When did you realize you were going to be tired everyday for the rest of your life? Even though I was diagnosed at age 23, I was still living a relatively normal life. Not until I was maybe 33 did the extreme fatigue kick in and it really started kicking my butt. Falling asleep anywhere. I remember getting scared when I was on my way home after work and was drifting off sitting in traffic. After that, my doctor added anemia to my list of diagnosis’s and I was to start taking iron pills. Since then, I had to make lifestyle changes, rest when I feel it coming on and eat better. It doesn’t come over night and I still experience fatigue in waves but I am able to live a relatively normal life now.
As many as 80 percent of people with lupus experience fatigue. For some people with lupus, fatigue is their main symptom. Fatigue can be debilitating, even to the point of forcing them to stop working. It is unclear why extreme fatigue occurs in so many people with lupus.(via lupus.org)
1. Eat a balanced diet
One reason to follow a healthy, balanced diet is that you’ll boost energy levels.
Ensure you’re getting enough nutrients by eating whole, fresh foods from a variety of food groups. Pair unrefined carbs with protein for sustained energy levels. Include plenty of fiber and anti-inflammatory foods.
Following a balanced diet also promotes healthy digestion, which helps to clear and cleanse your body. In fact, research has linked irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to chronic fatigue. Certain foods might even help to prevent and manage IBS, which could be zapping your energy.
2. Get regular exercise
The benefits of regular exercise are widely recognized. Exercise releases endorphins that naturally boosting your energy levels. It can also lead to more high-quality sleep.
A 2008 study found that regular exercise can reduce symptoms of fatigue. In the study, 36 sedentary young adults did either low-intensity or moderate-intensity exercise over a period of six weeks. Both groups saw improvements in energy levels.
Do at least two hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. To make it easier to stick to an exercise plan, find a workout buddy or hire a personal trainer.
3. Drink more water
Stay properly hydrated to keep your body running at optimum levels.
Dehydration can lead to low energy levels. It can also have a negative impact on your sleep by drying out your mouth and nasal passages, and can lead to snoring, hoarseness, and leg cramps. Plus, it can make you less alert and mentally clear the next day.
According to a 2014 study, increasing water intake in people who don’t usually drink enough water was found to have beneficial effects on energy. People who decreased their water intake had fewer feelings of calmness, satisfaction, and positive emotions. Feelings of fatigue and inertia were also reported in this group.
4. Cut down on caffeine
Lowering your caffeine intake can give you more energy in the long run. Though caffeine may give you an initial boost of energy, after it wears off you may be left feeling depleted.
Slowly reducing your caffeine intake will help to reduce feelings of withdrawal as you balance out your natural energy levels.
Avoid caffeine after dinnerso you can naturally wind down for a restful night of sleep.
5. Get your sleep on
Proper rest is essential if you want to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Relax before going to bed, possibly doing some gentle stretches. Improve your sleep area by keeping it clean and maintaining an appropriate temperature.
Other tips for better sleep include:
Practice guided relaxation, meditation, or yoga to help you drift off to sleep.
Buy a comfortable mattress, pillow, and blanket.
Wear loose, natural fabrics.
Journal before bed to clear your mind.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
Use earplugs and an eye mask.
6. Ditch the alcohol
Alcohol throws your body off balance and leads to poor sleep, especially if you’re dehydrated. Even though alcohol may seem to help you fall asleep, you won’t sleep as deeply. When you do have alcohol, drink in moderation, and try to have as many alcohol-free days as possible.
7. Address your allergies
The chemicals released by your body to combat allergic reactions can cause you to feel tired. They can bring on inflammationof your sinuses, airways, or digestive system. Accompanying head and nose congestion can cause you to sleep poorly.
These factors can contribute to brain fog, making it difficult to concentrate and complete your daily activities.
Avoid known allergens as much as possible. Keep a diary and try an elimination diet to help identify triggers.
See your doctor to determine the cause of your allergies if you’re unsure. They may recommend allergy medications or shots.
8. Reduce stress
Stress can zap you of the mental and physical energy needed to carry out your day with ease. Stress hormonescan have a negative effect on your sleep patterns, bodily systems, and overall health.
Reduce stress in whatever way your heart so desires. Go to the spa for a pampering treatment or having a massage. Mindfulness practices such as tai chi, meditation, and yoga are great options. Or curl up on the couch with your favorite book or television show.
9. Do a mental health check
Check in with yourself to establish what mental patterns may be causing low energy levels. Anxiety symptoms include feeling worried, irritable, and nervous. Symptoms of depression include feeling sad, restless, and hopeless. Both conditions can lead to unhealthy sleep patterns and cause tiredness.
Consider seeing a therapist for talk therapy, known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This method helps you to get to the root cause of emotional issues so that they can be addressed and overcome.
10. Sit less
Get up, get moving, and get your energy flowing. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time sitting.
Include short bursts of activity throughout the day, especially when you’re feeling pressed for time. Get into the habit of exercising regularly. Making simple changes such as parking your car a little bit farther away, taking the stairs, or walking to do errands are easy ways to sneak in a bit of exercise.
11. Prioritize iron-rich foods
Anemia is an iron deficiencythat can lead to tiredness. This is due to low hemoglobin levels, which make it more difficult for oxygen to be carried to your tissues and muscles. It also weakens your immune system, making you more likely to develop illness and infection.
Anemia is more common in women than in men. Sometimes it occurs due to pregnancy or heavy menstruation. It can be treated through diet or medication.
Here are some iron-rich foods to include in your diet:
leafy green vegetables
fortified cereals and bread
beans, peas, and lentils
12. Have smaller, more frequent meals
In terms of energy levels, eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day may be more beneficial than eating a few large meals. That’s because it keeps your blood sugar levels stable.
Eating every three to four hours will make it less likely that your energy crashes, and in turn you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy food.
Avoid overeating at meals, and stop eating before you are entirely full.
13. Quit smoking
Smoking can deplete your energy by reducing your oxygen levels, and making breathing difficult.
Quitting smoking is an attainable goal, and there are resources to help. Over-the-counter and prescription medicationsare available that may help you quit. These medications are more effective when combined with counseling.
Consider trying one of the many smoking cessation apps available. Discover tips from people who successfully quit smoking. Keep a journal so you can have some type of inner reflection during this time.
14. Learn to relax
Take the time to completely unwind, relax, and let go.
Deep breathing techniques, gentle stretching, and meditation are excellent ways to unwind. Yoga nidra is the perfect way to replenish your energy.
Finding peace in nature is another way to nourish your soul, or you can simply enjoy the beauty of doing nothing.
15. Talk to your doctor
If you feel your tiredness is unusual in some way or is coupled with other symptoms, it may be time to see your doctor. Feeling low in energy could be the result of an underlying health condition, and it’s best to check out this possibility.
Conditions that can cause fatigue include:
chronic fatigue syndrome
liver or kidney conditions
The bottom line
Now I know following every thing on this list may not feasible or maybe just not attractive, for you. I get it. I don’t follow every one my dang self, so I’m not going to preach what I don’t practice. Making adjustments as per your individual self and likes will help though I can guarantee that. Make lifestyle changes to your routine to increase your vitality. Start with what is most appealing to you, and go from there. You’ll likely start to improve your energy levels so you can feel your best on a daily basis.
Above all, honor your body and how you’re feeling. Take a break and allow yourself time to rest when you need to. Avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits, and commit to a healthy plan of action.
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.