It’s hardly noon at work and you’re already worn out. Worse yet, you’ve got four more hours of e-mails to answer and conference calls ahead. You’re planning to hit the gym later, but how? You barely have the energy to drive home (PHOTO: Andrea Piacquadio)!
Constant fatigue can stem from a variety of culprits. Poor sleep, too much partying, or even more serious underlying medical conditions like diabetes and fibromyalgia can drain your energy big time. Chronic weariness can be mental, too. Stress at work and in your relationships, depression, etc., can sap your get-up-and-go and leave you dragging and blue.
If your fatigue persists over a period of weeks, then you need to see your doctor. But there are certain energy draining enemies that you can confront right now if you want to put that tiger back into your tank!
Enemy #1: Eating a sugary, fat filled breakfast. Carbohydrate rich, fatty meals inevitably cause you to crash, leaving you tired and feeling fuzzy mentally. Instead of doughnuts, pastries, sugary cereals, and processed meats like bacon and sausage, start the day with whole grains and lean protein. Try a half cup of oatmeal with mixed berries and two poached eggs for a dynamite breakfast.
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. A sedentary lifestyle at work and at home spells disaster. 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. A cup of coffee even makes a fantastic pre-workout beverage. 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 vending machine staples like cookies and candy. Avoid sugary hi- energy drinks. 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 problems like heart disease, ulcers, and diabetes. Be proactive and creative when handling stress. Try yoga, visit a spa, learn to meditate, take a walk, go for a swim, have more sex.