With winter here Downunder, our bodies stiffen up and our energy drops as the thermometer does. And yet… Beyond the fact that our circadian rhythms slow down when times are cooler, fatigue over 40 is not normal.
Wrapped in a whoolie jumper with fur boots on her feet, Anita shows up to our online meeting with tired eyes and slow speech.
The whole story….
Anita is putting on weight.
She is under a lot of pressure at work.
She becomes forgetful more often.
She lost her sex drive along the way.
Her mood is swinging like a pendulum.
And she drags herself along most of the time.
Is winter to blame? We all certainly slow down during this particular season and yet….
Is it because she is getting older? That’s the most common assumption I hear and yet…
Anita rates her energy levels very low, but immediately after added that was “normal” considering her life circumstances; teenagers at home, a ton of daily housework and stressful job to boot.
Normality or commonality?
Let’s talk about normal. Feeling unwell is common, and yet does that make it normal?
If our ‘normal’ is feeling unwell, then let’s redefine what our “normal” is, and not just accept it as our inescapable reality. Unwellness is feedback from our brain and body. And yet when we lose our energy, we tend to blame it on children, general busyness, life circumstances and more. Feeling tired, fatigued, run down is common and yet not normal.
1. Choose Your Fuel
The best start to combating fatigue is to assess the fuel you use to power your body-vehicle.
As you age (and we all do), start to reflect on what is the highest octane food for your body so that it performs optimally. You may not cope anymore with what you previously did. When you reach for a quick fix of comfort food that you’ve always loved or you ignore your body’s cues and eat as much as you always have, you slow down your vehicle, where you used to cope well in the past.
2. Service Your Body
How long has it been since you serviced your vehicle? Combustion of the best fuel will not get an optimum result if the engine is clogged. Chronic tiredness and bloating are feedback from your gut that servicing is needed.
Constipation is the enemy of detoxification, and it is a sign that your body-engine has clogged over time. Even though you keep using the best fuel, you don’t get the performance you expect. Bowel movements are commonly misinterpreted. Consider your last few evacuations; did it pass smoothly or was there effort involved? Does your tank feel empty when you’ve finished? Check my Top Tips box to relieve constipation naturally.
3. Recover To Perform
In 2018, 40% of Australians reported getting inadequate sleep. And yet sleep hygiene is critical and doable.
Social jet lag, or partying and sleeping in on the weekend, alters your sleep-wake cycle. Screen time up until bedtime prolongs wakefulness and diminishes the quality of your sleep. Alcohol and caffeine keep your nervous system on fire and alter your melatonin production. If these habits sound familiar to you, please check my Top Tips box.
4. Adapt Your Gearbox to Your True Speed
With family responsibilities, workload and other obligations, you may feel nervous, worried, overwhelmed, tense, or in pain. Chronic stress is like burning a candle on both hands. It’s as if you are driving at high speed in low gear! You use up all the energy you’ve produced too soon, and end up low on fuel quicker.
However, slowing down does not mean stopping altogether. Regular, adapted movement brings restoration for your body and mind and provides the opportunity for introspection. The more you are physically active, the more energy you have. If yoga is not your thing or you feel mortified to go to a gym, dancing, walking, playing will keep you in motion, and ensure that your engine is running smoothly.
5. Beyond Fuel and Regular Service – Deep Check
Tiredness and fatigue may be a sign that your thyroid is under-functioning. If you are experiencing issues such as thinning hair, feeling cold, dry skin, constipation and/or weight gain, getting your thyroid tested may be warranted. Consult your health professional.
Your fatigue may be related to hormonal shifts or imbalances. When it comes to menstruation, perimenopause or menopause, we tend to ignore the fluctuations and the changes in our needs and yet each part of our cycle requires that we adapt our pace, our food, and our mindset.
If you cannot find relief from dietary and lifestyle changes, functional testing may help you to pinpoint the root causes.
Fatigue is not normal. Don’t accept fatigue as a natural consequence of getting older.
Yours in health and wellness,