Have you ever just felt tired for multiple consecutive days… like 5 or more days in a row? No, returning from a family trip to Disney World does not count :) I am talking more about just feeling tired during regular work weeks. For some it could just be subtle and others it could be overtly falling asleep during meetings or important tasks. You might also notice it is just really hard to wake up in the morning. Or, some could possibly just be sitting down on the couch each night and falling sleep earlier than normal.
This could be happening for several reasons! Nonetheless, it does not mean you have a clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. It just means you NEED TO PAY ATTENTION if you start feeling this lethargy and fatigue hanging around for an extended time.
What does this mean and what can you do? First, make sure you have your labs done with your primary care doctor. Do not overlook the importance of getting your testosterone, thyroid, vitamin D, and few other important endocrine deficiencies that might be leading to your fatigue. I will discuss these in greater depth in the next few days. The important note is go get your blood work done asap! Don’t think you are tougher than an actual medical problem…. sorry you just aren’t!
- Make sure you don’t start compensating with more coffee and caffeine. This will only lead to bigger crashes and is only a band aide to what might be a bigger problem.
- Instead, focus on your protein intake. Make sure you are getting adequate protein during the day.
- You also will want to notice your hours at work. Have you slipped into a habit of working more than 50+ hours/ week?
- You might want to refer back to my previous posts from September of this year about sleeping tips. Work on your sleep and improve your sleep quality! This can increase your energy when feeling fatigued.
- Notice if you have had any other significant changes in routine, diet, exercise, work, and family life.
- Track (i.e. take notes… you can even do it on your phone) times when you feel most fatigued and notice how the rest of your body is feeling. Also, take notes on what you were doing 1 hour before starting to feel fatigued. This can help you gain insight as to variables that might be leading to fatigue. On the flip side, pay attention to moments when you feel more energy and notice what you were doing during those times.
- Get on your feet and get outside! This might be one of the most important tips for fatigue. Our bodies follow the supply and demand principle. If we want more energy we must use energy! Start small… just go walk outside for 15-20 minutes.
Again, fatigue alone does not mean you have depression. However, it does increase your chance by 2.6 times if you do not address the issue now. It is important to remember that if this is going on for multiple days then the best thing you can do it take care of it and not avoid it. Avoiding only makes us weaker!
*If you, or someone you know, are experiencing a mental health emergency please go to the nearest emergency room or dial 911. These tips are not to be used in times of crisis.