There is a lot of chatter online and in the media these days about “fatigue,” but there is an important omission in the message. Yes, we have busy lifestyles, often with ridiculously packed to-do lists and unrealistic expectations for how good we should look and perform at all times—you can identify, right?—but there is more to the story than your tight schedule. Getting a handle on the real, underlying cause of your fatigue gives you ways to resolve it and restore your vibrance.
Fatigue Can Be Medical
There is a condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome, which basically makes you feel completely exhausted, all the time, and unable to get relief. This syndrome has additional symptoms, including sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in armpits or neck, headache, muscle pain, joint pain that moves around, memory loss or lack of concentrate, and the inability to recover from exertion normally, even after sleep. If you have these additional symptoms along with fatigue, it is especially important to tell your doctor because fatigue can be a symptom of a condition that is more common to all women.
If you are not taking care of your body in the most basic ways, you will not feel right. Make sure these bases are covered:
Sleep: Research proves time and again that a good night’s sleep is critical to both your mental and physical health. While the exact amount of sleep required varies from person to person, if you are on a schedule where you are getting less than eight hours of sleep a night and not feeling well rested, that’s the place to start. It can be difficult to prioritize sleep when you are trying to fit a lot into your days, but if you are not well rested, you won’t be doing all of your other activities well—or enjoying them—so it’s time to let something else go and give your body the basic care it needs!
Nutrition: You don’t need to be told that eating good food is integral to good health, but we all get caught up in busy days and going with easy solutions often leads us to compromise on what we reach for when it’s time to eat. If your energy is low, start jotting down everything you eat for a couple for days, then look over the list. If you are seeing fast food replacing home cooked meals, then obviously, you can try to fit in more home cooking—but if you are eating at home, but consuming a lot of prepackaged frozen dinners, containing excess sodium, additives and preservatives, you may still have a nutrition problem.
After addressing medical and basic self-care causes for fatigue, it’s time to look at the most commonly overlooked cause—hormone imbalance. As a woman, your body goes through hormone changes with every phase of your life. After the age of 30, your reproductive system is starting to wind down. This is the beginning change that will culminate in menopause, when you are no longer physically able to conceive.
Most people think of menopause as something that happens when you hit 50, but that oversimplification has left women with a big knowledge gap when it comes to the natural cycles of their bodies. As you age, production of certain hormones drops, which results in an imbalance in the relationship of the various hormones in your system. Hormone replacement and substitutions can be dangerous, and most are untested, but there is a way to get your own body to balance your hormones.