sleep The average working American spends over $1,000 per year on coffee according to a recent survey. That may seem like a lot of money, but what’s the alternative when you need to feel awake and alert all day, every day? Simply dragging yourself through your daily responsibilities — and even the fun parts of life — can be devastating.

Many exhausted women wonder if something is truly going wrong inside their bodies. Yet when they go to the doctor’s office, their fatigue concerns are often inadequately addressed, or even dismissed. They are told to simply get more sleep or that feeling fatigued is just a natural part of getting older. The truth is we should not feel exhausted all the time — no matter what age we are. And relying on caffeine and sugar to get through the day ends up making the problem worse.

Exhaustion is not a natural part of getting older

There are probably several factors causing your exhaustion. For your body and mind to feel rested, energetic and clear you need energy-supportive nutrition, consistent quality sleep, downtime to restore, regular mental stimulation and physical movement or exercise. As we a face with more life demands, it becomes even more important for these support mechanisms to be in place.

Fatigue and exhaustion are very clear warning signs that something is off in your body. If the problem isn’t addressed it can easily lead to further health problems that will require much more action. Our approach to exhaustion and fatigue is to provide support for your whole body, especially your adrenal glands.

Your adrenal glands work in concert with your circadian rhythm, helping to give you energy in the morning and then gradually calm your body as bedtime draws near. But your adrenal glands also have many other responsibilities, including managing your stress response. It’s not uncommon in these days of unremitting stress and overwhelming demands for the adrenal glands to become imbalanced, disturbing sleep-wake cycles and sometimes leading to pure exhaustion.

5 steps to resolve fatigue and renew your energy

1. Eat energy-supportive foods. This is often one of the most important steps for increasing energy. Be sure to have healthy protein at every meal and snack. This might include nuts, nut butters, legumes, organic meats, fish or eggs. Protein allows for sustained energy, while the burst that sugar and high-carb foods gives us is often followed by a crashing low. Avoid sugar, white flours and white rice. Instead chose complex carbohydrates like wild rice, vegetables and fruits. Many women find that foods containing gluten lead to more fatigue and brain fog, so we urge you to consider avoiding gluten as well. Our Eating & Lifestyle e-Guide, available in our Adrenal Health Programs, includes all the information you need to eat for energy, including recipes, shopping lists and meal plans.

TIP: Pack a hardboiled egg with your lunch and save it for a mid-afternoon snack.

2. Explore vitamins, minerals and phytotherapy. Find a good multivitamin rich in B vitamins for energy. Calcium, zinc, manganese and selenium also have restorative effects on the body. For extra energy and mental clarity, adrenal-supportive herbs like Siberian ginseng and rhodiola are helpful, while astragalus root and cordyceps protect your body from the damaging effects of fatigue and stress.

TIP: Try Adaptisol, a powerful blend of the above herbs, for increased energy, enhanced mental clarity and protection against stress.

3. Get regular moderate exercise. When you feel exhausted, exercise is typically last on the list. However, getting outdoors — even for a walk around the block — can often restore your energy. Remember, the key is not to exercise to the point of exhaustion, but to practice moderation. We advise women to take the time to explore and find exercise they look forward to. Whether it’s dance, swimming, yoga, or simply walking, experiment with a few different forms of exercise until you find the one (or more!)that feels right for your life and your personality.

TIP: Take a 15-20 minute walk outdoors after lunch each day.

4. Choose napping and going to bed early instead of caffeine. Grabbing a cup of coffee or a caffeinated soda is tempting when you feel bone tired. But caffeine can actually drain your adrenal reserves, contributing to further imbalances and more fatigue down the road. We suggest taking a short nap (not more than 20 minutes) during the day to give your body a chance to restore itself. If napping isn’t an option, try drinking a cup of green tea while sitting down with your feet up for five minutes. Setting a regular bed time and protecting it is very helpful. It’s widely accepted by many different types of medicine, including Functional Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and others, the most restorative hours for sleep are between 10 pm and 6 am.

TIP: Bring a yoga mat to work and lie down in a quiet place for a nap, or meditate for ten minutes listening to soothing music.

5. Practice what restores you rather than depletes you. It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing what you think is “good” for you or what others expect of you without even considering whether it’s restorative or draining. For example, some women feel sapped by large groups of people and parties, while others love this kind of stimulation. Some women relish the chance to cook, while others feel stressed by it. Take a good look at your habits, and choose to do more of what fills your cup and makes you happy.

TIP: Keep a journal and write down how you feel at the end of each day — it can be simply one word or multiple pages.

Wake up and get back to your energetic self

Don’t buy in to myths that fatigue is a natural part of getting older. Exhaustion is not a fact of life. There are easy changes you can make to increase energy and get back to the vibrant life you want to live. We offer many options for adrenal support and symptom relief, including guided, at-home strategies to help boost your energy naturally. We always pair you with one of our knowledgeable Wellness Coaches, located right here in Maine, who can help chart your course to feeling good again.

References

Accounting Principals. 2012. Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey. URL: http://www.accountingprincipals.com/Documents/downloads/api-workonomix-survey-Q1-2012.pdf.

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