Do you regularly ask yourself, “why am I so tired”? It’s almost as if no matter what you do, you’re still tired. This is because our energy levels are impacted by several different factors, such as mood, stress, burnout, irregular sleep patterns, poor diet, and inactivity. These can all contribute to feeling exhausted on a regular basis. In more severe cases, if the problem persists, it may indicate a medical condition which may require immediate medical attention.
How one consistently feels about his or her life, be it good or bad, influences one’s energy level. If you feel that there is progress or purpose in your life and there are things you are looking forward to doing, then you will naturally feel more energized. On the flip-side, if you are experiencing challenges or are in a rut, you may sometimes feel drained of your energy and as if are just trudging along. This can be caused by emotional burnout and daily stressors (chronic illness, financial difficulties, work, home life etc.), which can be exacerbated by not taking enough time for ourselves. It is important to engage in self-care (carving some time out of the week in order to relax and have fun). Some examples include: taking a bubble bath, reading a book, going outside, hanging out with supportive people, etc.
Lack of Physical Activity
Physical activity (being active) is beneficial to us because our bodies were “designed to move” rather than remain stationary for most of the day. However, due to the combination of desk jobs, modern conveniences, and the increasing responsibilities as we get older, many people develop sedentary lifestyles. This inactivity can stifle our energy levels because regular physical exercise (1 hour at least 3 times a week) helps produce feel-good chemicals (endorphins) and helps to keep the body in optimal condition for efficient energy use. In short, staying active helps you to stay energized instead of feeling tired.
Irregular Sleep Patterns
Sleep is crucial because it is nature’s regenerative process and plays a vital role in mood regulation, motivation, physical healing, mental acuity, and critical thinking. Because of how essential sleep is to overall functioning, our bodies thrive on consistent, regular sleep patterns. For the average adult, that means 7-9 hours per night is needed for optimal functioning.
If you are struggling with energy levels, your body might be telling you that you are not getting the right amount of nutrients and eating enough whole foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, lean proteins). Instead, the standard American diet is heavily comprised of processed, highly refined foods (sugar, salt, fat). This means that most people are not eating a balanced diet according to the recommended daily servings: 5 servings of vegetables, 4 servings of fruit, 6 servings of grains, and 3 servings of dairy. So, if you feel like you have low energy, it might be good to look at your diet.
Tools to Deal with Chronic Tiredness
- Be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and stressors.
- Take time for yourself and don’t forget to engage in self-care.
- Get moving! Being physically active improves mood and makes the body more energy-efficient.
- Make sure to get enough sleep. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- Change up your diet! Eat more whole, nutrient-dense foods.
If you have tried to address the aforementioned factors and are still really struggling with exhaustion, we highly recommend consulting a medical professional, because it may indicate an underlying medical issue.