Some days, do you feel like the Energizer Bunny with a weak battery? You start strong, but by mid-afternoon you can’t quite keep going and going. Fatigue afflicts everyone at one time or another. Assuming your doctor has ruled out serious medical causes, there are a few basic steps you can take to “recharge your batteries.”
Pace yourself. A go-getter likes to keep going, but don’t risk overtaxing yourself. If you pace yourself, you can still get things done. Instead of burning through all your battery life in two hours, spread it out between morning tasks, afternoon tasks, and evening activities — with rest and meals between.
Take a walk or a nap. There’s nothing more satisfying than a short power nap when you’re pooped out. However, if you have trouble sleeping at night, napping can make the insomnia worse. If that’s the case for you, get moving instead. Get up and walk around the block, or just get up and move around. If you are not an insomniac, enjoy that 20- to 30-minute power nap.
Fatigue is a symptom, not a disease, and it's experienced differently by different people. Fatigue from stress or lack of sleep usually subsides after a good night's rest, while other fatigue is more persistent and may be debilitating even after restful sleep. Harvard's Special Health Report, Boosting Your Energy, provides advice and information from world-renowned medical experts to help you discover the cause of your fatigue and find the right treatment or lifestyle changes.
Skip most supplements. You may have heard about energy-boosting or “anti-aging” supplements. There is no evidence they work. There is no evidence that DHEA offers any real benefits, and the side effects remain a question mark. You especially shouldn’t be buying it from ads in the back of a magazine, because you don’t know what’s in it. Iron. Iron only improves energy if you are clearly deficient, which a doctor can check with a blood test. Unless you are low in iron, you don’t need to take it, and getting too much iron can be harmful. B vitamins. It is true that B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12) help the body convert food into the form of energy that cells can burn, but taking more B vitamins doesn’t supercharge your cells. That’s a myth.
Fuel up wisely. A sugary bakery roll delivers plenty of calories, but your body tends to metabolize them faster, and then you can end up with sinking blood sugar and fatigue. You’ll maintain a steadier energy level by eating lean protein and unrefined carbohydrates. Try low-fat yogurt with a sprinkling of nuts, raisins, and honey. Your body will take in the carb-fiber-protein mix more gradually. Don’t skip meals. Your body needs a certain number of calories to get through the work of the day. It’s better to space your meals out so your body gets the nourishment it needs all through the day.