Sluggish? Tired? I get tons of questions about how to fight fatigue. Especially with autoimmune disorders, people often wake up feeling fatigued each day. Waking up tired and worn out can be a defeating feeling, especially after what should be a restful nights sleep. Clearly we are all “supposed” to be getting our 8 hours of rest, cutting down on our stress, eating healthfully, working out….and the list goes on. But sometimes this whole life thing complicates even our best intentions and can hand us a little more than our bodies can take.
I certainly do not have all of the answers but I have made a few changes to help with fighting the fatigue and aches that can come along with pushing it too hard. I have described the fatigue I feel to doctors and friends with a simple analogy. Some days it just feels like I am walking through pudding. Weird? Maybe. But it’s the best way I can describe what I feel like when I get run down. Maybe it is the start of school, a busy home routine, work, or travel that is leaving you feeling less than stellar. If so, here are my Top Five Tips to put a little spring in your step on those days when you are fatigued!
1. If you do not feel up to a work out–you don’t have to push it…you just need to get moving.
Days when I wake up feeling beat, I definitely don’t feel like taking a huge run and sweating it out. If my hips or legs are aching, I aim for restorative exercise. I will unroll my yoga mat and throw on one of my favorite Yoga DVDs or run through a series of simple poses. (This sequence from Mind Body Green is one of my favorites!) I also LOVE to jump on my rebounder. I tell myself I can quit after 15 minutes if I feel bad…but I always end up feeling better!
2. Try to cut down on coffee
Counter-intuitive, maybe? People usually reach for the nearest cup o’ joe when it comes to waking up tired. However, when you are feeling sluggish, coffee can give you a jolt that just drops you off a few hours later, leaving you feeling much worse than before. I try to include plenty of Green Tea, Matcha, and lemon water in my day instead of coffee. Green tea and matcha give you a little caffeine boost that will not leave you jittery. If you are used to purchasing a latte or specialty beverage for a morning lift, try hitting your nearest health food store for a Kombucha Tea instead for a little twist on your morning routine.
3. Increase your greens
My favorite thing to eat when I feel sluggish and fatigued is a green shake or green soup. (Stay tuned for the green soup recipe later this week!) The soup is a smooth pureed green soup with lots of spinach and other veggies. It is nourishing and energizing. Any kind of soup (preferably not from a can if possible!) is great when you are tired–throw in a few hands full of fresh spinach or kale to really pump up your greens intake. In addition to shakes and soups, I try to have simple, home cooked meals like salmon or chicken with roasted veggies or salad.
4. Throw your feet up!
Laying in Viparita Karani aka Legs Up The Wall Pose is a restorative yoga pose that always gives me a boost. It helps the circulation of blood and lymph in the lower extremities and can really boost your energy after just a few minutes. I do not have a bolster at home as seen in the image, but I just throw my mat down, rest my legs up against the wall and sometimes roll a blanket or towel under my back. Put on a relaxing song and let gravity to its thing! (Here is a good how-to by Yoga Journal!!)
5. Hug Someone
Just saying to someone that you love…”I’m feeling really tired today” or “I’m pretty beat today” and then saying “Can I have a hug?”might make ALL the difference! A big hug can do wonders when you feel
whipped. Hugging someone you love releases oxytocin in your brain. Oxytocin (the ‘love’ chemical) is the chemical in the brain that makes people feel all “bubbly” when they fall in love or makes people do those crazy things like stay up all night chatting with your love and still go to work the next day on cloud nine! You know that feeling? Imagine…oxytocin is released in your brain just from a good squeeze! This awesome chemical can boost your immune system, improve your ability to fight infection and decrease feelings of sadness or loneliness. Even better? It even increases our pain thresholds! Woah. All from a hug!!
If you are still unsure of what is triggering your fatigue I encourage you to keep a journal for a week or two and write down how you feel in the morning when you wake and also at night time when you go to sleep. Keep track of how many hours you slept, if it was restful sleep and maybe a few notes about exercise and food on each day. Maybe you will see a pattern that might hint toward something triggering you!
Do you have any tips for relieving fatigue or actions that make you feel great? I would LOVE to hear from you below! Also don’t forget to say hello on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!