Updated: Jul 8, 2021
One of the most common concerns my patients request my help with, is fatigue. General tiredness is a common struggle for many people.
At Wellness MD, we help our members to find the root cause of their tiredness or fatigue and work with them towards their individual goals to have enough energy to go for a bike ride with their families, run on the beach or go sledding with their kids.
Our energy levels naturally wax and wane with our bio-rhythms. Depending on some genetic factors, lifestyle habits and hormones levels, many people experience decreased energy levels at certain times of the day. For women, especially their energy level fluctuates during their cycle.
With the added chronic stress of this pandemic, many people are experiencing mental fatigue worsening physical fatigue.
Chronic fatigue is multifactorial. However, when we recognize this and address the cause, we can turn it around. In our bodies, we have a system to manage stress. Our stress management system is called our pituitary-adrenal axis (or HPA axis). When we experience chronic stress, our bodies need to deal with a high amount of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Continuous secretion of stress hormones causes us to feel tired and wired and generally exhausted even before starting our day.
The good news is: there are many simple ways you can prevent energy dips and avoid mental fatigue.
Fatigue is an extensive topic. However, I have five quick and easy tips/bio hacks that will boost your energy levels right away:
1: Drink water
Many of us don’t drink enough water regularly. Mild dehydration can cause physical fatigue, mental fatigue, brain fog and headaches. Dehydration can even lower your mood.
“70% body is water.” Our cells, organs, and tissues require water to function optimally.
You can implement a couple of hacks to make sure you drink more water.
Start by having a glass of water next to your bed. First thing in the morning, when you wake up, have a glass of water before you get out of bed. You can make things more exciting by adding raspberries, blackberries, cucumbers or a splash of lemon juice.
Some of my clients use a water-reminding app on their phones.
2: Eat energy-supplying foods
If you need an extra coffee to get you through the afternoon and still all you fantasize about is an afternoon nap, you will benefit from adjusting your breakfast.
For breakfast, I like to advise foods that will slowly release energy throughout the day.
Most of the breakfasts many people eat result in a quick sugar spike, causing your body to secrete more insulin, resulting in a low glucose level (sugar) in your bloodstream and thus lower energy. I advise eating foods that slowly release energy throughout the day.
These foods include soluble fibre, healthy fats and proteins.
For breakfast, you could have warm steel-cut oats with almond butter, walnuts, cinnamon, and your favourite berries. Some days you might eat an egg with tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms and bell peppers.
For lunch, I like to recommend foods that increase oxygen levels in your blood to spark and sustain energy. A great example is a salad with dark leafy greens, like kale or spinach, legumes, lentils, grass-fed meats, avocado, and fruit,
3: One of my favourite hacks: exercise!
Regular exercise increases blood flow, delivering more oxygen to your brain and muscles. It also improves sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and sleep better (which, in turn, boosts your energy during the day).
Exercise uses up stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and releases feel-good, energy-boosting endorphins.
Switch things up:
Go for a walk around the park,
Do a stretch session for 20minutes in your office,
Go for a brisk jog,
Many studies have shown exercise reduces fatigue symptoms, increases cognitive abilities and improves sleep.
Deep, slow controlled breathing increases the oxygen level in your blood, which leads to more energy.
When you get more oxygen to your brain, you increase your focus, attention and creativity.
It helps to decrease anxiety, increase comfort and relaxation.
There are so many different breathing techniques we teach our clients. If you are new to breathing exercises, you can start by just focusing on your natural breathing.
For 5 min, sit in a comfortable position and notice your breathing. Be aware of the flow of air through your nose into your lungs. Put your hands on your chest to feel the expansion of your chest, feel the rise of your abdomen.
You can do this anytime/anywhere when you need a quick energy boost.
5: Be aware of any dialogue in your mind.
Are you telling yourself that you are exhausted? Are you ruminating on (continuously thinking about) things outside of your control?
Or are you focused on positive, uplifting thoughts?
Implement these five hacks, which are guaranteed to increase the quality of your day!