It seems we’re all tired, all the time these days. Fatigue is a byproduct of so many factors in our lives, and many of us float along unknowing of what is causing our drowsiness. Most will flock to vending machines, coffee pots, or the nearest Starbucks to ward off the de-habilitating feeling and increase production—but this caffeine fix is usually a temporary solution that concludes with a crash or jitters that leave us even more ineffective at work. Because of this, it is important to understand ways in which we can fight fatigue naturally to increase energy levels without a chemical dependence.
Drink more water: Believe it or not, the amount of water you drink can drastically affect your energy levels. Many of us suffer from dehydration without knowing it. If you are thirsty, you’re likely already dehydrated—so try and get the recommended 8 cups at 8oz, and probably more if you are a highly active individual. Replacing sugary beverage intake with water to prevent blood sugar spikes, which usually conclude with a energy-zapping crash. Drinking more water also curbs some food cravings—including fatty and greasy foods, which also cause fatigue.
Exercise regularly: Though it may seem counterintuitive, exercising regularly actually boosts energy levels rather than depleting them, particularly when you incorporate low-impact workouts that involve stretching, such as Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi. Exercise reduces stress, which is a serious cause of fatigue. Higher-intensity exercise and cardio also reduce stress, providing an outlet for frustrations and releasing happy hormones called endorphins—which also fights off fatigue
Adapt a regular sleeping pattern: Oftentimes, fatigue results from inconsistent sleeping patterns, or not getting enough sleep at all. Your body is programmed to detect patterns in your sleep, and commit to a “clock” that regulates your energy levels. Your eating patterns also differ when you are on an inconsistent sleeping schedule—causing to fluctuations in blood sugar that could lead to crashes. Going to sleep and waking up at regular times every day will help you avoid this, and prevent fatigue during the day.
Adjust your diet: What you eat has a serious bearing on what your energy levels are like throughout the day. Eating large amounts of fatty, greasy foods will leave you with that heavy feeling in your stomach, and make you sleepy. As mentioned, eating foods stocked with a high amount of sugar will spike glucose levels—which will lead to a crash, and fatigue. Eating too much food in general will make you feel sleepy (think of the Thanksgiving lull). The best approach, then, is to eat a balanced, healthy diet low in junk food. It is even better if you avoid large meals, and opt for more frequent, smaller meals during the day. This will better regulate blood sugar, and keep you from overindulging due to increased hunger between meals.
There are, of course, other ways you can fight fatigue naturally—including changing your surroundings to emulate brighter colors, using aromatherapy to stimulate the senses, looking into natural supplements, or drinking teas that are of lower caffeine content with other great health benefits. Just remember that if you understand what causes your fatigue, that you will be in a better position to fight it—and it never has to require a chemical fix.