When you have a busy schedule ahead and responsibilities to fulfill, it’s important to have the energy to make it through your day. Getting enough quality sleep is the first priority for boosting and maintaining energy levels, as well as addressing and treating any underlying physical or mental illnesses that may be contributing to fatigue, but if you’ve been in good health and sleep well most nights, yet still feel tired during the day, be aware of these hidden causes of fatigue and the changes you can make to feel more energetic and alert.
If you’ve ever been ill with a bout of gastroenteritis or the flu and experienced dehydration, then you know how weak and tired your body can feel when it’s depleted of fluids.
Under normal circumstances, our bodies don’t reach the levels of dehydration we would experience during illness, but we can encounter milder forms of dehydration, like when we’re caught up with a busy schedule and forget to take breaks to hydrate.
Mild dehydration can contribute to feelings of tiredness, so be aware of signs that your hydration levels may need a boost, like experiencing dry lips or skin, unexplained headaches and muscle aches, and noticing concentrated, dark urine. Experiment with increasing your water intake and see how it affects your energy levels.
Breathing is an automatic function of our bodies that we don’t give much thought to, but our breathing patterns can influence our day to day function and energy levels.
Chronic hyperventilation syndrome is a condition, often caused by stress, in which shallow, rapid breathing causes a myriad of symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, headaches and anxiety.
Being more aware of your breathing and whether you hold your breath, breathe quickly or take shallow, irregular breaths is important. With conscious effort, over time you can learn to breathe more effectively, taking care to slow down your breathing rate. Learning stress management and coping skills can also lessen the over-breathing response to stress.
Food is fuel, so if you want to function at your best, you need to supply your brain and body with the right nutrition to keep your engines going.
You may have noticed that when you feel hungry, you also start to feel irritable, down, sluggish or have trouble concentrating. Taking too long to eat or skipping meals all together contributes to feelings of tiredness.
On the other end of the spectrum, over eating and large meals full of heavy, fatty, or simple sugar-rich foods can also make you feel sluggish for hours after.
Aim to eat when you’re feeling hungry but not starving to the point of fatigue, and choose foods that help you to feel light, focused, and provide you with steady energy throughout your day.
If you’ve been feeling tired, be cautious of overusing energy-boosting stimulants like caffeine. These can give you a temporary boost of energy but can prevent you from addressing the underlying causes of fatigue if you become too dependent on them for energy.
We all know that physical exertion makes us feel tired, but emotional exertion produces fatigue too. Think about how drained you can feel after having a fight with a loved one, dealing with a difficult client, or listening to a friend who has been going through problems.
It’s important to be aware of when emotional exhaustion is contributing to your feelings of tiredness because the approach to recharging emotionally is different to what is needed to recharge physically.
Try to identify where your biggest emotional drains come from and minimize them where possible, while making sure that you’re taking regular time to engage in activities you enjoy and spend time with people who give you an emotional energy boost.