Do you wake tired and unrefreshed, dose yourself up on caffeine and sugar just to make it through your day, struggle to concentrate on the simplest of daily tasks, and all day long feel flat, lethargic, achy and irritable?
Fatigue has become an epidemic thanks to our modern lifestyles and never ending ‘to do lists’, with women suffering from fatigue conditions 2 to 4 times more than men. And can you blame us? We almost need to be ‘Super-Women’ to manage the daily tasks of organising the family in the morning, packing bags, lunchboxes, clothes, hygiene, school drop-off, working part or full-time jobs, school pick up, managing extracurricular activities, homework, grocery shopping, dinner and quality family time.
Sleep, rinse, repeat.
Women are so busy caring for everyone else that they drop ball when it comes to self-care. This is even more problematic if the cause of your fatigue is more serious than the exhaustion of keeping up with a busy schedule.
There are many causes of fatigue and it is important to figure which ones are affecting you. After all, even Super-Women needs fuel sources to function at her best!
- Water is essential for life. Yes this is starting simply, but even mild dehydration can reduce your energy levels and mood, causing impaired memory and brain performance.
- Are you eating on the go? Making poorer food choices due to lack of time, energy and organisation? Foods are our essential fuel source! We require B-group vitamins, iron, magnesium and proteins for our basic cellular energy production. No nutrients = no fuel. Quick-fix foods often contain little nutritional value and provide a spike in our blood sugars, followed by a quick crash, leaving us feeling more depleted than ever. Weekly meal planning will be your saviour here – reducing the amount of time you spend shopping, mentally preparing what you can cook for dinner, and provide you with more substantial and energising meals.
- Iron, B12 and Folate deficiencies can all contribute to fatigue and are especially prevalent in women due to our monthly blood loss. Checking these levels on a regular basis is an easy prevention of chronic energy insufficiencies.
- Vitamin D levels are also necessary for your immune system to work at its best so if you feel ‘run-down’ or suffer from frequent colds consider testing your vitamin D levels or taking the time to enjoy the sunshine.
- Are you consuming higher levels of so-called ‘energy robbers’ that further deplete your nutritional levels such as sugar, alcohol, coffee, medications, dehydration, stress, a sedentary lifestyle or over-training? How do these make you feel in the long run? Look at your attachment to these vices and question if they are helping or hindering? Are you simply putting a band-aid on your energy stores?
- No time or energy to exercise? Research shows that even gentle exercises such as a brisk walk can increase your energy levels by releasing hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. It also promotes a more restful sleep.
- Ensure to get a good night’s sleep. Practicing sleep hygiene, taking some much needed ‘down-time’ before bed, listening to sleep hypnotherapy apps, taking an Epsom salt bath or some magnesium can all vastly improve upon your quality and quantity of sleep.
- There are many medical conditions that can be at the root causes of fatigue syndromes, including, but not limited to chronic fatigue syndrome, anaemia, thyroid issues, endometriosis, anxiety, depression, autoimmune conditions, a weakened immune system and chronic infections. It is important to find the right support when it comes to managing your health care, getting regular check-ups and blood tests from your doctor and finding the right health practitioners for you and your needs. Even the Carers need care.
Take time out for yourself! This is a big one and I don’t want you to pass it over as ‘too hard’. We are no good to anyone if we are not feeling our best. Taking the time out for yourself to re-charge, re-energise, and re-boot yourself should be your Number #1 priority! What activities make you smile? Socialise with friends, walk in nature, read your favourite book, take a bubble bath, take a yoga class, swim in the ocean, dig your toes into the grass and simply bask in the sunshine. Your options are endless ?