You’re not alone.
Many of us battle fatigue on a regular basis. If that’s you, you may be finding your fatigue’s now running on overdrive. If you’ve been blessed to not have much, if any, fatigue, you may now find yourself questioning, “Why am I so tired?”
While we know fatigue can be a sign of illness, before you freak out, check for other symptoms. Do you have a cough, fever, difficulty breathing? While you may still be a carrier or simply not showing symptoms yet, fatigue alone is not necessary a cause for concern regarding covid-19.
It is a cause for concern if you have a life to live.
I have two awesome surprises for you at the end!!! You’re not going to want to miss these. Here’s a hint…
One’s insanely delicious and one is insanely helpful with fatigue
Ok, I know. That was two hints. That’s how much I love you ????
What is fatigue? How much is too much?
The dictionary states: ‘extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.’ Fatigue after known exertion is normal and not what we’re talking about.
I’m talking about:
- Tired upon waking in the morning
- Tired with seemingly no cause
- Extreme mental fog/shutdown
- Confusion and/or memory issues
- If extreme, you may almost feel drunk or drugged at times
- Too tired to keep up with normal daily activities
Now let’s explore some causes of fatigue.
- Allergies, including food allergies
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Lung, Kidney or Liver disease
- Sleep disorder
- Inadequate nutrition
- Too much caffeine
- Heart disease
- SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Autoimmune disorders
Quite an extensive list, huh? And that doesn’t even include undiagnosed fatigue, like my own. I have certainly experienced fatigue due to allergies, especially undiagnosed food allergies, depression, anxiety, SAD. There are times though, when those things don’t seem to be relevant. I often feel that I and my doctors are missing something.
I’d like you to take a moment to really think through what may be contributing to your energy sap. Brainstorm. Write it down. Maybe there are some knowns, like diagnoses and maybe there are some speculations. Write it all down.
This is a crucial step because it’ll help you figure out how best to meet your body’s needs. If you have a diagnoses, you’re hopefully working with a doctor and have some tools to help. If the tools that sometimes help are failing you, it’s time to step it up.
Rather than trying this, then that, let’s go at it full force. When you look over your list of known or suspected causes, you’ll find there’s actually a lot you can affect. I’ll use my own known and suspected culprits to illustrate.
The things I can affect are…
- Take a daily antihistamine
- Keep the house extra clean to minimize allergens
- Keep the cat off the furniture and keep her brushed
- Eat a well-balanced, organic diet for jam-packed nutrition
- Avoid all processed foods. They’re just bad, bad, bad. But also, when I experience fatigue after eating, it’s always some sort of processed food.
Depression / Anxiety
- Meditate daily
- Exercise daily, even if just a few minutes
- Practice mindfulness / staying in the present
- Engage daily in activities I enjoy for no reason other than to have fun
- Don’t read news first thing in the morning or before bed
- Stay connected with family and friends via Zoom and phone calls
- Stare out the window- I have a beautiful view
- Listen to the birds sing
- Listen to calming piano music
- Eat a balanced, nutrient dense diet
- Avoid/mitigate caffeine and sugars with cause me to crash
SAD – I am in Montana where it’s just lovely. I really struggle with SAD when I’m in North Carolina because it rains so much and the sky can be featureless sheets of grey for a week or more at a time. When I’m struggling, here’s what I do
- Allow for extra sleep at night
- Plan for a daytime nap or two
- Indulge in a bit more TV
- Stay well hydrated
- Double down on nutrition
- Eat healthy fats (nuts, avocado, fat bombs) when I’m especially slumped
- Take advantage of momentary appearances by the sun and sunbathe as much as the temperature allows. Even if it’s cold, I’ll pull up my sleeves and pants legs and lay on the picnic table longer than I feel I can tolerate the cold. That boost of Vitamin D is the single best fix for SAD!
- Take Vitamin D supplements of 5000 IUs, which is more than the recommended daily allowance.
Just reading this list makes me feel empowered!!! There is so much I can do to help myself feel better!
Could Your Emotions Be the Cause?
Emotions are the one thing not mentioned above and they are far more powerful than you may realize. I recently had a revelation that kinda stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder why I’m just now figuring this out.
I am in Montana and my husband happened to be visiting family in North Carolina when all this pandemic fallout went down. I was supposed to join him but as I’m a potentially high risk, I deemed it too dangerous to travel. We’ve been apart for nearly two months and have no idea when we’ll see each other.
Needless to say, I’m stressed. Typically, irritatingly, my first symptom of anxiety is insomnia. Which leads to extreme daytime fatigue, which leads to depression and overeating, which leads to more fatigue. As exhausted as I am by the end of the day, I’m sure I’ll sleep like a baby. But oh, no. Anxiety keeps time and cranks up to overdrive between midnight and 5 a.m.
A couple weeks ago, I’ve found myself sucked into that dreadful cycle for days. Then I had a heart to heart with a friend. Once I opened up, I realized I’d been harboring some angst I hadn’t been aware of. We talked for hours. I slept like a baby.
Jump ahead a week or so and I’d fallen into the cycle again. After a few days, I started having bad dreams in which I was angry. I talked about what my dreams might mean. It led to another heart to heart, discovering yet more buried feelings I hadn’t been aware of. I slept like a baby.
I shouldn’t be surprised. As a wellness and trauma recovery coach, I understand well how our emotions and past experiences affect our day to day lives. My husband and I have made a pact to talk extensively every time I experience insomnia. The day after we talk, I’m a bundle of energy (for me, anyways) and accomplish amazing and impossible things- you know, what a normal person might accomplish on a normal day- but that’s nearly unheard of for me.
Hey there, ready for those two gifts I mentioned? Here they are…
Gift Number 1
This dish was inspired by a cafe here in Bozeman. My family has put our own twists to it and it’s now a staple for us. It’s great for any meal. We especially love it for breakfast because it’s so full of protein and healthy fat, it’s satiating well into or even past lunchtime.
Greek Breakfast Bowl
2 eggs, fried to your preference
1 – 2 Handfuls of arugula
5-6 kalamata olives
4 slices of tomato or 5-6 grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
A couple tbsp of feta or goat cheese
Arrange a bed of fresh arugula and top with eggs, kalamata olives, feta or goat cheese, pan wilted or fresh tomato slices.
NOTE: Technically, the egg should be over easy or sunny side up because the runny yolk becomes a dressing for the salad. I don’t like a runny egg, so use hard fried eggs cut into bite-sized pieces. To keep the salad from being dry, I’ll add a drizzle of olive oil.
VARIATIONS: Experiment with other favorite vegetables; or avocado or quinoa; or spinach instead of arugula; or boiled egg or soft scrambled rather than fried; use a drizzle of olive oil, Pesto Olive Oil, Garlic Olive Oil, etc.
Gift Number 2
How Can You Avoid or Minimize Your Fatigue?
I have created a super helpful gift for you! This is the process I have used again and again with amazing results. From a few gently lifestyle tweaks to some introspection, this process will have you feeling better before you know it. Click Self-Care and Fatigue Management Plan for Covid-19 to download your free gift!
There’s one caveat. Be gentle. Go easy. Your body and your mind are dealing with so, so much right now from past baggage to health struggles to a pandemic.
With compassion, patience, empathy and love, you can move mountains. And beat fatigue.
*I am not a dietitian or medical professional. Please exercise caution and common sense when switching up your diet, supplements and/or beginning a new exercise routine. Only you know you! Please contact your health care provider with any questions.