If you suffer from normal or chronic fatigue and relaxation seems out of reach, you’ve come to the right place. First of all, we need to discuss normal fatigue as opposed to chronic fatigue syndrome.
While most people experience some level of tiredness at various points in their daily lives (after heavy meals or following a bad night sleep), some people spend months in a state of constant fatigue without an obvious reason behind it. It’s important to know which group you’re in… and you may need to consult a doctor if you’re part of the latter group.
It’s normal (albeit not very polite) to nod off during a boring meeting or while watching a dull movie, especially when you’ve been stressed out, had a bad night’s sleep, eaten unhealthy or large meals or even because of certain prescription drug’s side effects.
While I call this “typical fatigue”, this isn’t a medical term, just my own way of referring to it. In a nutshell, we’re talking about short-term fatigue, to which you can associate a cause.
For example, if you’ve been studying hard, eating poorly and going to bed at weird hours for a full week, it’s normal to feel tired. Once your exam is over and you get back into your regular eating, sleeping and activity pattern, this type of fatigue should go away on its own, or with the help of some relaxing activities like yoga, meditation or even reading.
Similarly, if you suffer from a medical condition such as depression, MS, ulcers, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc., you will likely experience fatigue as a result of your condition or as a prescription drug side effect.
In some cases, a simple and easy-to-fix deficiency could be to blame. For example, an iron deficiency could make you feel exhausted and around 15% of North American women have iron-deficiency anemia. A simple blood test should point out this deficiency and you should then increase your iron intake by changing your diet slightly (through adding red meat, spinach, tofu, pumpkin, beans, etc.)
If you suffer from fatigue fairly regularly, you may want to review your lifestyle habits and consider changing them. For example, you could do the following:
- Stop smoking
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
- Eat less processed food, such as cakes, burgers, white bread or anything with white flour
- Start an exercise program such as a daily walk
- Get 8 hours of sleep per night
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If you’ve been experiencing severe fatigue for more than six months as well as flu-like symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. You may suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. While there is no exact test to determine if you suffer from this condition, your doctor should be able to recognize it. For example, you should mention these symptoms to your doctor if you’ve been experiencing them:
- Sore throat, fever and other flu-like symptoms
- Muscle pain without an apparent cause
- Joint pain without swelling or redness
- Painful headaches
- Severe fatigue that you can’t attribute to anything in particular (lifestyle or medically speaking)
- Loss of concentration or even memory lapse
- Tender lymph glands
- Poor quality of sleep (falling and remaining asleep)
While there isn’t a cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, your doctor should be able to recommend ways to manage its symptoms and improve your quality of life as well as energy levels.
More Resources on Sleep and Relaxation
For more information on chronic fatigue and relaxation techniques, visit these pages: