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Guidance

The Step-By-Step Guide To Ending Your Fatigue

By Allison Carson

Fatigue hits all of us and can range from simple tiredness to chronic fatigue syndrome. Of the over 1 million Americans who suffer from fatigue, women are two to four times more likely to experience it than men, according to Dr. Josh Axe. Without treatment, chronic fatigue can cause a drop in concentration, memory, and stamina. Let’s look at some of the most effective ways to combat fatigue, no matter its cause.

A glass of sea salt water
PHOTO: HEALEVATE.COM

Drink Warm Water with Sea Salt First Thing in the Morning

To jumpstart your morning digestive process, every few weeks mix warm water, a couple of squeezes of an organic lemon, and some pure sea salt, which is loaded with healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Drink it before you’ve had anything else and then let the magic begin. Your system will be cleansed, and you’ll experience improved muscle and nerve function.

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Repair Your Digestion

Leaky gut syndrome may have a funny name, but it’s no laughing matter. If you develop this condition, you’ll experience fatigue, mood changes, digestive issues, rashes, weight gain, headaches, and diminished concentration. Repair your digestion by removing gluten and refined sugar, and add fermented foods, healthy protein, healthy fats, veggies, bone broth, and sprouted nuts, seeds, and grains. Also add in a probiotic and whole foods that give you B vitamins, iron, and zinc.

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Get at Least 15-20 Minutes of Direct Sunlight Daily 

Waking up slowly to natural light sets your body’s clock up for optimal performance during the day. Hormones like cortisol and melatonin will also be balanced, making you a less stressed snoozer who sleeps well at night. Take a walk break during your day to get your essential dose.

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Exercise Smart, Not Excessively

Fight tiredness with an activity you think might make you more tired? Why yes— if it’s exercise. Low-level fatigue that isn’t the result of a medical issue may be remedied with just a little bit of a heart-pumping workout. Otherwise healthy adults who suffer from mild fatigue can get an energy lift from a moderate workout regimen. Riding a stationary bike three times per week for just 20 minutes may help fight lethargy.

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Eliminate Gluten and Dairy

Poor digestion and food sensitivities can cause flare-ups for anyone with chronic fatigue. Many people have a gluten allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. Another such issue is lactose intolerance or a casein allergy. Casein is a protein in dairy products that can generate severe reactions for those who are allergic. If you have a negative reaction to either dairy or gluten, staying away from foods containing either should help resolve fatigue problems.

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Stop Using Electronics in Bed

Unplug about an hour before going to bed, as interacting with devices that close to sleep time results in lowered quality of sleep. Turn off your TV and computer, leave your phone in another room, and cover any lights that may keep you up. Even a minuscule source of light can keep your melatonin levels from increasing, preventing you from recharging. Consider a sleep mask or coverings to black out your windows if you can’t get your room dark enough.

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Eat Sweet Potatoes, Turkey, Hazelnuts, and Garlic

Research shows that low vitamin B levels are linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps you by preventing fatigue and boosting your immune system. You could supplement, but better yet, switch up your diet and chomp on some delicious vitamin B6-packed foods. Add bananas, grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, turkey, hazelnuts, garlic, cooked spinach, and powerhouse fishes like wild salmon and wild tuna for a diet chock full of fatigue-fighting ingredients.    

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Don’t Skip Breakfast

If eating breakfast isn’t yet part of your morning routine, it’s time to make a change. Fat and protein are musts in the morning, and consuming them in large quantities as you get going gives your body the right stuff. You’ll find yourself experiencing better concentration and alertness. Make a delicious smoothie with everything you need: greens, whey or pea protein, a banana, and half an avocado for the perfect blend of creamy and healthy. Smoothies not your thing? Try eggs, cheese, or nut butter with whole grain toast.

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Replace Coffee with Maca Root

Studies show that adaptogen herbs— natural foods that help level out your hormones and decrease your body’s stress reaction— can give you increased energy and lowered cortisol levels. Maca root is one such adaptogen, and you can typically find it in roasted form. What a way to replace your morning coffee habit with something far healthier! Maca root is full of B vitamins, which can benefit you with increased energy and a reduction in stress and fatigue.

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Add Manuka Honey to Your Diet

Manuka honey hails from New Zealand and is made by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush. It’s one of the rarest and most healthful forms of honey in the world. Because it helps release glycogen into your body— something needed for your body to do repair work during the night— it’s best to have some just before snoozing. Try a spoonful in some milk and you’ll get the added benefit of deep sleep-promoting melatonin.

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Eat Smaller Meals

Have you noticed how some foods make you feel great while others leave you feeling like you need a nap? That’s because food directly impacts your energy. If you’re filling your body with good, whole foods and you still feel wiped, you might need to change how often you’re eating. Try adjusting the frequency of meals to more than three times per day; just be sure to eat the same overall portions. Once you’ve switched it up, see how you feel. Your body will definitely tell you what’s up.

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Keep Your Fluid Intake Adequate

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, leaving you with lowered energy and physical function. Dan Judelson, assistant professor of kinesiology, notes that “it’s reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue.” It can also bring down your mental sharpness and focus. As weird as it seems, check out your urine color as you increase your water intake. Pale yellow means you’re good to go, and anything darker than that means you need to up your water intake.

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Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

We all know how good omega-3 fatty acids are for the heart, but it’s thought that they may also boost lagging levels of alertness. They will definitely clear your head of brain fog. Eating some sardines, or the occasional wild-caught salmon can increase your brain’s sharpness. 

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Add Turmeric to Your Diet

Turmeric, a super inflammation and fatigue fighter, is a delicious spice that hails from the ginger family. Turmeric has been shown to help people suffering from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia by supporting a healthy immune system. Try it grated or in powder form to add a punch of health to your diet, but eat it with black pepper for maximum absorption.

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Eat Iron-Rich Foods

Being anemic is one of the major causes of fatigue for women. Loss of blood during the menstrual cycle can lead to iron insufficiency, but adding foods that are high in iron can help correct this by increasing your red blood cell count, bringing oxygen-rich blood to your organs and tissues. Try eating sustainable shellfish, beans, lean meats, liver, and enriched cereal.

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Eat a Decent Sized Lunch

It can be tempting when you’re busy or counting calories to eat a tiny lunch or skip it altogether. You won’t do yourself any favors in the tiredness department if you do. Try eating good fats, veggies, lean protein, and whole ingredients that are unprocessed. You’ll get enough good fuel to launch you into your after-lunch tasks, all with mental sharpness and concentration. Bonus: your digestion is at its height at midday, making it the most efficient calorie-burning time!

Image of Breakfast beef that helps to fix your fatigue PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ANTONIODIAZ

Chew Your Food Really Well

I know, it sounds strange, but chewing your food thoroughly allows for greater absorption of nutrients. Properly digesting energy-building proteins and fat will help you with increased focus and alertness. You could combine this with your 10-minute meditation and use chewing as the object of your meditation!

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Stay Away from Alcohol and Tobacco

It may seem like a drink before bed will relax you enough to sleep soundly, but in truth it can lead to more interrupted sleep, headaches, nightmares, night sweats, and more trips to the bathroom. Day drinking isn’t much better, as it can cause feelings of drowsiness and sluggishness— something to steer clear of if you’re already having issues with fatigue. And while we’re on the subject of vices, let’s talk about smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant that can keep you up if consumed during the night or before going to bed. 

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Get Sufficient Sleep

Establishing a bedroom routine will help both your mind and body settle in. Create a sanctuary in your bedroom so you can relax from the worries of your day; keep it cool with soft lighting. Take it one step further by adding a few drops of essential oils to a diffuser or putting a few on your temples. To help with sleep and relaxing, try bergamot, clary sage, eucalyptus, jasmine, lavender, marjoram, roman chamomile, valerian, and ylang ylang.

Image of the woman meditating in the forest PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/MARTIN KARNY KARNER

Meditate Daily for Even Just 10 Minutes

Creating a routine around meditation will cause wonderful occurrences in your life. Even 10 minutes of meditation each day can give you better focus, increased mental acuity, and set your stress level to “chill.”  Meditation is proven to help with your brain’s neuroplasticity— that’s how your brain actually reshapes itself to benefit from more positive perspectives. If that all seems just a little weird, consider that regular meditation will make you sleep better. Now that’s a plain and simple way to beat fatigue.

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Set Work Boundaries

I get it— you like to do well at work. So do I. But do you know that constant email checking, texting, and a general inability to unplug from work can leave you feeling more stressed? Stress increases cortisol in the body, which leaves you with a strung-out, super tense, wired feeling. Not really the best way to be effective at work! Take some time each day to get away from your job, both physically and mentally.

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Take Magnesium — in Your Bath or in Your Belly

Epsom salt baths are a time-honored method for treating achy muscles, and they can help you wind down and relax when you’re feeling particularly exhausted. Magnesium, an ingredient in the salts, is easily absorbed through the skin. Not one for baths? Foods like almonds, bananas, black beans, spinach, chard, avocados, figs, kefir, yogurt, and even dark chocolate pack a magnesium punch that can help you vanquish fatigue. They also regulate blood pressure and bolster blood sugar levels and healthy nerve function.

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Drink Hot Lemon Water

Hot lemon water can boost energy levels much in the same way that coffee can, only without the caffeine crash. Your body generates energy from the atoms and molecules in foods, so when negative-charged ions (such as those found in lemons), enter your digestive tract, the result is a natural increase in energy levels.

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Learn to Say No

Learning to say no might well be the most difficult suggestion from this list to master. The possibility of letting others down with a refusal can loom ominously when you seriously consider it. But if constantly being on the go— from home to work to the gym to happy hour— leaves you feeling depleted and stressed, then it’s definitely time to start saying no. You’ll find that a better mood, less stress, and deeper sleep await you, leaving you in a better place to say yes when it really matters.

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