Why Am I So Tired? Tips For Finding Your Mojo Again
With our fast-paced lives and the constant juggle of health, work, family, friends, downtime and everything in between (not to mention a global pandemic!), it’s not surprising that so many women experience periods of tiredness or even exhaustion.
When you’re having these low energy moments or days, know that you’re not alone in how you feel. Take some time to recharge, reach out for support and prioritise rest and the things that make you feel like YOU again.
While feeling tired every now and then is normal, when you’re constantly wondering, “why am I so tired?”, it can be a sign you need to make some changes. Feeling tired all the time can get in the way of fully enjoying your life and deprive you of the energy you need to do the things you want to. It’s time to get your mojo back!
Always feeling tired? Common reasons and helpful tips
Lack of sleep
When we say sleep, we don’t just mean time spent in bed, we mean getting 7-9 hours each night of restful sleep. When you sleep, your body performs many important processes to help energise you, such as repairing and regenerating cells and releasing growth hormones.
If you’re consistently having trouble with your sleep, it’s best to see your doctor for advice on the best course of action. If you often have late nights out, scrolling on your phone or watch Netflix before bed, this could also explain the fatigue. For mums with babies, this can be a challenging time, so reach out to others for support and try to sleep when you can.
Tips for better sleep
- Turn your phone off (or leave it on silent and charging away from your bed) at least an hour before you go to sleep.
- If darkness is an issue (especially if you’re a shift worker), wear an eye mask or invest in blackout curtains. Ear plugs can also help if you’re a light sleeper.
- Do things that relax you before bed. This could be putting calming lavender spray on your pillow, having a soothing hot drink like chamomile tea, taking a warm shower or bath, or practising some meditation.
- If your schedule allows it, get your body into a routine with regular times for going to bed and waking up.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine or stop drinking caffeine after midday and see if it helps your sleep.
- Experiment with your workout schedule and find what time works best for you. Exercising in the late afternoon or early evening helps many people sleep better, but working out at night also keeps some people awake.
- Some supplements like magnesium can help with sleep issues. Ask your doctor or health professional for advice.
Even if you’re getting plenty of sleep and leading a healthy lifestyle, your energy is still going to take a hit if you’re under a lot of stress. 2017 research showed that work-related stress is consistently associated with fatigue, and stress can interfere with the quality of your sleep.
But stress isn’t just limited to what’s going on at work! It can be triggered by challenges related to your relationships, finances, health (both physical and mental), or specific stressful events in your life like moving house or experiencing loss.
5 ways to reduce stress
- The NHS recommends looking at different areas of your life such as your work, relationships and lifestyle to understand how stress is playing a role in each area.
- If there are any areas of your life causing you a lot of stress, think about changes you could make.
- Find activities you can do regularly that relax your body and mind, such as yoga, meditation, journaling, warm baths or listening to music.
- Set some boundaries with your work if possible, such as not checking your emails outside of work hours or not being contactable on your days off.
- Move your body each day in a way that leaves you feeling energised, or find a training style where you can let off some steam!
Nutrient deficiencies or low nutrition
How you fuel your body and your energy levels go hand in hand, and nutrient deficiencies are often a common reason why your tiredness just won’t budge - particularly iron (which is needed to transport oxygen to your cells), vitamin D or B vitamins.
If you experience heavy periods or eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your iron levels.
Low energy can also be a result of not eating enough to fuel your body, or choosing foods that are low in nutrition. Although reaching for foods with a high sugar content can give you quick spikes of energy, you’ll crash quickly.
Nutrition tips to help boost your energy
- Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with nutritious foods.
- Make sure your diet includes plenty of fruit and veggies, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains for nutrients and sustained energy.
- Eat a variety of different foods to get a range of nutrients.
- If you’re on the go a lot, have healthy snacks with you.
- Eat regular meals.
- Pay attention to how your body feels before and after each meal. Everyone is different, and this is a great way to figure out what your body thrives on!
- Enjoying your food is so important and all of the Sweat Trainers enjoy treats and delicious food as part of socialising. Find a balance that supports your fitness goals without meaning you miss out on special events with family and friends.
- Limit your intake of alcohol, as alcohol can leave you feeling tired.
- If you’re eating well and still experiencing unexplained fatigue, ask your doctor for a blood test to check your nutrient levels.
- If you have any allergies or intolerances, speak to your doctor about alternatives to ensure you’re still eating a balanced diet.
- If you have a plant-based diet or have heavy periods, you may need supplements for nutrients like iron and B12. Check with your doctor.
According to a 2015 review, it has been consistently reported that when you’re dehydrated you experience greater levels of fatigue and you’re less alert. Recent studies have also found being well hydrated may also help you sleep better, improve cognitive function and give you more endurance. Luckily, this one is an easy fix!
Many national health guidelines, including those from the NHS, recommend drinking at least 2 litres (68 fluid oz) of water a day to stay hydrated. You might need more if you’re living in a warmer climate, if you sweat a lot or if you’re exercising regularly.
Tips for staying hydrated and energised
- Start your day with a big glass of water.
- Keep a water bottle with you to make sure you drink regularly.
- Your urine should be clear or pale yellow. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration.
- Increase your water intake if you’re sweating a lot or experiencing dizziness, constipation or headaches.
- If you don’t enjoy water, try drinking herbal tea or adding lemon juice or slices of citrus or cucumber to your water.
Exercise: Too much or not enough
Exercise and energy are like a pendulum. If you swing too far one way and live a sedentary lifestyle, you’re probably going to feel lethargic and tired. If you swing too far the other way and overdo it without enough rest, you increase your risk of burnout and exhaustion.
Tips for feeling energised by movement
- Move your body every day. Some days this might be strength training, other days it might be a walk or some yoga.
- Find a training style or workout routine you truly enjoy.
- Love HIIT? Avoid doing high-intensity workouts on consecutive days to allow your body to recover.
- If you’re doing strength training, alternate which muscle groups you train.
- Have 1-2 rest days each week.
- If you constantly feel sore and fatigued, have more rest or lower the intensity of your workouts.
- If you’re starting your fitness journey or coming back from a break, start small with short walks or quick workouts.
Sickness, health conditions and medication
Any sort of illness can really wear you out as your immune system fights the bug. If you’re currently sick or recovering, take it easy and focus on resting. Fatigue is a common symptom of Covid-19 too, so take your time when returning to fitness.
Some medications can also cause fatigue, so have a look at the side effects or speak to your doctor if you’re taking any medication and feeling constantly tired.
If you feel like you lead a healthy lifestyle, manage your stress, get good sleep, and are STILL feeling tired with no obvious explanation, it’s always best to see your doctor to check there isn’t something else going on.
When you feel tired, how do YOU get your energy and your mojo back? Let us know in the comments!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.