Coping with energy levels similar to the characters on The Walking Dead is something many people accept as part of daily life. You might have resigned yourself to that sluggish feeling that makes every task feel near-impossible, but there are ways to beat it.
There’s several potential causes for why you’re feeling fatigue. In the UK we have plunged into the cold, dark, rainy season again, and aside from generally being grim, this has a significant knock-on effect. Less sunlight hours can make people feel especially tired and irritable. For some, this seasonal shift can even lead to “winter depression” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Meanwhile, a handful of late nights a month can disrupt your sleep, so if you’ve been balancing back-to-back Christmas parties, your body might be calling out for some time out. But tiredness that goes on endlessly can be problematic, and it’s definitely worth a think about when it started and why.
Why am I always tired and have no energy?
Feeling tired can be debilitating. It can stop you seeing friends and working, and lead to further mental health struggles. Medical advice via the NHS recommends thinking about the root of your fatigue. Could it come from parts of your life like your job or family stresses? Has there been a significant event such as a breakup or bereavement? What is your lifestyle like? These are all factors which could very easily lead to being tired.
Psychological causes of tiredness, such as stress, anxiety and depression, are much more common than physical causes, the NHS states. These can cause poor sleep or insomnia, both of which then lead to feeling daytime tiredness.
If stress or emotional life events aren’t behind your lack of energy, perhaps there’s a physical reason, such as the iron deficiency anaemia, an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) or sleep apnoea. If you’ve been feeling tired for more than 4 weeks, it might be time to see your GP so that they can rule out any health conditions that could be causing ongoing fatigue.
Whether you’re drinking too much alcohol, glugging coffee throughout the day, or consuming a lot of sugar, diet plays a key role in energy levels. Exercise, similarly, is strongly linked to fatigue, with too much or too little movement having a big impact on tiredness.
If none of those feel right, what is your working pattern like? Night shifts, or a changing schedule can play havoc with your sleep cycle. In the same vein, day time naps seem like a great idea at the time, but they also make it harder to sleep at night.
Does being ill make you tired?
Before you jump to tips and tricks to beating exhaustion, have you recently been ill? Covid, a stomach bug and the flu can drain your body of energy, and sometimes it takes a few weeks to feel yourself again. If you’ve recently been unwell, your body will likely be dehydrated and fatigued, and need some time to bounce back, so try not to rush things.
What can I do to stop being so tired?
If you think you have a medical condition, the first point of call should always be your GP, but for any other fatigue triggers, here are some general tips to help:
A good way to keep up your energy levels up throughout the day is to eat healthy snacks and regular meals every 3 to 4 hours. Regular exercise helps to make you feel less tired in the long run. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural runner or into weight lifting, even a 15-minute activity or walk can give you an energy boost. Drinking more water is hugely important too, as dehydration can leave people feeling depleted of energy.
A solid sleep routine is also crucial, as is going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time, avoiding long daytime naps, and taking some time to unwind before you do go to bed.
Why not work on reducing your stress more generally too? Working out, doing yoga, reading and listening to music are all great techniques to live a calmer life, and in turn conserve your energy if you’re feeling overwhelmed.