"I can't seem to find the motivation to do everything I need to."
"My doctor says I'm fine, but I just feel 'off.'"
"On paper, I look healthy. Why am I tired all the time?"
"Everything exhausts me."
"I'm just trying to get through the day. Everything feels like a chore."
Sound familiar? These quotes are a small sample of things I hear from my clients on a daily basis. Why is everyone tired all the time? When we feel tired, it's nearly impossible to thrive.
Aside from perfectly normal reasons to be tired - a new baby in the house, a stressful event, recovering from illness, etc - we don't have to feel tired day in and day out for no apparent reason. Our bodies are designed for health and vigor. When you are feeling tired all the time, your body is sending you a message. What is it saying?
Here are the top 4 reasons why you may be tired...
1. You Aren't Allowing Yourself to Rest
Rest is incredibly important to our overall health and well-being. For some reason, our society has made us feel like it's a bad thing to need rest. It's not! Time each day to wind down and rest is perfectly normal and should be welcomed.
A lot of times, a client will come to me wanting to work on fatigue. He/she will tell me all of the reasons why they can't be tired - too much to do, work to get done, chores to finish, kids to tend to, places to go, people to see, errands to run, etc. They don't have time for fatigue. They want me to "fix" them so they can get on with their busy schedule. Possibly the only thing that needs fixing is the busy schedule.
If you are tired, rest. Don't hold judgement around it thinking, "Oh, I shouldn't be tired. I need to just push through this." All that does is suppress your body's only way of communicating with you, and the signal will come back louder next time. You will need way more than just a quiet day at home - you could have a full blown illness and be in bed for a week.
As we gently listen to our body's signals for rest and quiet time, we will be rewarded with increased energy and vitality.
2. Your Adrenal Glands are Tired
Your adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce adrenaline and other hormones. They are made to help the body deal with stress. When we are living in a constant state of stress and overwhelm, the adrenal glands can get fatigued.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue are:
- Difficulty coping with stress
- Salt cravings
- Feeling fatigue even after a good night's rest
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain in the left knee
- Sensitivity to light
- Brain fog
In Chinese medicine, each organ/gland is connected to certain emotions. The adrenal glands are connected to humiliation, jealousy, longing, overwhelm, pride, shame, shock, unworthy, and worthless. If you feel a lot of those emotions, it will weaken the adrenal glands. And, if you have weak adrenal glands, you will be more prone to feeling those emotions. I discuss ways to release emotional stress in the video.
How do you heal the adrenal glands?
The best and quickest way to heal the adrenal glands is to give yourself 1-2 weeks of nothing but self care. Inform your spouse, close friends, and loved ones that you need time to heal. Ask for support. Have food brought in. Lay in bed. Watch funny movies. Sleep when you're tired, eat when you're hungry. Get some fresh air. Seem impossible? Make your healing a priority, find the support you need, and you will thrive. You can't be fully present and help anyone else when you are burned out.
Make sure you are appropriately salting your food with high quality sea salt (I use Redmond's Real Salt).
Slow down your schedule. Make room for self care, joy, laughter, friends, walks in nature, and love.
I suffered from a pretty major case of adrenal fatigue, and was able to heal it with the things I outline in my book, "A Handbook for Healing." You can get 3 free sections of this e-book when you sign up for my newsletter on my Home page.
Slow down your sugar habit. Sugar weakens the adrenal glands and throws off our body chemistry. This one deserves it's own section.
3. Your Food is Draining You
Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with processed and sugary foods. We feel isolated, hungry, tired, bored, and disconnected; and it's easy to fill those gaps with sugary food. Processed foods are hard to digest, filled with toxins, stress out our bodies and minds, and dull our senses. They are much harder to digest than real food. Our body knows what to do with real food (vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grains, healthy animal products) and doesn't recognize fake foods. Our bodies get tired from eating processed foods simply because it takes a lot more energy to digest them.
A lot of people reach for sugar when they feel tired. Sugar can give us a brief energy boost, but then we crash hard and feel more tired than before. Processed sugar can stress out all the parts of our body - especially the hormones, adrenal glands, and nervous system. It wreaks havoc on our emotional state. Ever heard of an "angry drunk"? Well, sugar can do the same thing. We can get crabby, anxious, depressed, angry, overwhelmed, short tempered, and frustrated from a daily sugar habit.
Sugar is pervasive in our society, and most people tell me that they feel addicted to it. They know that they don't want to be eating it, but cant seem to stop. This is usually from the emotional drivers behind the cravings, rather than a physical addiction.
The majority of the time, we eat sugar to numb out our negative emotions. It's really about addressing the emotional connections, finding peace within, and transforming your entire relationship with food.
It's also about releasing the guilt around food. Trying to force ourselves to stop eating something we love out of sheer willpower, because we think it's "bad", never works. A lot of the time we crave sugar because we think we "can't" have it. Try this the next time you reach for that bowl of ice cream - just enjoy it. Really savor every bite. Be present with it. You might notice that you don't need as much to feel satisfied. Or, possibly, that you don't even like the taste of it.
4. You are Carrying Emotional Baggage
Several years ago, when I was suffering from an auto-immune disease, panic attacks, adrenal fatigue, and constant stress, I was trying to "fix" myself with a whole host of holistic treatments. I had the "perfect" diet, took loads of expensive supplements, saw practitioner after practitioner after practitioner, got into bed early, and on and on. But, I was at rock bottom. I was doing everything I could, and just wasn't feeling any better.
Turns out, I was carrying stress with me 24/7 on an energetic level. Stress in the form of trapped emotions. Trapped emotions are actual energies that get stored in the body after a stressful event. A lot of my clients will say something like, "ever since ______ (my divorce, my illness, the birth of my child, etc), I haven't felt good". This is exactly what trapped emotions do in the body. We hold the stress of that event in our body, and we have to know how to release it.
These trapped emotional traumas and stress cause all sorts of problems in the body. Fatigue, anxiety, depression, digestive complaints, and pain are some of the big ones. When you know something is "off" and you can't put your finger on it, it may be energetic stress.
You can release a lot of this energetic stress on your own - through prayer, healing laughter, rest, meditation, time in nature, etc. But, sometimes it takes extra support to release deep seated stress from the body.
Next time you feel fatigue, do the 30 Second Healing Activator Exercise, take 5 minutes to check in with your body, see what it needs, and rest. Nothing is wrong with you. You aren't broken. Fatigue is communication. Listen, heal, and thrive!
Someone in your life feeling fatigue? Please forward this blog post to them!