This week I’ve been doing extra reading and research on stress, tiredness, and fatigue.
Stress is a topic I can’t ever learn too much about, as it affects pretty much everyone these days. It’s practically normal to be ‘busy’, ‘stressed’, ‘overwhelmed’ or simply plain exhausted.
There is a lot to understand from a biological perspective, but in simple terms, it’s what you do every day that adds up over time.
1. REDUCE STRESS
If you are tired most of the time, your body is sending you a biological message and you need to listen.
We all need proper time to rest and recover from the demands of daily life before we get tired.
a) Meditation, yoga or Tai Chi
b) Time in nature
c) Creative hobbies
Screen time has replaced other forms of relaxation, and there are numerous studies showing the dark side of mobile devices and social media.
There was an interesting programme on this topic on Panorama recently. Watch here.
If you find yourself turning to devices and gadgets to help you unwind, take some time to think of some other things you could do instead.
When can you make time for some proper downtime for yourself?
2. REDUCE TOXINS
Most toiletries and cleaning products you buy on the high-street are toxic and contain hormone-disrupting chemicals which are absorbed directly into your internal organs through your skin.
Avoiding toxins can feel like a full-time job and I try not to be obsessive, but the two things I focus on most are:
a) plastic water bottles
I recently bought all my family stainless steel water bottles and we take them everywhere. I refuse to buy drinks that are not in a glass bottle.
Our skin is the largest organ on the body. Organic skin-care should not just be for our faces, as the surface area of our body is considerably bigger.
I’m a consultant with Neal’s Yard Organic as they are the only Soil Association certified skin-care company in the UK, and all their products are toxin-free as well as organic.
Next time you need to replace something, maybe consider their products instead.
3. EAT NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Wheat, sugar and processed fats are the three top foods that cause issues with blood-sugar and inflammation.
Again, I don’t obsess about nutrition, but here are three things I try to do.
a) Replace cereal, bread, and pasta with lentils, beans, nuts, and oats.
b) Eat more vegetables, especially organic and locally grown.
c) Be aware of hidden sugars, especially in dried fruit, juices, and alcohol.
Sugar and wheat offer us no nutrition at all. What they do is cause inflammation and blood-sugar spikes that can cause all kinds of chronic disease as well as contributing to tiredness and fatigue.
I stopped buying cereal six or seven years ago as it’s highly processed, expensive and full of sugar. Instead, we make porridge with organic oats, and every few weeks I make a batch of home-made sugar-free granola.
If you can only make one change to your diet, eat more veg. The fresher it is, the more nutrients there are.
What could you do this week to increase the nutrition you get from your food?
4. GET MORE SLEEP
A good sleep routine is essential if you want to feel less tired.
I love technology, but I value my mental, physical and emotional health more.
A simple alarm clock will help you avoid over-sleeping, but when you have enough sleep you wake up naturally.
The best thing you can do when you are tired is to get more sleep, not try to get to the bottom of your to-do list. When you are rested you can think more clearly, make better decisions and be more effective generally.
When you are tired, chances are you won’t make great food choices, and your relationships will suffer as well as your work.
What could you do to improve your sleep this week?
Each small change is totally worth doing.
Life is too short to be tired all the time.
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