What Makes Me Feel So Tired? Fatigue Factors You Should Know.

It may not be quite at the epidemic level, but it’s pretty amazing how many Americans admit to feeling fatigued on a regular basis. We’re working harder than ever, running around to keep up with our busy, fast-paced lifestyles. According to ABC News, Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. Yet, we take fewer vacations and less time to rest. Fatigue affects us in so many ways, from performance at work to life at home with your family. Fatigue may also be keeping people from contributing more time to the Church and other activities where we may be called to use our God-given gifts. Simply put, fatigue affects our lives in every imaginable way. When you stop to consider why you may be feeling so tired all the time, a number of reasons may come to mind: “I just don’t get enough sleep.” “I work too many hours.” “My kids keep me on the run constantly.” These things obviously play a big part in why we feel fatigued. In fact, the four primary reasons why people feel fatigued are: poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and stress. But there’s more. Chances are, there may be some key aspects of your lifestyle that you never even imagined were affecting your energy level. You know you should be eating a balanced diet. You know you should be exercising regularly. You know you should be getting adequate sleep. You know you should be getting the nutrients you need through wholesome foods and multi-vitamin/mineral supplements. These are all very key steps in fighting fatigue. But let’s take a look at some other “fatigue factors,” to see if you can identify other areas of your life that may be having a negative effect on your energy level: • TV time: There’s nothing better than getting home from work and lounging in front of the TV for a while, right? Or maybe once you’ve put the kids to bed, you and your spouse enjoy “vegging out” in front of the television. Seems harmless enough… but have you ever considered how TV might be contributing to your fatigue level? Too many hours in front of the TV can drain us of energy, making us feel sluggish and fatigued. The average American spends three hours a day watching TV. Over time, that translates to nine years of one’s life! (Robert Kubey, Director, Center for Media Studies – Rutgers University) Minimize your TV time. Instead, why not engage in an activity that will stimulate your mind in a greater way? Read… enjoy a hobby… or just have an old-fashioned conversation with your spouse or a friend! Keep your mind active… and you’ll be surprised how your body will feel more energized. • Dealing with problems. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore your problems; or at least, to avoid dealing with them. The problem is, the more you ignore your problems, the more you end up worrying about them. When you procrastinate in addressing your problems, whatever their nature – a conflict with your spouse or family member, a situation at work – you tend to focus on them with more and more anxiety. This kind of anxiety also contributes to fatigue, zapping you of much-needed energy. It may be easier said than done – but when you deal with your problems instead of ignoring them, you end up with less anxiety draining you of much-needed energy. • Caffeine and alcohol. You’d be wise to reduce your use of these stimulants, because they give you a false feeling of energy, causing your body to experience a “spike and crash” syndrome. When you rely on stimulants for artificial energy, you may feel an initial boost… but it’s not long before you come crashing down into fatigue, feeling restless and jittery. This false energy is not a healthy choice. It’s important to find healthy ways to energize our bodies, to maintain optimal energy levels on an even keel throughout the day. Although caffeine and other stimulants are not a great a way to increase your daily energy, you may want to look into natural vitamins or supplements specifically geared towards increasing energy. • Stress and workload. Studies show that stress is often accompanied by fatigue… and being overloaded at work certainly contributes to your stress level. Take steps to balance your workload and to limit stress. It’s helpful in stressful situations to take deep breaths. The more in control you feel during stressful, overworked times, the less fatigued you’ll feel. When it comes to fighting fatigue, the important thing is to look at your overall lifestyle and see where you can make changes. Hopefully, you’re working on the all-important steps of eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting proper sleep, and consuming the vitamins and minerals you need. In addition to these key changes, dig a little deeper into your lifestyle habits and see if you can make some additional healthy changes like the ones mentioned above. Fighting fatigue successfully results in a more productive life at work and at home, helping you to feel more energetic and fulfilled!