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It’s a lifestyle

January 9, 2013

How can you make 2013 the best year of your life if you are exhausted all of the time? If we are going to start the year strong, we should start by looking at some common energy thieves and figure out ways to lock them up.

1. Rule out health
problems.
Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor if you feel unusually tired.
Many medications can contribute to fatigue. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, diuretics, and other drugs. If you begin to experience fatigue after starting a new medication, tell your doctor.

2. Inactivity.
If you’re too tired to exercise, exercise is possibly exactly what you need. That sounds counterintuitive, but like my mother used to say, “don’t tell me you don’t like it unless you try it”. Exercise will actually help you feel more energetic. Instead of the 2:30 energy drink I hear about on the radio, get your body moving for 10 to 20 minutes, the more muscles you use the better. This could be as simple as a brisk walk. You’ll receive multiple benefits: you won’t add extra chemicals or calories to your body; you’ll actually burn a few extra calories; if you take it outdoors, you’ll get the added benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and free vitamin D.

3. Dehydration.
Think of water as another macro nutrient in your body: Carbohydrates, protein, fat and water. Your body needs water to create energy. Being even a little dehydrated can make you feel tired. Think about it. Our body is about 60% water and that fluid is instrumental in so many of our vital body process: digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. Water also helps energize your muscles: cells that don’t have the correct balance of fluids and electrolytes can shrivel, causing muscle fatigue. Fatigued muscles don’t work as well. They feel tired. Give your body sufficient amounts of water throughout the day.

4. Refined sugars.
This is the year I am eliminating all of the refined sugar I can from my diet. Sugars can lead to brain fog (the technical term). Research out of the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that sugar forms free radicals in the brain’s membrane and compromises nerve cells ability to communicate. This can have repercussions like blanking out, being unable to remember instructions, process ideas and handle our moods. Sound familiar? We don’t need refined sugar, we’re just sort of... addicted to it. You don’t have to go cold turkey, but do start eliminating refined sugar from you day. A great way to begin is to stop drinking soda or any sweetened drink. A 12-ounce can has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. And sugar free options are toxic in other ways. Dr. Nancy Appleton, in her book, Suicide By Sugar, found that two teaspoons of added sweetener at a time is the threshold for healthy individuals, not more than two or three times a day. So if you find a completely sweetener free life unappealing, as I do, enjoy some raw honey in a cup of tea or on a piece of toast and enjoy (lots of other health benefits, as well).

6. Sleep
Recuperation through sleep is responsible for rebuilding and preparing the body to handle the demands of life. Rest and sleep enable the body to repair most effectively at the time when fewer demands are placed upon it. There is a whole fascinating area of study devoted to sleep and artificial light and subsequent ill health effects, but that is for another time. For now, make sure your bedroom is dark. Hotel room dark! Close the curtains and block all artificial light. This includes clocks, the artificial glow from all of your electronic devices: computers, cell phones, televisions and satellite dishes...everything that glows red, green or blue. Also, try and keep your room a bit cooler. The first few nights I did this, I slept so hard that I woke up with puffy eyes, but I was refreshed!
Notice what works and what doesn’t work. If you are exhausted today, evaluate what you did the day before that may have contributed to this and make changes as needed. We have a lot of exciting, fun productive things to accomplish in 2013. Start by fine tuning your energy and next month we’ll really get going!
If you have any particular energy strategies or drainers, I’d love to hear about them. You can email me at tstebbins@nmhs.net

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