The Reasons You Are Feeling Tired That Are Not Purely Physical

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Are you constantly feeling tired? Is fatigue just another part of your daily routine at this point? Do you want to know how to fix it? Then keep reading. 

Chronic exhaustion is common in today’s world. In recent years productivity has become one of the main points of pride for a person, which inevitably means that people are overworked. 

You can’t go around working 12 hours a day, eating fast food all the time, not taking time for yourself, and then expecting not to feel tired. Of course, there are many reasons to feel tired but the constant state of stress drains both the body and the mind and it’s one of the unhealthiest ways to live your life. 

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of proper physical and mental rest. Taking the time to recharge is the thing that will keep you going. After all, life is a journey, not a destination. You don’t need to go so fast all the time. 

Many things can cause your exhaustion but fortunately, there are ways to fight against the drainers in life. In this post, we get to explore both but with a focus on the mental side of things. 

Some people call it a burn-out but I don’t wish to dwell on a strict definition. I want to talk to you about all things that cause a lack of energy that go beyond your physical health. 

1. Physical exhaustion

The thing that keeps us moving through life is our bodies. If we’re not taking proper care of it, if we don’t recharge it regularly, it becomes drained and starts malfunctioning.

If you don’t have a good sleeping schedule, if you don’t have a healthy diet, generally if you don’t put effort into maintaining your physical health, there is a great chance you are constantly tired.

Here are some of the main reasons you feel physically drained and what to do about them. 

2. Improper nutrition

Food is the body’s fuel and it needs a good source. If you don’t, you will inevitably feel tired. I’m sure you’ve experienced pure physical weakness because you haven’t had breakfast for example. It’s normal to be tired if you’re not eating nourishing meals. 

The best solution for this is figuring out a schedule, plan, or just something that will keep your food habits in check. A healthy diet should consist of proteins, vitamins, carbs, and fats. 

Some people denounce carbs as unhealthy but the truth is that they play an important role in providing energy for you to function. 

What you should be aware of is that not all carbs are equal. Carbs can be a quick source of energy. When you eat them, your body breaks them down into sugar, which can be used for fuel. However, eating too many refined carbs can cause you to feel tired throughout the day.

When sugar and processed carbs are consumed, they cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar. This signals your body to produce a large amount of insulin to get the sugar out of your blood and into your cells.

This spike in blood sugar levels — and subsequent fall — can make you feel exhausted. Craving quick energy, you instinctively reach for another serving of refined carbs, which can lead to a vicious cycle.

When it comes to nutrition, there are many opinions on what is good and what is not but just remember to focus on what works for you. You should listen to your body and find the things you like and the things that can benefit your health. If you don’t like kale, you don’t have to eat it just because someone says it’s a superfood. 

3. You’re not moving enough

Fatigue can be caused by a lack of physical tonus. When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re not moving around a lot. Usually, the day consists of sitting at a desk and then going home to sit on the couch or nowadays working from bed! How to combat this? By incorporating time daily for exercise.

You may say you don’t have time to work out but all it takes is 30 minutes a day. That’s what the body needs. You don’t have to do heavy lifting or anything too major. A brisk walk, a light jog, a game of soccer with friends, just something to get you moving so you can build muscle tonus. 

If you start doing regular physical activity you’ll feel energized and eventually, you will become even more motivated to develop your physicality. 

Who knows, you might grow to enjoy it.



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4. You’re not sleeping enough

Not getting enough sleep is one of the more obvious causes of fatigue. Your body does many things while you sleep, including store memory and release hormones that regulate your metabolism and energy levels. 

After a night of high-quality sleep, you typically wake up feeling refreshed, alert and energized. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, adults need an average of seven hours of sleep per night for optimal health (Trusted Source)

Importantly, sleep should be restful and uninterrupted to allow your brain to go through all five stages of each sleep cycle. 

Make sure you get all the sleep your body needs so you are better equipped for the day ahead. 

5. Medical conditions

Many medical conditions might directly affect energy levels. Hypothyroidism, allergies, anaemia, almost any medical condition can have a component of tiredness, and sometimes traditional energizing solutions won’t work when you suffer a certain condition. If you feel that your fatigue may be due to a physical condition, give your Family Doctor a call. 

6. Mental exhaustion

As much as physical exhaustion can be frustrating to deal with, in most cases, it is easily fixed by a good night’s sleep and good nutrition. 

Sure, it sucks to be sleepy all day but it’s really easy to make it better by simply being active during the day to encourage better sleep. 

On the other hand, mental exhaustion is something that’s not so easily fixed. The causes for lack of energy that go beyond the physical can turn out to be a chronic struggle. 

During our lives, we go through so much stress, boredom, frustration, and anger that at some point it seems impossible to feel excited or happy. You’re just too emotionally and mentally exhausted. 

Your mind is occupied with negativity, your spirit is low as well as your energy. Things you used to love doing become a burden and drain you. 

If this sounds familiar, you may be mentally exhausted and your tiredness can not be put into just physical boundaries. That’s when you start looking for other ways to recharge. 

Sleep and food alone won’t help but a happy song or an inspiring book might and if you feel unable to lift this feeling always seek professional help- such as your Family Doctor. 

As our bodies need care, so do our minds. That’s why together we’re going to cover some of the reasons you feel so mentally drained all the time and how to fix it. 

Exhaustion is often the body’s way of telling us something is off balance. When you might be trying to establish the root of your tiredness, be it physically related or mentally, the best way to do that is by looking at the symptoms. 

While physical and mental exhaustion can have overlapping signs and symptoms such as poor concentration, aches and pains often mental exhaustion is more about behavioural and mood changes. Some of these symptoms include- depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Often there is a trigger for this such as a stressful event, with this new world 

What to do about it?

There are lifestyle changes and techniques you can use at home to help you cope with stress and alleviate the symptoms of mental exhaustion.

1. Remove the stressor

We know that it’s not always possible to remove the source of your stress, but the best way to treat stress is to tackle its cause.

If you’re overwhelmed by your responsibilities at home or work, speak to your manager or take some time off. Many people are ashamed to ask for help but the truth is it’s human and all need a helping hand at some point. 

Enlisting the help of professional services is another way to help lighten your load, such as a personal support worker if you’re a caregiver for a loved one or a therapist. Babysitting, cleaning, and running errands are other responsibilities you can outsource.

2. Take a break 

Sparing time to rest and recharge is an important part of treating mental exhaustion. This can be done by taking a holiday, clearing your schedule for a couple of days, or even just taking a bit of time for yourself each day. Anything that will give you some respite. 

Talk to a friend, watch your favourite movie, listen to music, do something inspiring that will occupy your mind. Inspiration is key to happiness and therefore energy. 

If you want to learn more ways to recharge check out our article (link to the “20 simple steps to recharge your energy”)

3. Exercise

It’s not easy to find the motivation to exercise even on a good day, but exercise has many proven benefits for your physical and emotional health. You don’t need to do a high-intensity workout. Some moderate exercises, such as a brisk walk, is good enough.

A 2010 cross-sectional study of 533 Swiss police and emergency response service corps found that exercise was associated with good health and often used against stress-related health problems.

The participants of the study also felt better prepared to cope with chronic stress. The outcome was, moderate exercise was better suited to reduce stress than vigorous exercise.

Other proven benefits of exercise include:

  1. lowered stress levels
  2. reduced anxiety
  3. improved mood
  4. a stronger immune system

4. Relaxation techniques

 

Relaxation techniques are recognized to lower stress and anxiety. A 2013 study with 30 medical students in Bangkok participating, showed that meditation lowers cortisol levels in the blood, which may lower stress levels. So try yoga or some breathing exercises. You will feel calmer and energized in no time. 

Examples of other relaxation techniques include:

  1. tai chi
  2. deep breathing
  3. biofeedback
  4. massage
  5. aromatherapy
  6. progressive relaxation therapy

5. Get some sleep

Sleep is necessary for your emotional well-being. Aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep each night.

One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep is to avoid spending too much time in bed throughout the day — something to which mental exhaustion may contribute.

Think of a bedtime routine and stick to it, such as doing some light reading for a few minutes before turning in at the same time every night. 

Habits are usually created within 21 days so it might take you a bit of time to get used to them but in the end, it’s the healthiest option for you. 

6. Keep a journal

Negative thoughts and feelings can consume you when you’re mentally exhausted. Keeping a journal to write down things that make you happy every day can help you focus on the good in your life. Write about the cute dog you saw today or the nice cashier at the store. Everything that made you smile during the day counts. 

A set of three studies published in 2017 showed that people who practice journaling enjoy:

  1. higher well-being
  2. fewer symptoms of physical illness
  3. reduced stress
  4. happiness
  5. higher relationship satisfaction
  6. improved sleep
  7. better physical health

7. Medical treatment

If you find that the options you’ve tried haven’t helped then it’s time to discuss with your Doctor. Medications may be what you need 

Seeking professional help for mental exhaustion is important. A therapist can give you the tools you need to cope with stress and work through this difficult period.

Speak to a doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest medications such as antidepressants to help manage your symptoms often in conjunction with other techniques and therapy like cognitive behavioural therapy.

A few final words 

Mental and physical exhaustion are very common in today’s fast-paced world. Often simple measures like better sleep can help you start getting back to your usual self. 

The important thing to remember is that exhaustion doesn’t only affect the body, it can and often will also affect the mind if left untreated or it can occur on its own entirely. 

Mental exhaustion requires more patience, realise it’s a journey and that each small step you take brings you closer to your happier more content self. 

Knowing these causes of exhaustion that go beyond the physical allows you to broaden your approach to your recovery.

Throughout this I want you to know that you do not have to do it alone. The answer to your fatigue may not be obvious and that’s ok, it’s important to discuss your worries with someone else and this can be family or friends. There is nothing weak in asking for help and getting some support or even direction.

Should you be struggling with coping with stress or life in general

Good Samaritan 116 123 or speak to your GP

I hope these tips will help you stay physically and mentally healthy. Learn more about mental health.

Have any questions? 

Let’s discuss!

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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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