3-Steps to Overcome Fatigue
Let’s talk fatigue. You know what I’m talking about. That tired that is beyond just sleepiness. You feel utterly exhausted. You can’t think straight. You’re so tired that the thought of doing more just stresses you out. You want nothing more than a vacation, a hot bath, a comfy bed, and to be left alone…maybe not in that order.
You tell yourself you’re going to bed early so you can rest your mind and body. But then life happens. Your kid has a “surprise project” that’s due tomorrow. Or you forgot you were going to pay some bills. Or you had a last-minute errand that popped up. Or, you caught that second wind and now you’re picking up the messes that lay around the house so that when you wake, it’s all put away. Or you haven’t sat down to watch a movie all week and one of your fave’s just came on…you’re snuggled up with your significant other and you don’t want to break the moment to go lay in bed.
And then when you finally get in bed all ready to snuggle in and get some goooood sleep, you just lay there. You can’t turn your mind off. You’re thinking about everything you didn’t get done today and everything you need to get done tomorrow. Sleep just won’t happen.
I hear ya sister! You are tired of being tired! This week, we talk 8 strategies you can work on to help get your groove back when it comes to sleep. Some will be easier than others…start where you can, not where I’ve laid them out. Let’s jump in.
I recently created a 14-page guide that goes over 8-steps. Today, we are going to discuss the top 3 things I see in my practice. The guide is 100% free and you can click here to download 🙂
Make you a priority
This is a difficult step but it is very important! We spend most of our adult lives taking care of other people. I especially see this with women. We make sure the house runs smooth, we work, we shuttle kids around, we balance the check books, we spend good ol’ Q-T with the significant other…BUT we leave no time for ourselves.
Sure, we may get an annual vacation, but who planned it? We may get a mani/pedi a couple of times a month, but does it go uninterrupted with no phone calls because you need to put out a fire? Not likely.
We don’t get enough “me” time. Daily me time is best but I understand how difficult it is to get in 5-minutes to yourself. So, shoot for weekly “me” time. You’ll be surprised what this does for your stress levels, which has a massive impact on our ability to sleep.
If you can, get a weekly mani/pedi but turn off the phone and let everyone know you aren’t to be disturbed. Call your friend…you know the one you’ve been meaning to chat with for weeks or months…and go have a glass of wine. Again, turn off the phone and let the fam know you aren’t to be disturbed. If they protest, show them the movie “Mommy Dearest” and walk away 😛
The point is, find some uninterrupted time for you! It doesn’t have to be for hours…5 minutes can do a lot to restore your spirit.
Another biggie! We can’t remove stress from our lives. We just can’t…not in the world we live in today. We have work and home commitments, and we’re constantly tied to a little handheld computer allowing anything and anyone to reach us at all hours of the day. We are on edge.
Just because you can’t remove the stress doesn’t mean you can’t help the body absorb the impact a bit better.
Stress is a nasty thing. The end game is that is causes more cortisol in the body than we need…this eventually causes some weight gain in the belly. It can halt weight loss, even if you’re doing everything right. It can also impact our heart health as well.
Aside from having your “me” time, you can do a few things to help the body absorb the blow.
Adaptogens help the body respond to the stress action better. Some are calming and some are stimulating so be careful which one you dive in to! Be careful though. If you’re taking meds, there could be interactions you need to consider.
A favorite of mine! Most people do a form of this without actually know they are doing it. Here’s how you do it:
- Close your eyes and place a hand on the belly and another on the chest. As you get better, you won’t need to put your hands there. The goal is the expand the belly and not the lungs so we are putting pressure on the diaphragm. Feeling what you’re doing with your hands helps out.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4.
- Hold for 2 seconds.
- Let the breath out through your nose for a count of 6.
- Rinse and repeat.
You can do this for 5 minutes or you can do this for 3-4 breaths at any point during the day.
We expand the diaphragm because the vagus nerve runs through the diaphragm. When we stimulate the vagus nerve we are sending the signal to the brain to calm down the “fight or flight” section of the nervous system and ramp up the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system.
This is a great exercise for people that don’t feel they are ready to commit to full on mediation…although this is a form of it.
Improve Sleep Quality
This would seem like an obvious one…since we are talking about fatigue. But this is actually one people tend to overlook. We have busy lives and we don’t want to get more sleep than we feel like we need.
Most people get 5 to 6 hours. Even though we wake up very tired and experience mental fatigue throughout the day, we feel like a champ because we’re functioning on a few hours of sleep. We may even boast to others how little sleep we can rock out on.
This isn’t enough. Aside from just feeling tired, lack of sleep affects the body in other ways as well. Realistically, we need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to function appropriately.
It can increase the level of cortisol that we have. Remember…this is linked to stress. Lack of sleep puts stress on the body. When we are stress, we have more cravings for foods that make us feel good (think sugary foods and dopamine…read my previous blog on sugar addiction).
We are also missing out on nutrient absorption and proper digestion. When we have a lack of sleep and the body is stressed, we are in “fight or flight” mode. We really want to be in “rest or digest” mode when we can.
Here’s some tips on improving your sleep quality:
- If you know what time you have to wake up in the morning, count back from that at least 8 hours.
- About 30 to 60 minutes before that time hits, shut off all electronics (phone, TV, tablets, computers, etc), and begin your bedtime routine. You can also read a book or magazine during this time…an actual paper book. Blue lights, even with the night time setting on the phone, can inhibit the release of melatonin in the body.
- When your time hits, get in bed. You may lay there for a bit in the beginning. This would be a great time to try belly breathing to help relax and calm the mind and body.
If you wake during the night, don’t reach for electronics. Try to go back to sleep. If at 30 minutes you’re still awake, head to another room and read in dim lights for a bit. When you’re ready, try sleeping again.
This will take time to get a hang of so be patient with the process and yourself. Start slow with a couple of nights a week and then increase it from there.
Pick one strategy and start working through it. When you feel like you’re ready to move to another or add on, then do that. The point is to not add stress to an already stressed body. We want to take away from that so we can ease the fatigue.
Don’t forget to grab your guide at the top by clicking here. You’ll enter you e-mail address and BAM! It’ll be in your inbox.
Have you tried any of these strategies and found they worked? Or do you have another one that worked really well for you? Share with us in the comments below!
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