Too often I hear clients say "I want more energy", "I don't have enough energy", "I'm exhausted", "I'm tired all the time", "I used to be able to...", "I just want to get my energy back". These are all too common and fatigue seems to have become a disease of our time. This is probably a combination of a number of factors such as stress, lifestyle, absence of rest, we're moving too fast, we're afraid to slow down, or we are driven to achieve as well as dietary contributors. It is no accident that we are so tired these days.
Energy and fatigue levels can be a combination of nutritional and biological factors, as well as emotional factors. Common physiological causes of fatigue can include, viral, bacterial, yeast infections, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, especially iron, B12, magnesium, protein, EFAs, low thyroid, auto immune diseases, mould, poor sleep, food allergies, heavy metals, hormonal imbalances, alcohol, drugs, lack of vitamin D, depression, anxiety, genetics, ageing and more. Often these causes of fatigue are really effects. They are secondary conditions to deeper causes. Fatigue is what the nervous system funnels us into after a prolonged stress response. We need the fatigue to recalibrate and reorganise as we can only exist in the stress response short term.
Fatigue can also be a symptom - a message that we need to learn how to hear. It is body wisdom, a brilliant guiding mechanism of the body. It may be telling you to slow down, stop fighting, recalibrate, reevaluate, breathe, set a new course. Fatigue forces us to stop. CAN WE?
Too often we try to push through our fatigue, and the need to rest and recalibrate, through the use of excess caffeine, sugar, excess carbs and meat, energy drinks, willpower, ego, less sleep, electronic stimulation.
Our survival is based on having enough energy.
We need to learn how to value our time and energy better, how to spend, regulate and manage our energy as best we can. The number one key to having more energy is learning to regulate the energy you already have. It's a long game that you get better at. So instead of fighting fatigue, welcome it as a teacher. Listen to it. Often it is letting us know we need to rest and rejuvenate. Learn to better value your energy, respect it, nurture it and learn how not to drain it. Think of it like money. Money can be hard to come by, and one big lesson we learn in life is how to value our money, look after it and make sure we use it wisely, not waste it. Managing our energy is exactly the same as managing our money.
Some dietary factors to keep in mind that can negatively impact your energy/fatigue levels are:
- Fast eating
- Stress state eating
- Poor eating rhythm
- Macronutrient imbalance
- Excess caffeine, sugar
- Poor quality carbohydrates
- Poor quality food
- Low pleasure diet
- Food allergies
A nice exercise to do is to make two lists. The first list - list everything that gives you energy. Be very complete and exhaustive, include all big and little things such as thoughts, feelings, beliefs, people, things, places, food, supplements, experiences etc. Then list everything that drains your energy, as above. Notice what came up for you. Any insights? Any aha moments? Did you make any connections? Any new understandings? Now start to focus on incorporating more of what brings you energy into your daily life and what can be removed from the drain list.
Remember, energy is finite, we need to learn to use it wisely.