Fatigue: Four Questions to Ask Yourself
All of us have experienced fatigue at some point. Often times, however, chronic fatigue and exhaustion are easily overlooked, since we just accept them as “normal.” But fatigue doesn’t have to be the defining feature of our daily lives. Once identified, it can be alleviated, returning to us the energy to tackle the world head on while giving us a happier and more fulfilling life experience.
Traditional Chinese Medicine identifies many different styles of fatigue. For the ease of understanding, we’ll begin to focus on two different classifications: short term and long term.
Two Styles of Fatigue
Short term fatigue is the most common and easily understood because almost all of us have experienced it before. We all can notice when we have a day or two where we are lagging or feel a lack of energy to complete the most simple tasks. Short term fatigue can be caused by symptoms such as an unusually busy work week, possible jet lag from a long trip, or maybe the beginning of an illness.
But what about long term? Long term fatigue can be defined as a state of extreme weariness or exhaustion that deeply affects a person’s daily life. While many of us struggle with long term fatigue, many are not aware that they could feel any other way. When we are so used to functioning at a constant state of exhaustion, we may be unaware that there is anything wrong at all. Without realizing it, we accept a state of fatigue as the new norm and the extent of our physical abilities.
Both long and short term fatigue are rooted in physical or emotional distress. Malnutrition or the lack of crucial vitamins in the body is a common cause of physical exhaustion, creating an imbalance in the body’s energy levels. It can also be sourced to mental or emotional causes such as fear, depression, stress, or anxiety.
All illnesses can produce both physical and mental-emotional symptoms, and as such, treating illness requires treating both the body and the mind, together.
Four Questions to Ask if Experiencing Fatigue
If you are aware that you may be experiencing fatigue, it is important to ask yourself these questions:
1.What are you eating and when?
Food fuels. Nutrition is an essential influencer of our body’s well being and directly links to our body’s energy levels. When analyzing why you are feeling fatigued, take the time to look at what you are eating.
- Are you consuming food that is properly fueling your body? Both extremes of overeating unhealthy foods or drastically reducing your calorie intake during a crash diet can deprive your body of the crucial nutrients it needs for healthy functioning. Even something as simple as skipping a meal while busy at work or not eating breakfast in the morning can affect your daily fatigue levels.
- When are you eating? Eating foods at consistent times throughout the day is important to regulate your digestive system and provide a constant energy source. Each body is different and will require its own unique diet and routine, but it is important to discover what routine your body needs to fight fatigue and fuel you through the day.
2. How are your sleeping and do you have a consistent sleep schedule?
This may seem like a no-brainer question when it comes to fatigue, but it is one that is often overlooked. To determine the symptoms of fatigue, you need to take a deeper look into your sleeping patterns. Consider these questions when analyzing your sleeping patterns:
- What time do you go to bed and wake up?
- How consistent are you with the timing of when you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning?
- How many hours do you sleep per night?
- Do you sleep soundly throughout the night?
- Do you have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep or both?
- Are you using electronic devices within the hour before going to bed?
- Do you take supplements right before bed or around bedtime?
- Do you eat close to the time that you are falling asleep?
Asking yourself these questions and analyzing your sleeping patterns can help you determine areas to improve on for a better night’s sleep. Developing a consistent sleeping ritual will help reduce fatigue during the day and help you fall asleep faster at night.
3. What does your workout routine look like?
We are physical beings that need exercise to upkeep our health. Moreover, exercise can affect our sleep patterns and fatigue levels. We all have heard that people who consistently work out feel like they have more energy overall. There is a lot of truth to this statement.
It is recommended that we do something daily to maintain a physical routine while adding in a more strenuous regimen somewhere along the lines of three times a week. If fatigue has been a constant battle, then take a look into your physical routine and determine if you need to add more exercise to strengthen your body or perhaps back off and give your body time to rest.
4. How often throughout the day do you take a moment to let your mind rest?
No matter the reason a patient comes to Deep Root Medicine, meditation is always recommended. Taking a moment to let your mind rest and be quiet allows for many problems to be alleviated. Specifically related to fatigue, meditation can allow the meditator to be more aware of the tendency of their minds to wander and give them a chance to learn how to stop chasing unnecessary thoughts.
There are many different ways to let your mind rest such as guided meditation and yoga. If you are unfamiliar with these practices, try different techniques like spending 15 minutes walking in nature or enjoying a cup of tea without any distractions or electronic devices. The goal is to let your mind rest and unwind.
To help aid your fatigue, find what works for you. Take a look into your daily routine and consider practicing meditation or some form of letting your mind rest.
Fatigue, whether short term or long term, can be alleviated by taking a look into the four areas listed above: nutrition, sleep, exercise, and mental rest. When incorporating new techniques into your daily routine remember these main takeaways:
- Consistency is key. Each of the four areas above require a constant and consistent routine. Our bodies function well and the way we want them to if we let them know what to expect. Yes, we are all human and it is okay to occasionally get out of routine, but consciously striving to have consistency will solve numerous health related problems such as fatigue.
- Long term solutions require long term effort. We have all heard it before, but let’s reiterate it again: Quick fixes do not work. If you want to completely change your health problems forever, it requires a healthy lifestyle improvement. Traditional Chinese Medicine is not about putting a bandaid on a problem, it is about holistically improving the imbalances in your life for long term results.
For more information to help alleviate your fatigue, book an appointment with Pete at Deep Root Medicine.