Intricate part of our well being.
We need energy to be productive – to work around the house, to perform at our jobs outside the house, to deal with other people (you can easily notice this by creating an awareness of how you feel after interacting with another person – some people bring a lot of positive energy into your life whilst others bring negative energy and these energies in turn have significant impact on our mood, how we feel and subsequently how we perform for that day – another conversation in itself which we’ll leave for another day:) and most of all to deal with ourselves – few will disagree that it takes some energy to stay focused on eating well, exercising regularly and yes it takes energy to relax.
It would be so nice if we could stay energetic most of the time. Bounce around with a positive buzz – bring positivity through this energy into our own life and then start spilling it into the lives of those we come into contact with!
Doesn’t happen that way all the time though. The positive buzz can easily transform into drop dead fatigue for most us and it can do so quite rapidly and unexpectedly – leaving us feeling tired, exhausted, not having enough strength left in us to stay on track with self care and subsequent care for others.
Remember the mantra that you can never expect to give any energy and positivity to others if you have not first allocated some to yourself. Only once you’re saturated with this positivity do you have enough to give to others. Thats why self care is so important.
Even if you’re other centered and you believe your primary duty lies in pleasing others, taking care of your children, family, profession, vocation or a larger philanthropic work, you still need to start with yourself. The universe works that way. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed – it can only be transferred. If you’re full of positive energy, you’ll transfer the positivity around and the vice versa is certainly very true.
So what to do if you feel you’re always running on an empty tank?
Well, fatigue is common. Its more common at certain life stages.
Young mums, those juggling multiple things such as work/family/multiple dependents such as children who require special attention, looking after elderly parents or a sick partner are definitely at higher risk of fatigue. And for a good reason. They can’t really change much about the other end of the equation which are their care duties. So they need to address this end of the equation, which is how much they invest in looking after themselves. They need to have more awareness about eating well, taking some time to exercise and to relax regularly. They need to take stock of their social situations to see what support network they can call upon to make these things work e.g. enlisting help of a family member on regular basis to get some down time themselves, making arrangements with a friend where they can share their duties e.g. baby sitting for each other etc.
As simple a situation as having a child and navigating through infancy and preschool years can take efficiency, planning and execution of a CEO running a company. The only difference is that profit in this case is measured not in monetary terms but in how much happiness and fulfilment fills your life. How much energy you’re left with at the end of the day.
So hats off to all those who do it day in and day out and are building up on the little savings of energy they make every day and pass on these positive spills to those around them.
And even bigger kudos to those too that are not quite achieving it every day but continue to strive every day. Every day is a new day for these courageous women.
So what about the rest of us though? Those who are not particularly facing any exhaustion prone life stages but are still experiencing fatigue on daily basis.
Its quite important to have a general check with your health professional to ascertain that its not a physical cause such as iron deficiency, thyroid dysfunction, trouble with sugar metabolism, vitamin b12 deficiency etc.
Another thing that your health professional might need to look at is the quality of your sleep as well as your mood as both can be tied in quite intricately with your energy levels.
On top of all of this, your hormone levels can also affect your energy levels.
You may have noted that you have far more energy at certain times of the day – some of us are morning sunshines whereas others start slow in the morning and pick up speed as the day goes on whereas yet another type of people are full of beans at the end of the day.
Its quite important to not to try too hard to fight these natural patterns in ourselves but to work around them. Plan your most demanding tasks and meaningful tasks around your “high energy hours” and you may find them becoming less of a chore or a drag.
From a medical perspective, we do have a peak of hormones in the morning which is perhaps tied in with our evolution. We are meant to be physically active, gathering food in the first half of the day and that’s when the hormones peak to give us more energy. These hormones then start going down as our bodies get ready to slow down and switch off for the night.
Having said that, its still quite important to be in tune with your own energy rhythm and it is still best practice to listen to your body to a large extent.
As well as the daily ups and downs of the hormones, we also undergo a monthly up and down of the hormones. Haven’t we all noticed how certain days of the month we are full of energy, happy, brimming with enthusiasm and nothing seems too much – all things fall into line and we are on top. I’ll call these our Estrogen days – the days of our menstrual cycle when this hormone is predominant. Its a natural boost to us and in a typical cycle it peaks around mid cycle, having started a gradual pick up from about second week after the periods. So if you’re planning big and important events then it makes sense to plan them around the time of the month when you’re more likely to handle it well and without undue stress.
And haven’t we all noted those days when we are just drained. Tired. Loss of motivation. Everything is a drag. Its like someone has pulled the plug out of the socket or turned a switch off. I’ll call these our Progesterone days – these are the days when progesterone is predominant in our body and its a naturally depressive and draining hormone. It starts to pick up around the third week of the cycle and goes on into the first days of the period, contributing to the pesky Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Tiredness can a hallmark of this phase of our cycles.
So you can well see that we are constantly going through theses hormone driven changes on daily as well as monthly basis. We do need all these hormones for our body to function well. So the smart thing is to have an awareness of our energy levels on daily as well as monthly basis and to use it our advantage. Plan your tasks around energy levels and plan your relaxation around the downer phases as much as possible.
Some days it may well be the case that you just have to push through the low energy days. Energy is a balancing act. Focus more on the things that give you energy such as eating nutritious foods, exercising and spending time with family and friends.
But if these measures are not helping then its quite important to validate this. If severe symptoms are happening to you on daily basis, then it is happening, its valid and its real and it deserves attention.
Then it may be a good idea to have a chat with your health care provider as hormone therapies such pill or HRT, if you are in perimenopausal or menopausal stages, can be helpful. In some cases mood stabilising therapy can be used to try and bring some harmony into the fluctuating hormone and the resultant fluctuating mood and energy states.
The key message is to hear the beat of your internal rhythms.
Ride the waves of high energy and plan for the calmer waters ahead.