Is there anything worse than waking up on a morning and feeling as if you haven’t slept at all? Do you go through your day exhausted, unable to focus because you simply don’t have the energy?
You’re not alone. Fatigue is something that affects many people, and it’s no longer linked to the natural process of aging. Finding yourself sapped of your energy and motivation can have a nasty impact on just about every part of your life.
Even worse, well-meaning friends and family members may dismiss your feelings as “just feeling tired”. In this article, we’ll discuss why fatigue is so much more than tiredness - and how you can beat fatigue.
Fatigue vs Tiredness
Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between fatigue and tiredness. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same.
Tiredness is natural, and it’s something most of us experience. For example, you might feel tired after a bad night’s sleep, a tiring journey, or a long day at work. You can perk yourself up with a strong cup of coffee, or something refreshing.
Fatigue is more powerful, something that creeps into your bones and refuses to subside. Fatigue is an extreme kind of tiredness, leaving you without energy. It also saps your motivation to do activities you used to love.
In short, fatigue is extreme tiredness that refuses to go away with sufficient rest. Prolonged fatigue is not normal, and can be a sign that something is wrong.
7 Fatigue Fighting Tricks
If your fatigue doesn’t go away, it might be best to consult a doctor to rule out physical causes, like iron deficiencies. It’s also good to try these 7 fatigue-fighting tricks to try and win back your life.
Be more active
This may seem like a contradiction. How on earth is more activity going to help with fatigue?
Surprisingly, lack of activity can make us feel more fatigued. Exercise and activity stimulate our brain and body to get moving. You may not feel like going out for a walk, but you might come back feeling refreshed, happier, and even a little more energized.
Of course, you should build up your activity level gradually. Start with small activities, preferably with friends and loved ones.
Eat fatigue-busting foods
We know that certain foods are better for us than others. Don’t put yourself on a restrictive diet, but try and eat healthy food, with at least five fruit and vegetables a day. If you aren’t getting enough vitamins and nutrients, this can contribute to (or even cause) fatigue.
For example, eating more red meat and green, leafy vegetables can be a good way to up your iron intake. Fatty fish such as salmon provide plenty of omega 3 fish oils.
Once again, you don’t need to overhaul your diet all at once. Start gradually, planning out healthy and delicious meals for a week at a time.
Drinking more water is always the right way to go. When we aren’t sufficiently hydrated, our bodies began to struggle and suffer. Dehydration causes fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and confusion.
Drinking water refreshes our bodies and can invigorate us, beating fatigue.
Avoid “bad” foods
There’s nothing wrong with stereotypically “bad” food. Junk food, sweets, pastries, fried food, and more are all delicious and comforting snacks - in moderation.
Junk food isn’t as filling as high-fiber, nutritious food, and junk food also has hardly any nutritional value. If junk food plays a big role in your diet, you may not be getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
This can cause fatigue, along with acne, nausea, and even malnutrition.
Take regular breaks
When we’re feeling fatigued, it can be tempting to push through our tasks, just to get them finished. However, this can be worse for you in the long run.
If you feel exhausted, take a break. This gives you the opportunity to rest your eyes and body, and regain a little energy. Use your break to stretch, breathe, get a snack, or even try to do some exercise. A nap can be tempting, but you might find yourself waking up hours later, instead of the twenty minutes you’d planned!
Manage your stress
Stress is draining. It can sap your motivation, keep you awake at night, destroy your appetite, and leave you feeling fatigued and miserable.
If that’s the case, it’s time to confront your stress and deal with it. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Start by identifying the source of your stress. There’s likely more than one!
Next, think about what you can do to remove the source of stress, or at least ease it a little. Meal prep, weekly planning, and asking trusted friends and family members for help can go a long way to making your life a little less stressful.
How you deal with your stress is up to you. We’re all individuals, and each of us has our own unique circumstances. The point is to acknowledge the problem and work towards finding a solution.
Let’s be clear: positive thinking will not take away fatigue on its own. However, the trick here is to think differently about the causes of your fatigue, and how you address it.
When we feel fatigued, it’s difficult to think of anything else. Unfortunately, focusing on the sensations of fatigue and our worry that it’s going to persist is a guarantee that the feelings will continue.
Try to distract yourself, if you can. Mindfulness and meditation can help to take your mind off your fatigue.
The Bottom Line
If you have persistent fatigue that won’t go away, no matter what you do, see a doctor to rule out any underlying causes.
Unfortunately, most of us will experience fatigue at some point in our lives. It’s upsetting and frustrating, but it’s almost always temporary. Rather than focusing on your discomfort now, try and look past your fatigue. Making good lifestyle choices now (such as eating well, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep) can help you to avoid fatigue in the future.