Everybody feels tired from time to time.  And generally, when you get a good night’s sleep or change up your habits, this transient tiredness goes away or improves.  But sometimes, no matter what you do, you just can’t get moving or you feel like you’ve lost your motivation.  This is what true fatigue feels like.

Fatigue can be really detrimental, leaving you feeling less capable of managing the daily needs of your life. It can be difficult to make good decisions when you are too exhausted to really think.  So let’s explore some of the most common causes of fatigue and what you can do to help mitigate it.

Poor Diet – Poor diet is one of the most common reasons for exhaustion. Combined with a lack of regular cardiovascular exercise, eating a diet full of processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates can make anyone feel sluggish.  As you evaluate the reasons behind your fatigue, consider whether or not you are eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean protein.  Even short periods of bad eating can have an impact on your energy levels.  Before you schedule an appointment with your physician, check to see if incorporating healthier foods into your diet and penciling in regular exercise sessions make a difference in how you feel.

Stress – Feeling stressed can negatively impact your energy levels and cause you to feel fatigued. Research shows that stress can be problematic for your health, sleep quality and immune system. There are many different strategies you can use to relieve stress, including acupuncture, massage, meditation and exercise.  While self care can sometimes get a bad reputation, it is one of the most important steps you can take to preserve your long term health and vitality.  It can be difficult to feel energized when stress weighs you down.

Depression – In the clinical sense, depression is often thought of as a chemical imbalance that some prescription medications can sometimes help ease.  Depression can leave you feeling that you don’t have any energy or motivation.  Situational depression brought on by grief, loss or other stressors can also make you feel tired.  Dealing with complex emotions is an exhausting process in and of itself.  Sometimes it is necessary to seek professional help in the form of a therapist, grief counselor or mental health professional.  But don’t rule out how changing diet and indulging in a little self care can help fight the blues.

Illness – Chronic and acute illnesses are other common reasons for fatigue.  During flu season, for instance, many people experience fatigue after they have contracted a strain of the flu.  However, it doesn’t take exposure to the influenza virus to feel crummy during an illness.  A mild case of a sore throat can also leave you tired.  Certain conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, are well known for causing fatigue.

Prescriptions – Some prescription medications can cause fatigue.  Even if a specific medication is not known for causing fatigue, its reaction to other medications that you may be taking could cause fatigue.  If you have been prescribed a new medication, be sure to discuss any possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.  They will be able to let you know if fatigue is a common symptom of the medications that you are taking.  If a prescription medication is found to be the cause of your fatigue, it might be worth asking your doctor if an alternative is available.  Also, don’t be afraid to request or discuss natural alternatives.  Most prescriptions are based on natural remedies and the natural versions tend to have far fewer, if any side effects.

East Asian Medicine can be very beneficial in fighting off fatigue and helping you overcome it.  Through the use of acupuncture, herbal formulas and other modalities, people frequently feel more energetic and happier.  When this happens, the fatigue starts to lift and life begins to return to normal.  This is done by optimizing the natural balance of the body and mind that promotes self healing.  If you’re suffering from fatigue, give East Asian Medicine a try.  Your body will thank you.

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