Anyone who has tried to sit through a long meeting after a sleepless night knows what fatigue feels like – but chronic fatigue can be a major issue for a lot of people. Fatigue, which includes feelings of weakness, exhaustion, lethargy, tiredness, and listlessness, can impact individuals both physically and mentally, and can be difficult to treat.
Often, fatigue is a symptom of an underlying cause – but even treating this condition doesn’t help get rid of your lack of energy or mental exhaustion. Fatigue can also be caused by a lack of sleep, particularly troublesome for people who suffer from frequent insomnia. Luckily, there are some natural treatments to help combat fatigue, without turning to pharmacological options.
Take some vitamin D
Up to 50 per cent of the population has shown some deficiency in this important vitamin, and it can help fight some of the discomfort, pain, and irritability associated with chronic fatigue. Depending on the level of your deficiency, you may need to supplement with an additional 1,000 to 4,000 international units per day – and make sure you get out and enjoy some sunshine to help your body absorb this valuable nutrient. Try going for a walk outside, or even doing some stretching to boost your energy level with some brief exercise while you fill your body with vitamin D.
Jump for joy
All kinds of exercise will help with chronic fatigue, but there’s something about jumping that helps engage the mind and provide a bit of extra stimulation. Even something as simple as doing a few jumping jacks or burpees, or even leaping around while you dance to your favorite song is enough to get your heart rate up and oxygen pumping through your body. You’ll also benefit from the release of endorphins, which help give you a bit of a feel-good boost.
Channel your inner polar bear
Studies have shown that after being exposed to ice water, people demonstrated superior alertness in a standardized test. The theory is that cold water acts as a stressor – and when presented with something that causes stress, our bodies release noradrenaline, an energizing hormone that can help provide a rush of stimulation. Try running cold water over your wrists, or splashing it on your face to clear your mind and fight off fatigue. It never hurts to drink more cold water, either – fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration.
Indulge with steam
Heat therapy is a great way to reduce stress and combat some of the major signs of fatigue. A session in a steam shower or sauna helps stimulate circulation and oxygen flow, focuses your breathing, and relaxes away stiffness or tightness in your joints and muscles. Not only will the session make you feel invigorated and energized, it will help you sleep better at night – reducing the likelihood that you’ll wake up feeling fatigued again the next day. See if you can find a sauna or steam shower at a gym or spa to give it a try, or consider installing one in your own home for relief whenever you need it.
Watch what you eat
What you eat is probably one of the biggest triggers for symptoms of fatigue. A good breakfast can help chase away your morning sluggishness, keeping your blood sugar levels balanced and your energy up. Focus on eating foods that are high in fibre and lower in refined carbohydrates, which can cause a spike in your blood sugar – followed by a crash that is sure to drain your energy. Spinach, which is full of potassium and B vitamins, provides some key nutrients that help your body metabolize energy, so if you’re feeling run down, add a little extra greens to your diet.
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1 million Americans are living with chronic fatigue – but you don’t have to be one of them. There are tons of ways you can combat fatigue naturally, so try these tips the next time you’re feeling mentally burnt out or physically exhausted instead of relying on medications. However, if fatigue is an ongoing problem and these tips don’t seem to shake the fog, you might need to bring it up with your doctor or health practitioner and see if there is an underlying cause.