I know what it means to be fatigued and exhausted! After all, caring for 3 young and energetic kids, while working, exercising and tending to a house leaves very little energy left at the end of the day! Fatigue is generally not an ailment by itself but rather a classic symptom of some other problem like poor nutrition, stress, inadequate or excessive exercise, overworked, insomnia or poor sleeping habits or PMS, just to name a few. Fatigue, if left untreated or resolved, can lead to personality or mood changes with the tendency to become easily angry, impatient or depressed due to persistent exhaustion – and we all know these are not behavioral characteristics to have when trying to care for our children, our families and ourselves!!
So what causes fatigue? Generally speaking, fatigue can be linked to increased amounts of stress, anxiety, depression, inadequate or excessive sleep, lowered immunity and chronic infections, anemia, and fluctuating hormone levels (seen during pregnancy, postpartum and menopause) – just to name a few.
There are natural supplements that can help alleviate your fatigue and hopefully bring some much needed energy to your daily life. The first thing to do prior to taking any type of supplement for fatigue is to see your physician or health care professional and rule out any underlying fatigue causing medical condition. A couple of supplements that will help are the B-Complex Vitamins, especially B12 – which support the nervous and immune systems, and Vitamin C – which promotes and strengthens the immune system, helps repair tissues, and supports the adrenal (stress coping) glands. Ginseng (both Panax and Siberian) have long been used to boost the body’s own energy levels and fight fatigue.
In addition to taking supplements to help fight off fatigue, there are other things that you can do to help increase your energy levels:
- Try to take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon or after work – but make sure that you set your alarm and don’t oversleep, oversleeping can interfere with your nighttime sleep. Sometimes a small “cat nap” can help recharge and rejuvenate your mind and body for the remainder of the day’s activities.
- Another thing to do from a dietary standpoint is to maintain your blood sugar levels by eating small snack/meals at regular intervals – every 3-4 hours; make sure your meals/snacks are always comprised of a lean protein/complex carbohydrate/healthy fat; never skip meals, especially breakfast; avoid large meals, fatty foods, caffeinated beverages or alcohol (although a glass of wine can’t hurt right?).
- Maintain a regular bedtime routine – go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday – and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Try to listen to calming music or use a sound machine to help relax you.
- Avoid all forms of stimulation 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to bedtime – so turn off the tv or computer and put away your phone to help your body start to settle down for a night of slumber. Instead, read a book or listen to calming music to allow your brain to relax and get ready for rest.
- Exercise, aim for 30-60 minutes in duration at least 3-4 times per week. Physical activity can help relieve built up stress which can help clear up the mind and relax the body for rest. Try Yoga, Pilates or other stretching type activities to loosen the muscles and relax the body.
I know it’s hard to be a great mom when you are so tired but there are natural and healthy ways to help increase your energy levels. Try out some of these ideas and see if they put a “pep in your step”. I hope that you find this information helpful.