Things That May Be Draining Your Energy
Do you feel like you are doing well with your health and choosing healthy habits most of the time, but just don’t understand why you don’t have more energy? If so, you aren’t alone.
I have struggled with my own health and fatigue issues for many years. I have worked with various professionals from both an allopathic and alternative side. There were many possible reasons for my fatigue, not enough answers, and tons of conflicting information. I don’t want you to have to go through the same challenges I did, so I am here to help you gain your energy back.
Start with the basics. You never know if there is something super simple that your body needs that you are unaware of. Your body is trying to tell you something and now we need to put on our detective hats and try to listen and learn from our bodies.
Even though the possibilities below seem basic and maybe boring, I really want to encourage you to give this a chance. You could try starting from the top and each week focusing on really improving one simple habit. Try to notice how your body is feeling and notice any changes as you adopt these new habits and experiment with them.
POSSIBLE REASONS FOR LACKING ENERGY
- Neglecting the Body’s Basic Needs (Sleep, Nutrition, Hydration, Exercise)
This one is easy to overlook. Lack of energy, often times is from one of our basic needs not being met. Are you getting at least 7-hours of good quality sleep? Do you wake up feeling refreshed? Are you eating lots of nutrients from a well-balanced diet? Are you eating enough vegetables and some fruits in your diet? Are you drinking lots of good quality water? Are you getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week? This is the time to take a deep dive into your habits. You don’t need to be perfect 100% of the time but hitting these marks most of the time is important.
- The Sugar Crash
If you are consuming things such as sugar, sugary drinks, fruit juice, honey, maple syrup, white rice, white flour, white bread, regular pasta, and other similar products, then you are likely experiencing sugar crashes throughout the day. These “food” items lack fiber which helps to slow the sugar absorption into the blood stream and prevent any major spikes in our blood sugar.
Without the fiber, our blood sugar spikes up really high and then we have a blood sugar crash and feel sluggish, crave sugar, and overall feel like crap. Once you reach this point, it is challenging to stabilize your blood sugar for the rest of the day.
The key is to keep your blood sugar as stable as possible and avoid those spikes in the first place. This is the time to eliminate all sugary drinks, no more adding sugar to coffee, and eat whole grains instead of refined. It is also helpful to include some protein with every meal to help balance out your sugar during the day.
Do you experience a lot of stress during the day? If so, stress might be draining you both emotionally and physically. Try to find some healthy ways to manage your stress, such as meditation, yoga, exercise, adult coloring books, hobbies, and more.
While it is impossible to avoid all stress, it is helpful to change your perspective on it and reframe your thoughts about it. For example, rather than thinking about how nervous and anxious you are about a deadline or presentation coming up, think of that feeling as excitement.
Use the feelings of stress to your advantage. Instead of thinking of the stress as draining you, think of it as energizing you to complete the challenge. Studiesshow that changing your perspective on stress actually reduces the negative impacts it has on your body.
- Not Enough Recovery Time
Are you one of those people who are always on the go, nonstop all the time, and maybe even include a lot of strenuous exercise in your life? I used to be one of these people, and I know plenty of them. Your body is not receiving enough relaxation and recovery time. Do you take time for yourself every day to do something calming like taking a relaxing bath, going for a mani/pedi, massage, or meditation? I believe life should be about balance. If you have done a strenuous high-impact workout, then take a day or two off. If we are always on the go and working out hard, then we are breaking down our bodies all the time and not giving our bodies time to rebuild and recover.
- Not Enough Sunlight & Time in Nature
Are you receiving direct sunlight onto your skin and body every day? Our bodies are supposed to be naturally in rhythm with the sun. The sun helps to set our circadian rhythms and is important for our health. We have become so scared of the sun and so set on avoiding it whenever possible that we don’t get the little bit of sun that we need every day.
While it is important to protect our skin whenever we are in the sun for prolonged periods, it is also important to get some sun on the skin every single day. We need it for vitamin D production (without sunscreen) and to help keep our circadian rhythms set, which means better sleep, energy, immune system, and overall health.
Also spending time in nature is important. We have become disconnected from it. Being in nature surrounds us with negative ions and other healthy molecules. The Japanese recognize the importance of nature and their health and often go “forest bathing”. Just do a google search on forest bathing, and you will find numerous articles about it. Nature recharges us like a battery.
- The Mind
When we don’t feel our best, we often try to find some physical reason for our symptoms and do not even consider the mind. The mind is powerful and something as simple as negative thoughts can bring on many physical and mental ailments. Have your thoughts become more negative recently? Are you lonely? Are you connecting with others regularly? Do you feel like you have a sense of purpose? Are you finding ways to give back? These are all aspects to consider.
STILL NOT FEELING ANY BETTER?
If, after trying everything above, you still don’t feel like your energy is where it should be, then working with a professional might be what you need. You could choose to work with a naturopath, functional medicine doctor, or an allopathic physician. I would recommend working with a functional medicine physician or a naturopath first. However, I do recognize that they can become expensive.
Some of the possible reasons you may still have low energy are an HPA dysregulation (adrenal fatigue) or you’re taking new medications or supplements that are causing side effects, not enough iron, depression, and more.
Trying to figure out what is causing you to lose energy can be tricky and kind of like a puzzle. I hope this information helps you to discover what is draining your energy and helps you feel your best.
To your health,
Katelin Gates BSN, RN, CPT