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night, it's almost impossible to feel happy or enjoy your life. Try these easier solutions to eradicate tiredness from your life for a happier you.
Admitting I Have a Problem: I'm Tired!
I've never been a high energy person. Even as a small child, I don't remember having as much energy as the other children around me. As I grew older and pushed myself to do more, accomplish more, have and raise children, and be a successful professional, I began to notice year by year that I had less and less energy.
I asked myself if the feeling of bone deep fatigue I felt was normal. Maybe most people my age felt like me and just pushed on through. I was taught not to complain and not to be lazy. "I just need to make myself do everything I need to do," I'd think with a yawn.
One day, after I'd had probably 100 days in a row of waking up in the morning and not wanting to get out of bed because I felt like I needed to sleep a few more hours (after I'd already slept about nine), I realized I needed to do something about being tired. My low energy had gotten to the point that I could no longer really enjoy my life. I was making myself do everything except sleep.
If you're reading this and thinking, "Wow, is she dense, how long does it take to admit you're tired all the time?" then you probably don't have pervasive tiredness. I've found I'm normal.
People who suffer from low energy often don't admit they have the problem because, like me, they were taught to be energetic, productive members of their family and society. It's difficult to admit that we're not that ideal. Not because we don't want to be, but because we can't.
Low Energy: A Complex Problem
Identifying I had a problem was the first step. Now, I had to figure out what to do about it. I'd like to say I proceeded in a logical order, but if I did, I'd be lying.
I blundered through addressing my tiredness for years after I realized I had a problem because all my time and energy, what I had anyway, were focused on other things except myself. I had a full time demanding job with IBM. I had to produce significant results regularly or I'd be let go. I had to raise my children. I had to meet family obligations for get togethers, holidays, birthdays, etc. I had to try to enjoy myself on vacations. You get the idea.
I made many mistakes in addressing the source of my low energy because it's a complex problem with many possible solutions, I was hiding the extent of my problem from everyone, and professionals such as psychiatrists and family doctors don't have standard fixes for tiredness, especially when you're not admitting the extent of your problem.
If you go into a doctor's office and you have a fever, sore throat with streaks, and feel like you're going to die, they'll probably do a strep test. After you test positive for strep, they'll give you some antibiotics. You'll feel better by the next day and continue to feel better as long as you finish your prescribed course of antibiotics.
Tiredness isn't like a simple you have this so take that. I so wish it was for myself and you if you suffer from fatigue, too. The causes of tiredness are complex and may be psychological or physical or both.
Do Not Accept Pervasive Tiredness is a Result of Getting Older
There's a common misperception that with advancing age comes less energy. Slowing down as you move into your 50's, 60's and on is accepted. Isn't that why we retire from work? Isn't that why we expect old people to take naps during the day, go to bed early, not do too much physical exertion?
Since my low energy compared to others was a constant, I didn't attribute the cause to aging. While it did become progressively worse with each passing decade, it wasn't caused by aging, it was exacerbated by aging, I decided. Even if it was caused by aging, wasn't there something I could do about it?
Unless you want to feel tired for the rest of your life, you must decide to address it, no matter what your age.
Easier Steps to Eradicate Tiredness
1. Go to your doctor and get lab tests.
First, schedule an appointment with your family doctor or general practitioner. It will probably take weeks for you to get in to see him or her.
Next, make a list of your symptoms. This is very important. You'll need this list to provide to your doctor. While the symptom you identify as the most important may be low energy, you may have other symptoms that are extremely important for your doctor to form a big picture and to know which tests to run. Rank your symptoms in order of importance to be addressed. For example,
1. Pervasive tiredness from the time I get out of bed until I go to sleep at night.
2. Muscle aches and soreness just about every day in some part of my body, especially my hands.
3. Excessive thirst. No matter how much water I drink, I just don't seem to drink enough.
Also, be sure to include the amount of time you spend in bed and the amount of that time you actually sleep. If you suspect, you have issues related to sleeping, be sure to include them in your list of symptoms.
Do not leave out any symptoms. If something is wrong with your body, mental state, etc. tell your doctor. Do not be ashamed. Your doctor hears all types of symptoms day in day out. S/he would rather you give a complete list.
At your doctor's appointment, tell your doctor you are suffering from pervasive tiredness, exhaustion, low energy, etc. Explain in detail what this means and either provide her with your very legible handwritten, typed or printed list, or if you've scratched it out on the back of an envelope, read it to your doctor.
Based on your list of symptoms in addition to low energy, the physical examination performed, and other information your doctor gleans from your responses and examination, your doctor will probably request lab tests at a minimum.
Request an appointment to review the tests and to determine a course of action based on your tests. Your doctor may not schedule a follow up appointment if your only significant symptom is pervasive tiredness. Especially if you're an extremely or even moderately polite person. By requesting a follow up appointment, you are ensuring your doctor will have the time to review the results with you and for the two of you to discuss appropriate actions based on the results.
2. Address easy, obvious causes and then determine if other actions are required.
Your low energy may be caused by multiple factors that are easy to address such as:
- vitamin, mineral, and trace mineral deficiencies - ensure your doctor is testing for these deficiencies as they are fairly easy to correct with dietary changes and / or supplementation
- not enough exercise - it's ironic, but exercising for at least 10 minutes several times a day will usually help increase energy levels. Strenuous exercise isn't required. Walking around the block at a brisk pace for 10 minutes, for example as long as you include several small hills will do.
- sleep disorders and insomnia - even though you may be spending more than seven hours a night in bed, you may still have inadequate sleep due to snoring, frequent waking, sleep apnea (not breathing normally during sleep), and other sleep-related issues.
- low hormone levels - this is especially relevant for women around the age of menopause and men for low testosterone. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can make a significant positive impact on energy levels and perception of well being when hormone levels are low.
- depression - it's difficult to determine whether pervasive tiredness causes depression or if depression is causing the feeling of tiredness. If you're tired and depressed, trying an antidepressant is an obvious solution. You may have to try several different antidepressants until you find the correct one for you. Your doctor can help with this process.
- under active thyroid - as part of normal tests for low energy, your thyroid hormone levels will be tested. Any obvious deviations from normal thyroid levels will be noted by your doctor. More than likely s/he will recommend medication if your levels are low.
- dehydration - believe it or not, not drinking enough water can cause fatigue. What's enough water? That's up for debate. The usual recommendation is eight ounces at a time, eight times a day or half your body weight in ounces of water spread throughout the day.
- heart / circulatory disease - I debated adding this to the easy list, but decided to since it can often be addressed by dietary changes if caught in time. The Pritikin low cholesterol diet or Eat to Live diet are two examples that can make dramatic changes to circulatory health.
- low blood pressure - one of the symptoms of low blood pressure is fatigue. Dehydration can cause low blood pressure as can medication for high blood pressure and certain antidepressants. Read more about low blood pressure here.
Do You Feel More Energetic?
Evaluate your energy levels after you've addressed the easier solutions that apply to you. Do you feel more energetic, but not as energetic as you'd like to feel?
Your low energy may come from multiple causes, especially if it's severe. Addressing the easier solutions may help, but still may not make you feel like zipping around the room regularly.
For myself, eating well, being sure to take a good multivitamin daily, drinking enough water, getting daily exercise, and getting a good night's sleep make a significant difference to my energy levels during the day. However, I have other energy-related solutions that I've decided to incorporate into my daily routine that are either more complex or more expensive than the easier solutions above.
I researched and tried these more complex solutions because my energy levels were somewhat improved, but still not what I believed should be normal and attainable. I wanted more.
I outline those solutions in my post Eradicate Tiredness for a Happier You: Part Two, More Complex Solutions. If you're like me, and would like to feel as energetic as possible naturally, the easier solutions haven't helped or haven't helped enough, then you may also benefit from the more complex solutions in my next post.
What's your experience with pervasive tiredness? Do you have solutions you've incorporated into your life that have made a difference? I encourage you to comment and share.