WHAT IS FATIGUE
Fatigue is termed as experiencing extreme tiredness and weakness. Affecting you both physically and mentally.
We experience fatigue in very different ways. Some of us may experience it due to mental or physical disease. With symptoms being a cause. Some of us may experience it due to lifestyle or social aspects.
And some of us may experience fatigue due to changes to our lives. Such as a new baby or the loss of a loved one. We are individuals and will have different reasons and causes for fatigue.
This may produce an array of symptoms. Making it quite difficult to describe our fatigue symptoms to medical professionals.
It’s mostly described as feeling incredibly lethargic and tired. You may feel exhausted all the time or have very little motivation.
The symptoms below are associated with having fatigue. As said previously, we are all individuals. So your fatigue symptoms could be totally different.
•chronic tiredness or sleepiness
•sore or aching muscles
•slowed reflexes and responses
•impaired decision-making and judgement
•moodiness, such as irritability
•impaired hand-to-eye coordination
• over eating
•reduced immune system function
•short-term memory problems
•reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand
LIFESTYLE AND HEALTH FACTORS AFFECTING FATIGUE
Fatigue is commonly accompanied by health problems or life changes.
These life changes maybe things that our out of our control. Maybe you’ve experienced the death of a loved one or you’re experiencing illness.
Or it may be self-inflicted by indulging in things that we enjoy. Such as eating unhealthy foods or drinking too much alcohol.
The cause of your fatigue could be down to the following factors.
Psychological aspects of fatigue relates to issues involving the mind. This relates to things that affect us on an emotional and mental basis.
This may be due to stress, anxiety or depression. Our modern world and being on this earth is a joyous experience.
We have joys of spending time with family. Joys of moving into a new home, getting married, getting a new job or having children.
The joyous unfortunately is presented with having to deal with the unfortunate sad parts of our lives.
Those times of stress, anxiety and depression. Maybe you’ve experienced this due to grief. Times of financial difficulties. Or you might be struggling to come to terms with your own illness or family members being ill.
The psychosocial aspect of fatigue is based on our social environment.
We may be dealing with low self-esteem issues. You may be dealing with the pressures of body image.
Our modern world places a lot of pressure on us.
There seems to be a constant need for “perfection”.
The perfect life. Perfect body. Perfect diet.
For many of us, this constant need for perfection can lead to having self-esteem issues. Further, leading to bouts of depression and stress.
Depression for many of us will undoubtedly lead to fatigue like symptoms. Resulting in not wanting to go out in public or not to be in the presence of our friends and families.
We may be affected by fatigue on a physical level. There are many diseases accompanied by fatigue.
These are diseases such as:
•Chronic fatigue syndrome
•Chronic infection or inflammation
•Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)(Graves Disease — if autoimmune related)
•Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) (Hashimoto’s Disease -if autoimmune related)
•Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
•Pain (medically explained and unexplained symptoms)
Physiology is the day to day activities that we must do to keep our bodies functioning well. These are activities that keep us alive.
We need to eat, drink, move and sleep. Disrupted or diminished levels of these activities play havoc with our well-being. Further, causing fatigue to set in.
This could be as simple as eating your meals at the wrong times of the day. Or choosing to eat the wrong types of foods at a particular time of the day.
Examples could be due to your:
- Life changes
- Lack of sleep
Are you choosing to eat high sugar foods to give you an energy boost?
Try to avoid doing it. Combating fatigue by eating high sugar foods will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. Further, causing your body to crash and produce fatigue symptoms.
You might be experiencing fatigue due to pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Both extremely demanding on the body. And both requiring the use of a lot of our energy and expending vital nutrients.
Lack of Sleep
Inadequate sleep can be a huge cause. You may have had a change to sleep patterns caused by having insomnia.
You may have a new baby, children or older family members to care for.
You might be working long or unsociable hours.
Fatigue will most likely set in with very little sleep. It’s important you establish a healthy routine to get more sleep.
Exercise may be an issue. Either too little or too much exercise.
We all know that a lack of exercise leads to weight gain. Many of us have experienced the emotional downsides of weight gain. Most of us are aware and have felt the downsides of limited movement and breathlessness.
Some of us may have heart related issues, diabetes or other diseases caused by being overweight.
Unfortunately gaining weight will inevitably lead to fatigue.
But it is also important to point out that too much exercise may also cause fatigue.
If your fatigue is a symptom of a disease, taking part in strenuous intensive exercise is not going to help.
Exercise if used correctly is fantastic but used excessively can be catastrophic.
When starting a new fitness regime, we need to start slowly. Think about a progressive build up to more intense exercise activities.
WAYS OF EASING YOUR FATIGUE SYMPTOMS
Cut back on caffeine. Opt for drinking decaffeinated versions of tea and coffee. Try diluted fruit juices, herbal teas.
Make exercise a part of your life. Exercise can be simple and doesn’t need to be expensive.
You can make time to get outside and go for walks.
You can take part in gentle forms of exercise such as pilates and yoga which can be done from the comfort of your home.
Activities such as yoga and pilates have the benefit of being good for your mind as well as your body.
Gentle exercise can be helpful if your disease limits you from taking part in strenuous forms of exercise.
If your fatigue is due to lack of sleep, you might find doing gentle exercise beneficial a few hours before bedtime.
Exercise produces chemicals called endorphins. Termed as the “feel good hormones. Endorphins may help with depression and pain. Therefore helping with fatigue.
Eat a well-balanced diet, be mindful of what you eat and when you eat. Eat a diet of whole grains, vegetables and fruits and good quality fats and proteins.
As said previously, eating high sugar and high refined carbohydrates foods will most likely cause problems with fatigue.
Opt to combine your carbohydrates with protein and high fibre foods. Inclusion of protein and fibre will help to slow down those fatigue episodes.
Also, be mindful of the times you eat.
Make sure you eat at regular times of the day.
Opt to eat small meals regularly instead of eating large meals once or twice a day.
Eating small and regular shouldn’t allow hunger to set in and will help to conserve energy levels.
Establish a healthy bedtime routine and avoid staying up too late. If possible, try to aim to wind down at the same time daily.
Try to adopt a similar routine if you work shift patterns.
For example,if you tend to sleep four hours after you return home from work. Try to stick to this time frame with each shift pattern. And make sure to sleep in a dark room if you need to sleep during the daytime.
Cut back on your alcohol intake.
Boredom can be a reason for fatigue. It’s important to keep your mind and body active. Think about taking up a new hobby.
I’m Cheryl. I’m on a quest to help and share what I’ve learnt about nutrition, yoga, autoimmune disease, hormones and joint disease.
I’m a sufferer of the above diseases and have used yoga and nutrition to manage my illnesses. Success with my health led me to become a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher.