In a past article, I discussed some of the common medical causes of chronic fatigue. But the truth is that many times, there isn’t just one single cause. Rather, there are often many different factors that can wear you down and zap you of energy. So what can you do? In this article, I will provide some practical tips that will help you fight fatigue and gain more energy.
11 Ways to Fight Fatigue & Gain Energy
Here is some good news for fatigue sufferers: there are many practical things that you can do to improve your energy and fight fatigue. Aside from ruling out and treating medical conditions (something that your doctor would help you do), there is a lot that you can do on a daily basis that can help improve your health and raise your overall energy level.
As you read, keep in mind that because healthy living habits work together synergistically, the more techniques you can incorporate into your day, the bigger the energy boost will be. So let’s get started!
#1 – Stay hydrated
Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue. When you don’t drink enough fluids, your body cannot function at its peak. This leads to decreased alertness, worsened concentration, and overall poorer physical and mental performance.
Did you know?
Your body can be dehydrated before you even start to feel thirsty.
One of the easiest ways to fight fatigue is to make sure that your body is adequately hydrated. The great way to do this is to invest in a nice water bottle and aim to drink at least 64 ounces (about 2 liters, or half a gallon) of water a day.
Important Note: If you have a medical condition (such as congestive heart failure) in which you have to limit your water intake, always follow your doctor’s instructions regarding how much water to drink.
#2 – Eat smaller meals
Another easy way to fight fatigue is to eat smaller meals. Large meals tend to drain your energy because of their effects on your insulin and blood sugar levels.
If you currently eat 3 big meals a day, try breaking it down into 5 or 6 mini-meals.
#3 – Do not skip meals
When you skip meals, you put additional stress on your body’s metabolism, making it difficult for your body to maintain its energy level. Skipping meals can also cause your blood sugar level to dip, which can lead to instant tiredness.
If you find that you are skipping meals, try breaking out of this habit by keeping some healthy snacks nearby that you can nibble on throughout the day.
#4 – Make more healthful choices
As we all have experienced after eating a large cheeseburger with fries, what we eat throughout the day matters just as much as when or how much we eat.
Therefore, try to incorporate more vegetables and whole grain foods into your diet, and choose low-fat dairy products and lean meats over full-fat dairy and high-fat meats. Make efforts to cut down on sugary, fried, or overly salty foods, as these foods can make your energy level drop.
#5 – Caffeinate carefully
While it is okay to drink 1 or 2 caffeinated drinks early on in the day to boost energy and mental alertness, try to keep your daily coffee or energy drink intake at a reasonable level.
Any more than 5 or 6 caffeinated drinks in a day will often lead to side effects that outweigh their energy-boosting benefits. Too much caffeine during the day will also worsen the quality of your sleep at night, which contributes to the vicious cycle of daytime fatigue.
#6 – Limit alcohol intake
Alcohol has well-known depressant effects on the body, making you feel tired. A glass of wine with dinner is fine, but if you are finding yourself in a cycle of chugging coffee to get through the day and then drinking alcohol to wind down in the evening, try to break out of this cycle, as your health and overall energy level will suffer in the long run.
#7 – Optimize your sleep quality by creating a “Sleep Haven”
Set up your bedroom so that it is a relaxing oasis for rest. Take the TV out, and leave the phone outside (if you possibly can). Invest in some thick curtains and adjust the temperature to make it a little cool (warmer temperatures can worsen sleep quality). Consider using relaxing essential oils for a bit of aromatherapy.
One of the best ways to combat chronic fatigue is to ensure that the sleep that you do get is optimally restful, and one of the best ways to do that is to make your bedroom a sleep- (and cuddle-) only place.
#8 – Do relaxation exercises before you sleep
It is not uncommon for those with chronic fatigue to lie awake in bed worrying about the next day, which results in poorer sleep quality and more fatigue the next day. Instead, create a habit of doing your favorite relaxation technique right before bed.
Check out these audio-guided relaxation experiences or pick your favorite quick relaxation technique. I encourage you to try each of them every day for at least a week to find out what works best for you.
#9 – Avoid sleeping pills
Even if you have insomnia, I encourage you to develop healthier habits to help you sleep instead of depending on sleeping pills—especially over-the-counter antihistamines (those with diphenhydramine and doxylamine as ingredients) and prescription pills such as Ambien and Restoril. Why? Most of these medications have effects that (even if they’re not noticeable) carry over into the next day, and many also cause your body to become dependent on them. They are also not designed for everyday use and some of them can increase your risk of developing dementia later in life. Instead, relax the all-natural way with a warm bath and a cup of chamomile tea or a glass of warm milk.
#10 – Increase your daily physical activity
While the last thing you may want to do when you’re tired is to exercise, it is scientifically proven that physical activity improves energy. Therefore, try to make a conscious effort to watch the amount of time you spend sitting each day. This does not mean you need to immediately head to the gym (but if you can…great!). Just by getting out of your seat every hour and walking around the room for 5 to 10 minutes, you can get your circulation going and help improve your energy level.
#11 – Consider taking vitamins
Many people are deficient in one or more vitamins and may not know it. Some people—such as those on a restrictive diet or those who do not get enough sunlight—are at a higher risk of being vitamin deficient. The most common nutrient deficiencies that can lead to low energy are that of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and coenzyme Q10. If you think you may have a vitamin deficiency, it never hurts to have a talk with your doctor, who, with a simple blood test, can check for most vitamin deficiencies.
Some doctors recommend certain supplements that help your heart on a cellular level and that can help boost your energy. Therefore, if your doctor gives you an okay, consider adding the following supplements to your day:
- CoQ10 – 100 mg (with breakfast)
- Magnesium – 200 mg one to two times daily (with food)
- Carnitine – 1 g on an empty stomach (for better absorption)
- D-ribose – 5 g dissolved in water or juice
Here’s to fighting fatigue through healthy living!