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When Anil (my spouse) and I were in our 20s, we felt like we were tired to the bone. Anil would go to work (he worked as a software engineer) and then come back and pursue his entrepreneurial hustle. I would go to work and spend several more hours in class or at home, doing b-school homework. Fast forward several years later, and we were REALLY in the thick of it, with a baby and toddler added into the mix. We were definitely burning the candle at both ends.

Over the years, I’ve learned to pay close attention to the different types of tired. The newborn baby tired. The looming work deliverable deadline tired. The holiday season tired. The friend going through a divorce tired. It’s all taxing and real. However, chronic fatigue is not something that should be ignored and there are a few simple steps you can take to get your energy back:

  1. Get your Vitamin D, B12, thyroid (TSH, T3, and T4) and iron levels checked. When’s the last time your primary care provider ran some bloodwork on you? If you feel tired all the time (not just after a late night out or extra hours at work), your first step is to make sure your body isn’t lacking basic vitamins and nutrients. Industrial agriculture has resulted in less nutrients in our soil, which in turn results in less nutrition going into our bodies. To exacerbate the situation, the average American diet simply doesn’t include the types of foods that truly nourish our bodies. Knowing what we’re lacking can be a first and powerful step to giving our bodies what we truly need.
  2. Be mindful of caffeine. Everyone I know drinks coffee. My spouse drinks coffee. I used to drink a cup or two a day and then stopped cold turkey about two years ago. Coffee and caffeine in general are not evil. Coffee is a potent source of antioxidants and supports brain health, heart health, and protects against a host of other diseases and health issues such as type 2 diabetes. The potential problem with caffeine is that it raises cortisol levels and when these are already high, you risk stressing the adrenal glands. This can lead to poor immune function and damage your endocrine, neurological, and cardiovascular systems. No bueno. If you can’t live without your morning cup of coffee, try adding hemp oil, coconut oil, or another healthy fat to it as this will help you feel more satiated. I also recommend eating breakfast first before drinking coffee to help balance some of the cortisol spike effects. Caffeine may give you an energy boost, but can also interfere with deep sleep (even if you don’t notice it) if you consume it too late in the afternoon.
  3. Go for a walk! Proper exercise might just be the best way to ensure you’re tired at night and energetic in the morning. For me, it’s really difficult not to be tired at night after an intense daytime run. The early bedtime ensures I’m energetic and rested the next morning. New to exercise or just not there yet? No problem. Try going for a walk and try getting some sunshine in. I’ve done my share of walk-and-talk outdoor meetings when working in corporate and it does wonders for your energy levels. I find that getting some exercise first thing in the morning works best for my energy throughout the day. Pick something you enjoy and just start!
  4. Hydrate. You already know that you should be drinking enough water, but how much exactly is enough? As a rule of thumb, I like to take my body weight in pounds, divide it by half, and drink that number in ounces each day. The quality of your water matters as well and is worth an entire post by itself. The water we drink at home is reverse osmosis purified, so that the majority of chlorine, fluoride, and other unwanted chemicals are filtered out. On heavy exercise days, I like to add electrolytes. I’m still in search of the cleanest one, but I like drink LMNT and Nectar so far. I’ll often make my own adrenal cocktail as well, which is loaded with natural electrolytes.
  5. Eat enough. In today’s diet culture, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of skipping meals or starving yourself with the belief that it will make you healthier. Sure, reducing portion sizes and eating less food overall is the easiest way to lose weight, but it can wreak havoc on your hormones, which won’t do your body any favors in the long run. Snacking mindlessly is one thing, but eating when your body truly needs food is different. Through my training, I’ve learned to discern the difference between emotional eating (“I need crackers because I’m bored!”) and true hunger (“I just ran seven miles and my body needs to replenish itself”). Nourishment is another aspect of eating to focus on. Are you optimizing each meal for maximum nutrition? One of my favorite meals / snacks is a no-cook granola and yogurt bowl.

Need more help with optimizing your nutrition and exercise so you can get your energy back? Check out my Programs section to learn more!

 

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