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10 Ways to Beat Fatigue

October 5, 2010 by  

10 Ways to Beat Fatigue

Each day more than 2 million Americans complain of feeling fatigue in addition to the 4 million who have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. With this chronic tiredness often comes lack of focus, feelings of being overwhelmed, flu-like symptoms, memory loss, chronic aches and pains, restless sleep, short temper and even depression.

While many people accept their tiredness as part and parcel of their daily lives, it needn’t be the standard way of life. Yes, we are more overworked and under more stress than ever, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

The following 10 lifestyle changes can make all the difference over time, if embraced as a new lifestyle approach to wellness.

1. Eat four to six times per day — In the past 10 years the idea of ditching the “three square meals a day” plan has proven successful. In its place is the three-hour diet, or eating something every three to four hours. Eating more frequently prevents one from overeating at one sitting, which zaps energy and retards digestion. Eating smaller meals more frequently also helps sustain a steady level of energy throughout the day, which helps avoid the “two o’clock crash.” 

2. Consume energy-giving foods — While eating more frequently is a great way to stay energized, eating the wrong foods over and over will take the wind right out of you. To get the best energy results from food it is important to eat plenty of fiber, which helps clean fats from blood and create bulk to move stools — this frees up energy in the body. Consuming complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads, seeds and pasta provides glucose for brainpower and sustained fuel for physical energy. Eating lean protein also adds fuel for the body. And where carbohydrates are fast-burning (instant energy) fuel, proteins provide slower burning (continuous energy) for the day. Drinking plenty of filtered or distilled water keeps the body hydrated, helps move toxins from the body and aids the kidneys.

3. Avoid energy-sapping foods — Food is certainly the main source of energy for us humans, but consuming the wrong types of food can drain and waste energy faster than we want it to. The basic idea is to avoid all foods that create an instant energy rush as a sudden energy crash is soon to follow. Energy-zapping foods include caffeine, soda, coffee, chocolate, sugar and simple carbohydrates like white bread, rice and potatoes. The energy derived from such foods is fast to come and go, is harassing to the metabolism and wreaks havoc with one’s energy. In short, they cause fatigue.

4. Exercise 30 minutes per day — While it may seem counterintuitive, exercising each day creates more energy in the body. It requires energy to exercise, and the result of exercise in increased energy. Exercise creates feelings of wellbeing because one is able to let off steam, get out anger, move the blood, sweat out toxins and help the body release chemicals like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. And mixing up the daily routine between running, walking, weight training and aerobics keep things interesting and fun.

5. Compartmentalize your time — One of the main reasons people feel overworked, stressed out and unhappy is because they do not prioritize their time. They often feel a greater obligation to their job than to their family, themselves or their friends. This is draining physically, spiritually and emotionally and can lead to an unpleasant home life. The key to maintaining harmony and prevent burnout is to set time each day for work, family, social occasions and for your own quiet time. All of these areas need to be met to maintain a whole life that is full of love, happiness and energy.

6. Derail the burnout — There are times when taking time for yourself or leaving the office on time is not an option. In these cases, where burnout and fatigue can just drain you dry, you must derail the freight train and create energizing blocks of minutes. A few suggestions include standing up and doing jumping jacks, walking a few laps around the building or parking lot, talking to someone in the office or on the phone who makes you laugh, splashing cold water on your face and taking some deep breaths.

7. Break the stress each night — It is important not to allow stress to grip you firmly all day and night. This leads to too much tension in the body, which takes up energy. Engaging in deep breathing, taking yoga or Pilates, watching sports or listening to music you enjoy are easy things you can do to relax and break the stress. Above all, it is important not to go to bed and then wake up stressed out or you will have a very difficult time waking up and making it through the day.

8. Cut out the cancer — In this sense, “cancer” is any person, place or thing that is in your life that saps your energy and spirit. If you don’t remove these things, then your energy will be drained each day. You know those friends or co-workers who expect too much from you and always ask too much of your time? Set clear boundaries and don’t allow them instant access to you or your time. Does your email fill up too fast? There is no reason to read and answer every correspondence right away. Create email folders and prioritize which ones you read and respond to, and when. Don’t allow work to interfere with personal time. Pay bills on time. Avoid unnecessary arguments. Let go of old grudges. All of these tips will cut out the old and free up stores of energy that have needlessly been wasted and made you tired and fatigued.

9. Set your sleep/wake cycle — The power of restorative rest and sleep is one of the most essential things one can do for rejuvenating the mind and body. Many people feel overly tired even at the start of each day because their sleep is not restful. They work late into the evening, lie awake in bed worrying and often awake after only a few hours of deep REM sleep. To be energized while also repairing your muscles and tissues, setting a firm bedtime and wake-up time is essential. Sleeping from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is said to be the best time for our body clocks.

10. Express love and gratitude — One of the easiest ways to free up energy and reduce stress and fatigue is to express your love and gratitude as often as possible. Each day you can tell those around you how grateful you are for their help, work, friendship, etc. You can tell your spouse or children or parents how much you love them. Acting with love and feeling grateful for even the smallest of things makes life worth living. And with purpose to each day and gratitude for the work we do, it seems less a burden. When life burdens and we thank it for the lessons or experience we are less apt to become overwhelmed, cranky and resentful… and without these, we have more energy available for living life to its fullest.

 — Dr. Mark Wiley

Jeffrey R. Matthews

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  • Fed Up Gal in NM

    Yawn…….I’m gonna get right on it….tomorrow :-).

    All kidding aside; very interesting article Dr Wiley; thanks for another helpful read.

  • TIME

    Doc, Good blog with many very good points.

  • Donald R. Megerle

    Great bog Dr. Mark…especially #8 and #10!!! Keep up the helpful health tips!

  • http://www.agelessathletics.com Steve

    Another well-written and intriguing article. I always appreciate reading your writing style. However, when it comes to Lifestyle Change number 1 there is considerable new research studies that indicate the need for regular fasting. While some would argue that eating several small meals per day will help maintain a higher metabolic rate (hence, less “fatigue”), it also increases insulin. Insulin, as you know, is a very beneficial hormone, however, it can also be a very deadly hormone. That is, when any cell in the body is “bathed” in insulin, that cell will become cancerous. Recent studies have shown that this may the primary contributing factor to the increase in cancer in the Western world. Fasting has always been a way of life for virtually every religion thoughout the world. It was not only for the purpose of worshipful expression, but also for the purpose of “cleansing” and disease control. Thanks, and keep up the great work! Steve

  • Bob Wire

    I’ve found these habits most rewarding and you will too if you are not using them.

    When you are young, it seems you are bullet proof. ~ But the truth is ~ you are just “numb” and not in touch with your body.

    Good habit early is an investment in your later years.

    I bury a friend every few months it seems and have people 20 younger then I coming down with all sorts of affections both known and unknown to man.

    ” getting old ain’t for sissy’s”

    Betty Davis

  • JCO

    HELLO DR WILEY. I AGREE WITH MOST OF THE INFO, BUT I CAN NOT AGREE WITH PROCESSESD FOOD. LIKE PASTA, BREAD OF ANY KIND. I AM 64 YEARS OLD. I WAS IN A RUT, ABOUT 5 YEARS AGO, AND COULD NOT GET OFF MY BUTT. I RECEIVED HELP FROM AN OLD DR, WHO TOLD ME TO EAT MEAT, WITH FAT, FRUIT AND VEGGIES. I CHEAT OCCASIONALLY, BUT TRY TO STICK TO THE DIET. NOW I WORK ALL DAY, ON MY 7 ACRES. TAKING CARE OF CHICKENS, GEESE, GOATS, HORSE, AND 4 DOGS. I LOST 30#, AND THANK GOD, I AM ABLE TO KEEP UP. I ALSO ADDED SOME VITIMINS, LIKE STANDARD PROCESS PROLAMINE IODINE. MY BP WAS 220/120 5 YEARS AGO. I REFUSE TO TAKE DRUGS, AND AM UNDER THE IMPRESSION, THE DRUG CO. CONTINUES TO LOWER THE NORM FOR BP, TO SELL MORE DRUGS. I AM NOT ON ANY DRUGS, AND MY BP IS 160/85. I HOPE MORE PEOPLE WILL LEARN ABOUT WHAT THEIR BODIES NEED, AND NOT JUST SATISFY THEIR TASTE BUDS. WHEN IT COMES TIME TO STAND UP FOR THE US, IF EVERYBODY CONTINUS TO EAT BAD FOOD, THEY WILL BE BEATEN, BECAUSE THEY CAN NOT GET UP. I PRAY PEOPLE WILL REFUSE TO EAT CORN, SOY, CANOLA OIL, FISH FROM THE GULF OR ATLANTIC, FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS, AND ANY GM PRODUCTS. SOMEONE IS TRYING TO WIPE US OUT WITH BAD FOOD. THANKS

  • Vigilant

    Watch out! Wouldn’t surprise me if the “10 Lifestyle Changes” become the next government-mandated program.

    Only need two things: (1) get off your backside and engage in a little-known thing called “physical labor” every day, and (2) eat the way your (grand) mother told you to eat.

  • guyb

    America is full of fast food outlets and other killer foods.In America, we just need to learn to eat fruit and veggies and drink more clean water and get rid of fast food and sodas.It takes about six weeks to change a bad habbit.

  • Pete

    This is probably the best article of this type I’ve ever read. Usually there is a lot of feel-good mumbo jumbo and I really appreciate the focus on both exercise and and letting go of the daily cancers, or poisons as I usually refer to them. Handle too much poison on a daily basis and no matter how carefully you do it, some starts to seep into your life.

  • http://www.IONWAYS.COM/JADCO John Patterson

    Thank you Dr. Recently, my wife was diagnosised with High Cholestral. We tried to change our Diet a little and take supplements to lower the Chol count to our Dr recommended number. 2 more Dr visits didn’t work. Facing taking a drug, Lipitor, we decided to do research such as you have done and in doing so found a book called “Engine 2 Diet” Author is Ric Esselstyn. Ric is a world class Tri athelete and has won the Ironman Triathelone in Hawaii at the age of 36. In the book he gives you a 28 day diet that is in detail day by day with recipes and shopping lists. WE MADE THE COMMITMENT TO GO 28 DAYS, we did it and I lost 26 lbs. My wife lost 8 lbs. We don’t know her Chol score because her next Dr appt is in 2 months. We also now drink only Ionized Water. We both now feel great with more energy and plan to continue most of the NEW EATING HABITS for the rest of our lives. By the way, did I say the Author is using Vegetarian and Vegan for the 28 day period and some of the used this method lost as many as 70 or more points on their Chol score, even reaching the recommended total Chol score of 150 or lower. After they achieve that score, he recommends re-introducing fish(salmon & others)plus some skinless poultry; but never no ham or beef and NO prepared meats like hot dogs, lunchmeats or on the poultry side, KFC and the likes.

  • http://www.personalliberty.com/alternative-medicine/10-waysto-beat-fatigue/ Brent

    Thank You for some really good information.There is a lot of bad information out there thanks for the good advice. One thing I disagreed with was the way to get Carbs and processed foods like pasta and bread are not say a good choice. There are other choices to make that are better than the processed foods. That is what is harming the body.We need to get back to the natural foods!Things like preservatives,additives,food colorings and so on are what is killing the body.But the things that man has not added any thing to an you will be doing your body a real favor!
    Sincerely Brent R.

  • http://laketaupocyclechallenge.blogspot.com/ terry

    Exercise is bad for me. I went for a cycle ride yesterday and today I feel bushed. I suppose I overdid it a bit as it was actually a cycle race of twenty kilometres and all were old enouogh to be my children, grand children and even greatgrand children. I am eighty one. the average speed was 26.5 kph. So maybe I won’t exercise today if that’s what it does to me.

  • Raggs

    The cure all solution is…..

    Remove all of the communist democrats and republicans.
    I think we would all sleep a little better.

  • PissMilkShake

    Very good advice. I might add that you should determine if you are actually getting good sleep. Many people have problems with allergies, apnea, or asthma which makes sleep off and on during the night. They are fighting for oxygen all night long. They may be in bed ten hours but they “sleep” less than three. Very common for the 30 plus ages. Sorry, your stamina is related to your age which is related to the quality of your sleep which is limited by oxygen levels.

    Most americans do not get enough physical work. Most hate physical effort. That has a lot to do with the country’s plight and health.

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