Fatigue is one of the most common problems doctors are asked to treat. Complaints about exhaustion are likely to continue, given our busy schedules and many demands on our lives.
Yet despite the large number of people who feel tired day after day, fatigue is an unnatural state. Such fatigue does not occur in animals or children. When children and animals are tired, they rest and awaken renewed.
But adults have the ability to maneuver around their biological needs. They drive themselves resist the natural, biological cycle of alternating rest and activity and become depleted.
To banish common fatigue, we need to rediscover our basic harmony with nature. The secret of recovering our harmony can be found in a mind/body system of health, which is based on the understanding that your own mind/body system is inseparably connected to the systems of nature.
Watch what you eat
You can increase your energy by eating fresh, pure foods. By contrast, foods that lack freshness and are highly processed deplete the body of energy. Foods especially rich in natural energy include…
- Fresh fruits and lightly cooked vegetables.
- Wheat, rice, barley and other whole grains.
- Nonmeat sources of protein, such as dried beans. For those who balk at a vegetarian diet, fish and poultry are acceptable substitutes.
- Honey as a substitute for refined sugar. Foods that deplete energy and should be avoided include red meat, aged cheese, alcohol, coffee and smoked and canned foods. This does not mean you must completely avoid anything but energy-boosting foods. Any system that is too rigid will create further imbalance. Instead, experiment with these suggestions and notice what proportion makes a significant difference in your own energy level.
Strengthen your digestion
Poor digestion can sometimes lead to fatigue in two ways…
- Energy for the body is lost when food is not adequately metabolized.
- When food residue lingers undigested, impurities and toxins may accumulate, placing stress on the body. How to strengthen your digestion and boost your energy level.
- Create a calm atmosphere for dining. Instead of always working through lunch and watching TV during dinner, enjoy yourself and pay attention to your meal. Conversation is fine but avoid controversial subjects. When the body is accustomed to a routine, digestion will be automatic. So stick to regular mealtimes.
- Eat your biggest meal at lunch. Research indicates that this is the time when metabolism is most efficient.
- Sip warm water or herbal tea throughout the day to normalize the metabolic rate and eliminate toxins.
Helpful: Fill a thermos with warm water, which enhances digestion. Keep it nearby and take a few sips every half-hour.
Tension drains the body of energy, causing it to function less effectively.
Better: Make it a priority to spend time on relaxing activities. Everyone has favorite pastimes, and some of these can even take place during the work day.
Classic stress-relievers: Meditation, a massage, sex, a warm shower or bath, playing or listening to music and a change of scenery.
Exercise in moderation
Americans’ obsession with strenuous exercise is creating an epidemic of exhaustion. Pushing ourselves past what our bodies are naturally designed to handle results in long lasting fatigue.
Solution: For maximum energy, exercise seven days a week for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Some fitness experts recommend taking a day off between workouts but that’s because our average workouts are too strenuous. Instead, exercise daily, but to only 50% of your capacity.
Example: If you are able to swim 20 laps, only swim 10. You’ll feel energetic and over time, your capacity will increase.
Keeping natural rhythms
The body is most responsive to certain activities when they are performed at specific times of the day.
Before electric light was invented, our schedules were more in keeping with these natural rhythms under which our bodies evolved. Rediscovering them will help you feel energetic every day.
- Awaken between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Exercise in the morning or, if this isn’t possible, no later than three hours before bedtime.
- Eat lunch between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
- Eat dinner between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and wind down with restful activities afterward, such as going for a walk, reading, playing games with your family or listening to music.
- Go to bed between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. each night.
Helpful: If you try going to bed at 10 p.m. but find you have trouble falling asleep, don’t worry about it. Just rest quietly with your eyes closed. Clear your mind, and avoid dwelling on anything that is troubling you. Your body will get the rest it needs. Over time, you’ll gradually notice an increase in energy in the morning, and you’ll be able to fall asleep at the earlier hour.
Take pleasure in life
Joy is a natural energizer. If you’re having a good time, you’ll never be fatigued. In fact, studies have found that 80% of people suffering from chronic fatigue score higher than normal on measures of depression and anxiety.
Solution: Practice shifting your awareness to the positive. We can’t avoid negative events, but we don’t have to dwell on them.
Treat others with kindness, tolerance and love refuse to entertain negativity and pay attention to the joy and playfulness that can be found all around you. Learn to meditate to help you get in touch with nature and enable you to see these simple joys.
Exception to the rule
If you are bothered by persistent fatigue, have a thorough medical checkup to rule out a treatable physical cause such as anemia, thyroid problems or mononucleosis.