It’s barely noon at the office and you’re already feeling tired and worn out. Worse yet, you’ve got four more hours of killer meetings and conference calls ahead. You know that you need to get to the gym, but how? You barely have the energy to drive home!
Constant fatigue can stem from a variety of culprits. Poor sleep, too much partying, or even more serious underlying medical conditions like diabetes and some early forms of cancer. Chronic weariness can be mental, too. Stress on the job, financial burdens, relationship problems, etc., can sap your energy and leave you dragging and blue.
If your fatigue persists over a period of weeks, then go see your doctor. But there are certain energy draining enemies that you can confront right now if you want to keep that fatigue away.
Enemy #1: Besides skipping breakfast altogether, the next worse move is to eat a sugary, fat filled breakfast. Carbohydrate rich meals inevitably cause you to crash, leaving you tired and feeling fuzzy mentally. Instead of sugars and starch, start the day with whole grains and lean protein. Try a half cup of oatmeal with mixed berries and two poached eggs for a breakfast fit for Superman.
Enemy #2: Skipping your exercise routine. People who regularly complained of fatigue increased energy levels by more than 20% with regular, low-intensity exercise according to a 2008 University of Georgia study. You don’t have to live in a gym, just do something, even for as little as 10 minutes a day. Use the stairs, do push-ups on breaks, walk to lunch.
Enemy #3: Drinking too much caffeine. 1-2 cups of coffee per day will no doubt give you that needed zap of energy. But any more than that will keep you awake at night. Coffee also over-stimulates the production of two hormones-adrenalin and cortisol- that can work against you, causing you to be cranky and store more fat. Try drinking more water or replace coffee with green tea.
Enemy #4: Eating the wrong snacks. Stay away from sugary staples like cookies and candy. These foods cause a sudden spike of energy as your blood sugar rises, then a crash as your body must over- produce insulin to help your system deal with the excess sugar. Instead, try high fiber, protein snacks like a slice of turkey, edamame, or nuts like pistachios, almonds or walnuts.
Enemy #5: Feeling too stressed. Your brain doesn’t distinguish between the anxiety of dealing with a bitchy boss or being chased by a rabid dog. Either way, the body releases “fight or flight” hormones that help you cope with stress. The trouble is, the build-up of heavy duty hormones can wreak havoc on your body. Besides wrinkles and fatigue, you can eventually expect a whole array of physical problems like heart disease, ulcers and diabetes. Try yoga, visit a spa, learn to meditate.