5 Ways to Counter Fatigue and Boost Energy
Feeling tired? Richmond Natural Medicine’s Nutritionist Lindsay Kluge shares helpful lifestyle tips that are sure to counter fatigue and boost energy.
If you’re having a hard time making it through the day, sleeping through the night, or waking up in the morning, you’re likely to experience fatigue and low energy on a daily basis. There are several physiological factors that go into our energy production including hormone balance, dietary inputs and environment factors, and finding the “weak link” in your daily life might pose clues as to why you’re experiencing fatigue. As a holistic practitioner, I often encourage my patients to focus on lifestyle factors before resorting to medications or supplements.
Take a look at 5 areas in particular to counter fatigue and increase energy before supplementing with over the counter supplements or medication:
- Balance your Circadian Rhythm. If you have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, or have an afternoon slump in energy, or can’t fall asleep at night, you might be having some imbalance in your circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm in your body’s 24 hour internal clock that modulates your sleep wake cycle, and is influenced by an orchestra of hormones and environmental factors. Cortisol is a major endocrine hormone that not only is responsible for your stress response, it is also one one of the major hormone modulators of your circadian rhythm. When you feel constantly tired or lack energy throughout the day, you may want to consider having your cortisol levels checked, but more importantly, pay attention to how your struggling with your circadian rhythm. Things like maintaining consistent meal times, waking with the sun and dimming the lights before bed, and avoiding computer and TV screens at night all help to balance your circadian rhythm, thereby supporting your cortisol (stress) levels.
- Cut back on the caffeine. There’s nothing wrong with a morning cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, however when consumed in excess, and especially too late in the afternoon, caffeine can put unnecessary strain on your adrenal glands and tax your cortisol supplies. This goes back to supporting your circadian rhythm, and using the cortisol you have sparingly. It’s not “normal” for your body to constantly be jolted by caffeine, and this unnatural push for more and more quick energy burns out the adrenals quickly, leading to chronic low energy over time.
- Practice meditation or mindfulness breathing. Taking full, deep breaths truly does help to re-set and calm the nervous system which can become over-burdened and heightened with too much stress. Stress is exhausting and very taxing to the body, and taking moments throughout the day to breath deeply to support your nervous system will help decrease the fatigue experienced by those with a higher than normal stress level. Take a deep breath at every red light while driving, while you’re brushing your teeth, every time you get a new email in your inbox…have signals to remind yourself to do this during the day.
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes per day. Your body needs to move and stay flexible or it will become brittle and “break” more easily. By moving your body through walking, yoga, weight lifting or resistance training, the body’s circulatory and lymphatic system will be engaged and active. Interestingly, the more active and physically fit you are, the more energy you will ultimately have throughout the day. The more sluggish you become, the weaker and more fatigued the muscles and joints become.
- Decrease processed carbohydrates. Processed carbohydrates in the form of breads, cereals, bagels, pizza etc. often give us instant energy due to their transformation of sugars in the body, but the energy is short lived, often leading to an energy crash shortly after eating. This massive fluctuation in the body is disruptive not only to the digestive tract, but to the circadian rhythm and cortisol function as well. Rather than snack on processed carbs, try eating colorful whole fruits and vegetables or healthy protein sources such as nut butter balls, carrots sticks with hummus or even a boiled egg for a more sustainable pick-me-up during the day.
About the Author:
Lindsay Kluge is a Clinical Herbalist & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and received her Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health in 2012. She has been with Richmond Natural Medicine since 2013, and specializes in therapeutic holistic nutrition, circadian rhythm balance and sleep physiology, digestion, and Ayurvedic nutrition. She offers individualized nutrition and herbal medicine consultations that include meal planning support, custom compounded herbal formulas, nutrition guidance and general wellness support. Learn more about services that Lindsay offers at Richmond Natural Medicine by clicking HERE.