Our existences are anything but simple, and most of us will find ourselves overworked and exhausted from time to time-or all the time. Fatigue, true fatigue, is much more than feeling overworked and just being sleepy, although it can make you want to curl up in bed and forget the rest of the world. It creeps into everyday life and effects your physical and mental well-being making it very difficult, if not impossible, to get things done. My own personal struggles with fatigue at point strained relationships-it is hard for people to understand that horrible exhaustion unless they experience it themselves. To the outside world, you just look lazy when all you want to do is lie in bed.
Fatigue is a difficult thing to manage, as it is such a vague symptom or condition. There’s physical fatigue, emotional fatigue, fatigue as a symptom or as a disease in and of itself. There is a good chance there’s an underlying medical condition causing fatigue, for example depression or low blood sugar, and this must be addressed before you can hope to get rid of the exhaustion. But if you haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause of your fatigue (and of course you’ve had it checked out by a doctor) it can often times be traced back to a number of habits and lifestyles that seem to have a tendency to develop in the modern world. If you find it dogging your footsteps and dragging you down, don’t sink into despair, there are plenty of changes you can make and natural remedies you can utilize to fight the feeling effectively.
1. Get active
We’re awfully quick to assume that if we feel exhausted, we should take a nap. But have you ever noticed that if you lie in bed all day, barring recovery or illness, you feel more sluggish? Your head may feel a bit fuzzy and achy, and you feel like energy was sucked out of your body, instead of replenished. This is because over-resting or sleeping has the exact opposite effect we want it to have, while exercise boosts our energy long-term. If you are feeling fatigued and not moving around much, you may just need a good regular dose of fresh air to rejuvenate your body and mind. As a bonus, when you do rest, it will feel that much better and be that much more refreshing than if you’d sat around all day and done nothing. It also improves mood, thanks to the endorphins being released, and feeling gloomy is a major contributor to fatigue.
Note: Excessive or extreme activity can sometimes create feelings of fatigue, however you generally feel refreshed in the long term.
You will need…
-A good pair of shoes (optional, unless you plan on walking into a store.)
It is of the utmost importance that you keep your exercise regular to boost your energy, particularly long-term. Don’t set the bar too high in the beginning if you think you’ll easily get discouraged attempting a 4 mile run. Just lace up, slip on, or leave off your shoes and get outside. Take your dog for a walk, go for a casual stroll-anything-even a little exercise is better than none. If the weather isn’t cooperating, turn on some tunes and come up with an indoor workout routine. As you get into the habit, slowly increase your level of activity.
2. Sip Some Potato Water
While a brimming glass of fresh potato water may not sound like the first thing you’d want to relax on a hot summer day with, it’s actually a great home remedy for fatigue. Soaking slices of potato in water makes a potassium rich drink that can help you feel less tired and sluggish, as it replenishes a mineral many people have trouble getting enough of. Like magnesium, the body does not produce potassium-we have to consume it from outside sources. Because our diets these days tend to lean towards being nutrient deficient, it’s no wonder we find ourselves lacking in the potassium department.
Potassium doesn’t give you a direct jolt of energy, per say, but along with magnesium (as well as chloride and calcium) it is an electrolyte that is vital for the proper functioning of our cells and the release of energy and the conduction of electricity. Without enough of it, our muscles wouldn’t move properly and our nerve impulses wouldn’t fire right. By ensuring you have healthy levels of potassium, you can get an edge on feeling dull and tired all the time.
You will need…
-1 unpeeled potato
-8 ounces of fresh water
Slice up the potato (there’s no need to peel it- I realize I show them peeled in the photo but I went on auto pilot) and add to a glass of water. Allow it to steep overnight in the fridge, and drink first thing in the morning.
3. Boost Red-Blood Cells
Iron is important. Without it, our bodies cannot produce enough red blood cells. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, the iron rich protein that carries oxygen throughout our body. Many people think of oxygen’s use ending when it enters our lungs, but it must travel throughout our bodies and get delivered to all of our cells and organs for them to function. As you can imagine, a lack of oxygen would lead to a decrease in the bodies functioning, which will result in fatigue. This is called iron-deficiency anemia. To combat this, make a tea with nettle leaf (fresh is preferred but dry works as well.) Nettle is rich in iron, as well as vitamin C. The latter part is relevant because vitamin C has been shown to help increase the absorption of non-heme iron (iron found in plants vs. fish, meat, etc.) which isn’t always absorbed as easily as heme iron. Adding in some dandelion boosts the iron content of this tea even more but beware-it is bitter, so I recommend plenty of honey!
You will need…
-1 cup each fresh dandelion & nettle OR 2 teaspoons each dried dandelion and nettle
-1 cup of freshly boiled water
-Your favorite mug
Bring water to a boil and place your herbs in a mug. Pour the boiling water over them and cover, steeping for 10 minutes. Remove the herbs, add plenty of honey to taste, and drink 2 times daily.