You try your best to get enough sleep at night and try not to spread yourself too thin. So why are you so tired? There could be a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the most common culprits for your fatigue, and how you can take back your energy— and get through your day—without powering down.
It could be your diet. . .
One of the major causes of fatigue— and the vast majority of us don’t drink near enough water to get ourselves through a typical day of work, errands, and social time. Why? It makes your blood thicker, so it’s harder for your heart to pump blood. So it takes longer for your body to get the oxygen, nutrients, and energy it needs to function.
The solution: Drink more water! We recommend taking your body weight, halving that number, and using the result as a guide for how many ounces of water you should drink per day. For example, if you weigh 120 lbs, you should aim to drink at least 60 ounces of water a day!
You don’t need us to tell you not to eat too much junk food, but if you’re eating a lot of high-sugar, high-calorie foods for the sake of convenience, it’s going to be really inconvenient after a couple of hours. Junk food gives you a quick jolt of energy now, but a big crash later—which could make it even harder to bounce back and get your head back in the game.
The solution: High-protein snacks like nuts, dried fruit, or Greek-style yogurt.
Iron deficiency could be another reason why you’re so tired. Iron helps oxygen get to your cells and muscle systems, so too little of it leaves you feeling weak, fuzzy, and irritable.
The solution: spinach (and other dark green veggies), lean beef, eggs, tofu, and foods high in vitamin C [which helps your body metabolize iron] can help you boost your iron intake and absorption, which will definitely increase your energy levels.
Lack of Caffeine
Caffeine does give you energy– and up to 3 cups per day could be good for you (as long as it’s part of a balanced diet that includes good hydration). But more than that can throw off your metabolism, and your sleep cycle.
The solution: try to keep your caffeine intake a) to a minimum, and b) limited to early in the day. When you do enjoy your daily cup, try to keep it simple (rather than ordering a Frappuccino every morning) to keep your caloric intake under control.
It could be your outlook. . .
You may not realize that your outlook could make so much of a difference in how tired you are. Keep an eye out for these attitudes and mindsets that can really sap your energy:
Do you always assume the worst-case-scenario? Do you lay awake at night obsessing over what you didn’t get done today and everything you have to do tomorrow? You’re mentally exhausting yourself— and not helping yourself reach your goals.
The solution: Try ending your day focusing on things you have accomplished, things you are grateful for, and other positive interactions you had throughout the day. When planning out your to-dos, don’t make a giant list. Try listing 3 things per day that you know you can get done, and only add more when you have everything checked off.
Guess what— we hate to break it to you, but nobody’s perfect (including you)! Perfectionism puts tons of unnecessary pressure on our minds—and our bodies. Additionally, it is often a big contributor to anxiety, depression, and feelings of overwhelm. There’s no good reason to insist on perfection for yourself or others. And it’s absolutely okay to ask for help from family, friends, your partner, or your teammates when you feel like you’ve got too much on your plate.
The solution: Make sure your goals are measurable and attainable. Instead of judging yourself on perfection, recognize the effort you made, and what you did accomplish, in a given day.
Still, can’t figure out why you might be tired? Try making these simple changes to your routine and environment:
- Instead of skipping exercise when you’re tired, try low-impact exercise for 20 minutes.
- Instead of skipping breakfast, start your day with something carb-light, and protein or nutrient-rich.
- Instead of checking your email at all hours, leave your work at work.
- Instead of having a nightcap, leave a few hours between your last glass of wine and bedtime.
- Instead of burning the midnight oil, try going to bed earlier, and more regularly.
Even trying one of the strategies can make a big difference in your energy level and overall health. Which ones will you try this week?