Do you wake up feeling tired after committing to a solid 8 hours of sleep? You are not alone. It seems these days everyone is tired. Even those of us with the best of intentions to hit the sack early find ourselves dragging through the day – fatigued, depleted and frazzled. If you are struggling with lethargy and fatigue, but you get a decent amount of sleep, it’s time to look at other areas of your life that might be impacting your energy level. These are areas we often overlook that if addressed can have a profound impact on how you feel each day! Let’s work on getting some pep back into your step!
Here are five reasons you might be tired:
1. Not Enough Relaxation
This may seem obvious, but the art of relaxation is a skill that needs to be practiced. Beyond getting a consistent eight to nine hours of sleep, we can’t be in “go” mode all the time. Our bodies work best with a balance of rest and exertion. If we are constantly in output mode – giving, running, doing – we are less able to recuperate and wind up tired all the time.
Listen to your body. Being tired is a message. It’s a message that something is out of balance. Our bodies need down time and space from mental exertion. Slow down, take deeper breaths, take time to eat slowly, be present and share in genuine connection. Nourish your body and mind. In allowing yourself rest you just might find that not only are you more rejuvenated but paradoxically you might actually accomplish more!
2. Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Food allergies and sensitivities are a little known cause of fatigue. When we consume foods that do not sit right with our bodies either due to allergic reactions or sensitivities, we will be tired. When we are allergic or sensitive to certain foods our bodies respond with inflammation to protect against the food. Our immune system recognizes the food as a foreign invader and, over time, we get swollen, sore and fatigued.
There is a difference between food allergies and food sensitivities – both, however, can cause fatigue.
Food allergies can cause individuals to go into anaphylactic shock and this type of immediate reaction – such as an allergy to peanuts or shellfish – is stressful on the body and therefore very tiring.
Food sensitivities, however, are harder to spot. We may not notice the sensitivity immediately. However, often, if we slow down and pay enough attention, there will be signs of fogginess, headaches, lethargy, tiredness, achiness, or digestive pain. This is another opportunity to listen to your body! Take several moments a day and simply connect with your body. What is it telling you?
If you suspect that you have food sensitivities, you can always rule it out with a food elimination diet. Avoid the suspect food for at least three weeks. If you feel better, you may have your culprit. Relieving our bodies of having to fight a constant immune war frees up a tremendous amount of energy.
If you’re unsure about whether you have food allergies or sensitivities, check with your health practitioner.
You just don’t care. Did you know that feeling apathetic can make you tired? Fatigue just might be the message you need to help you transform your life into something you never imagined possible!
In reality, apathy does not mean you don’t care. Sometimes it shows up in our lives when we feel like our efforts don’t matter or our hard work is not paying off. Perhaps you have been striving for a weight or a career goal and neither have been achieved. Or maybe you desire a romantic partner or a child to no avail. We may feel that we are being treated unfairly or singled out. When our efforts do not result in what we are looking for we are left feeling depleted and fatigued.
We can’t control what life gives us, but we can get clear about our purpose and take action. If your life doesn’t feel like it matches who you are or what you want in your life, your fatigue may be disguised as a message! It may be pointing to a developmental shift that’s ready to take place. Your life, or your attitude about your life, may be ready for a change. It may just be time to go on that dating website, change careers, leave that unsupportive environment, or talk to a friend or professional.
4. Shallow Breathing
When our lives speed up, a lot of times our breath doesn’t catch up and we breathe more shallowly. This gets less oxygen to our brains and we wind up feeling more tired. Breath is life and we need it to saturate our cells.
There are many breathing exercises out there that can help focus our minds on a practice of breathing more deeply, such as yoga, meditation, square breathing, etc. However, simply reminding yourself throughout the day to take more breaths will also work. Give yourself that life source of deep breaths – also called prana – to innervate your body with life-giving vitality. The best part is that it’s always available to us at any time.
5. Poor Digestion
Eating rapidly, not chewing enough, eating under stress, and eating foods that don’t support your particular health, not moving enough or too much, can all lead to poor digestion. When our bodies cannot assimilate the foods we ingest, we get tired.
In the field of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition we learn that what we eat is only half the story in terms of how food impacts our bodies. The other half is who we are as eaters. Use poor digestion as a teacher. Perhaps you are having trouble digesting certain thoughts? Or maybe you are struggling to digest certain images or ideas? Your ability to manage your mind can have a profound impact on your digestive capabilities. Recognize this as an opportunity to further improve your relationship with your body and yourself.
For digestion to work properly we not only need to slow down, chew our food and move on a daily basis but we need to stay present, pursue purpose and passion and work on choosing thoughts that encourage relaxation and therefore digestion.
For the next few weeks take a moment to connect with your body. If you are tired take a deeper look. By addressing some of these hidden causes of fatigue you just might find you wake up one morning feeling refreshed and ready to go!
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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