Do you wake up from a good night’s sleep and still feel tired? Do you find yourself wanting to nod off mid way through the day, not able to keep up with the day’s tasks? Do you see yourself yawning all day long, as if your body is trying to suck in more energy?
Many of us likely answered yes to all these questions, which is a bit insane if you ask me! The other insane bit of this all is that many of us likely find all these things normal! NO WAY!
Our ancestors (and I’m not talking about your great grandma Sue here…), the ones that were roaming this earth millions of years ago, were filled with vitality for the entire day! They went to bed with the falling sun, and they rose with the rising sun, beginning their days slowly, and eventually breaking into the day’s routines of hunting, gathering, and moving across the land on which they lived!
After reading the last sentence you may be saying, “Hey, my day sounds a heck of a lot harder than that, why in the world did they have so much vitality!”. The answer is this, it’s not in what they WERE doing that’s the major difference (although it is a difference), a lot of their vitality was attributed to what they WEREN’T doing!
The Never-Ending Cycle of Fatigue…
So, all the above begs the question, why the hell are we all so depleted?
Well, as mentioned regarding our ancestors, it was what they weren’t doing that gave them so much vitality. So, in this sense, it must be what we ARE doing that’s making us feel so depleted, and this is very true!
Let’s think about a typical North Americans day…
We start off our day hitting the snooze button on our immensely annoying alarms since we’ve stayed up a bit too late the night before.
We then slowly let our feet hit the ground as we stumble to the bathroom, half awake at this point, to prepare our bodies for the day.
We shower in scalding hot water (making us feel even more relaxed and as such, more tired), still rubbing the yuckies out of the corners of our eyes as we dump a variety of immune and endocrine system depleting chemicals onto our bodies through our self care products. These are the systems that, by the way, play a major part in our energy levels and feelings of vitality…
After we finish getting ready, we stumble into the kitchen where we start brewing a hot cup of Joe and pushing down a couple of pieces of bread for a toast and jam breakfast. This rush of caffeine and carb heavy toast and jam is the only way to give us a bit of energy, alas this will not last more than a couple of hours max before we reach for the next stimulant…
We then rush into our cars to make our job before 9am, sitting in stress inducing traffic for what seems like forever!
We spend our day slaving away at the many tasks put upon us, on making us feel more and more depleted. At this point we’ve likely gone through two more coffee’s, a couple of sweet treats, and maybe a half decent lunch, although we still find ourselves nodding off at our desks!
Finally, we rush ourselves home, although our rushing pace is halted by even more stress inducing traffic…
We finally get home, where we order out due to the lack of energy we may have to go anywhere near the kitchen. After our dinner, we likely sit in front of our TV’s or phone for the remainder of the evening until we eventually fall asleep and the whole cycle begins again the next day…
Just reading that gets me stressed out! Can you now recognize the obvious differences between our day and the typical day of our ancestors?
The Most Stressed Out Glands in the Body!
Now I must tell you, it’s not just us feeling the effects of our stressful days…We have systems that are responsible for handling all this stress!
Allow me to introduce you to arguable the most important set of glands in the body, the Adrenal Glands!
The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit atop your kidneys and their whole purpose is to support our stress response.
Here’s what happens; when we are under any type of stress, the adrenals begin their stress response by emitting large amounts of your stress hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol’s role is to circulate around the body, preparing the body for the stress response and helping to turn off unnecessary processes in the body that would be energy spending during a stressful time where we would need to save energy. Digestion is inhibited, saliva production is inhibited, urinary or bowel movements are held etc. The body wants to save as much energy as it can to deal with the threat of stress! Cortisol is also released normally throughout the day to give us a sense of vitality!
Now, this response to stress is beautiful, as it has the potential to save our lives when we’re in life or death situations like being chased by a predator, however here’s the problem…the body always thinks we’re being chased by a predator, as it can’t discern between physical, emotional, mental, or environmental stress.
Because of this, our bodies are constantly living in stress mode, due to the lives we’re living as explained above!
The Adrenals Get Tired Too!
What can result from all of this is adrenal glands that become overly tired, in a condition known as Adrenal Fatigue.
This is when the adrenals become over-worked to the point of exhaustion. They can no longer keep up with the tasks of the stress response, nor can they keep up with the normal pace of cortisol release or other hormone secretion.
This is why you have such a hard time waking up in the morning or have to rely on stimulants to keep you going or start nodding off mid-day!
This is also why you feel so refreshed on vacation or a weekend getaway! This is because you’ve pulled your body out of it’s exhausting stress picture and allowed the body time to relax and recuperate, something all of us need!
Okay, I’m Tired! What’s the Solution!?
Well, as simple as it sounds, YOU NEED A BREAK!
As much as I could sit here and explain the foods you need to eat (or not eat), and the supplements you could take, the absolute best way to support your body in this extreme fatigue mode is to give yourself a break!
Instead of pushing through the day’s tasks without slowing down, take 10 mins to just sit and relax. Instead of slaving away at tasks late into the evening or stimulating yourself with electronics, GO TO BED!
And one of the most important ones, if you’ve saved up vacation time at work, TAKE A VACATION! You don’t have to fly away to some tropical island, you can even just stay home and catch up on some much-needed z’s!
The point I’m trying to make here is, the only way your body is going to recuperate is by giving it a break!
Make a conscious, daily effort to take breaks, and bring yourself out of that constant stress mode! You may be surprised in how good you feel as a result!
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Keep on living holistic,
Michael Sharp, CNP, NNCP.
DISCLAIMER: The information listed above is for educational purposes and discussion of general health information only. The information, opinions, ideas, and suggestions listed above are in no way intended to diagnose disease/health issues or act as a treatment for disease/health issues and is not to act as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor. Before taking part in any natural or alternative approach to health, these approaches should be reviewed by your doctor for approval especially if there are existing health conditions and if prescribed and or pharmaceutical medication is being taken due to the potential for interactions between medications and any natural approaches to health.