This post by integrative medicine expert Dr. Lissa Rankin will help you diagnose your underlying fatigue and regain your energy naturally. If you're interested in learning more about holistic mind-body medicine, check out her course: Getting Back to 100 Percent: A Six-Step Process for Radical Self-Healing.
We are a sleep-deprived nation.
The fact that Americans spend $11 billion in coffee shops each year speaks to how much energy we have as a culture. We brag about getting five or six hours of restless sleep, then complain about how tired we feel.
This kind of exhaustion isn't normal. Chronic fatigue syndrome is its own mysterious medical diagnosis, characterized by symptoms like profound fatigue, memory loss, sore throat, swollen lymph noes, muscle aches, and headaches. But you can suffer from the disorder even if you don’t exhibit all of these symptoms.
Here are 10 subtler signs that you are chronically fatigued:
1. You never awaken naturally.
People who are well-rested tend to wake up spontaneously. If you’re always waking up to an alarm clock, you may not be getting enough sleep.
2. You feel tired upon awakening.
It’s normal to feel a bit groggy in those betwixt-and-between moments that surround your initial awakening, but you should start to feel energized within a few minutes of getting out of bed. If you have to drag yourself through your morning rituals, you may be chronically fatigued.
3. You dread exercise.
When you’re chronically fatigued, expending extra energy on exercise can feel impossible. You may find yourself either glumly slogging through every gym session, or you may just avoid them altogether.
4. You need pick-me-ups throughout the day.
If you rely on coffee or sugar to boost your energy throughout the day, chronic fatigue may be an issue for you.
5. You avoid making plans or cancel at the last minute.
People with chronic fatigue tend to be unreliable when it comes to commitments. Since fatigue can sneak up on you at inopportune moments, you may avoid committing to plans, or you may have a tendency to bail out at the last minute.
6. You fantasize about naps.
If you can’t make it through the day without jonesing for a siesta, your energy levels may not be optimized.
7. Your exhaustion is noticeable to others.
Ask your friends if you seem tired. Some people are stoic and may not mention it, but if you’re chronically fatigued, there’s a good chance your nearest and dearest have noticed.
8. Your sex life suffers.
It’s understandable that when you’re constantly tired, sex may seem less attractive than sleep. If you’re saying no to your partner a lot, there certainly may be other issues involved, but chronic fatigue is definitely hard on the libido.
9. You tend to feel anxious or depressed.
We all want to feel good during our waking hours, and if you always feel tired, this may predispose you to anxiety and depression.
10. You’re not singing your song.
We all have a song within us, waiting to be sung, and everyone has a unique purpose to find and fulfill. When you’re chronically fatigued, you may feel out of touch with the song you’re here to sing, and if you are aware of what that song is, you may be too tired to bring it into being.
After years of working with chronically fatigued patients, I've found that there is hope for recovery, and it isn't necessarily what you think. Sure, getting 8-9 hours of sleep and eating the right foods will boost your energy levels, but these more obvious approaches will not necessarily lead to lasting change.
In order to get to the root of your fatigue, it's essential that you ask yourself what your body needs to feel energized on a deeper level. Here are a few questions to consider:
- What is my body saying no to?
- Where is my life out of alignment with my truth?
- What brave life change might be necessary to free me from chronic fatigue and maximize my energy levels?
The answers to these questions might be surprising—you may realize that you need to quit your job, end your toxic marriage, or finally take the steps necessary to pursue your vision.
Fear usually rides shotgun with these epiphanies, but when people have the strength to take inspired action in the direction of what makes them come alive, radical health changes can ensue.
Choosing this kind of healing path isn’t as easy as getting more sleep, eating a better diet, or taking lots of supplements. You’ll have periods of intense discomfort as you wake up out of the slumber of your denial. But as someone who used to take seven drugs for a whole host of chronic health conditions and is now down to half the dose of one drug, I can promise that the results are worth it.
Chronic fatigue can be the body’s way of screaming for your attention, begging you to get back on track with the path of your greatest flow and joy. When you commit to impeccable alignment with your soul’s truth, miracles can happen. It’s not a guarantee, but chronic fatigue can be cured.