New year, new you: Fatigue will be your biggest enemy in 2017. Get rid of it
January 1 is all about resolutions for many of us and mine is to hit the gym. Saying it out loud helps you stick to resolutions simply because people hear you and tend to remind you, very annoyingly, if you stray from the declared path of self-improvement.
Apart from helping me stay fit and keeping my mysteriously high blood pressure in check, exercise will help me fight fatigue and keep my energy levels revved up.
I understood it during my annual vacation, when I went on adventurous hikes and came back both tired and rejuvenated. Why do I have to get tired before I peak on energy? Why do I need to physically exercise before I feel rejuvenated?
The answer lies in how all of us physically function. Many of us feel fatigued and tired most of the time without knowing why. The good news is that we can do something to change it. Here are some ways to rejuvenate your body and mind and keep your energy levels up through the day.
Get a physical
Feel tired without really knowing why? The reason could be physiological. Frequent fluctuations in blood sugar levels could leave you feeling tired, as would an under active thyroid, anaemia or rheumatoid arthritis, among others.
Once you’ve ruled out disorders that could potentially lead to energy-sapping fatigue, you can begin focusing on keeping your heart pumping optimally to re-energise and keep your brain and muscles by supplying them with oxygen and nutrients.
Get enough sleep
Exercise improves sleep quality and helps you get the restful sleep you need to feel rejuvenated to face the next day. Just make sure you do vigorous exercises at least two hours before you go to bed to give your body time to get adrenalin levels down to levels that allow you to relax.
Go for gadget shutdown
Electronic gadgets such as smartphones, a tablets, laptops and televisions emit a blue-light wavelength that affects and disrupts the release of melatonin, the natural hormone that controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle. This not only makes it harder for you to nod off but also makes sleep erratic and less restful.
During the day, it does something far worse -- it creates a disconnect between you and the world around you and prevents you from engaging with people around you, so look up from your smartphone to engage with people in real-life.
Eat fresh food
Opting for fresh food that is locally produced not only improves health and lowers your carbon footprint. Apart from the fuel spent in transporting foods from one end of the world to another, packaging used for imported fruits and packaged foods such as chips account for more than half of the 100,000 tonnes of plastic waste dumped in oceans each year. Chemicals in polythene and wraps for packaged foods, both fresh and packaged, not only kill marine life but also disrupt human endocrine system to cause hormone-related diseases, including cancers.
Listen to your body and drink as much water as you possibly can to flush out toxins and stay hydrated. Many of us confuse thirst with hunger and eat a lot of high-calorie junk food when all we need to do is drink a glass of water. Walking to a refrigerator, pantry or water-cooler for a couple of glasses of water every few hours will also help you lose weight without really trying.
Anyone who listens to get-up-and-go music to get pumped up for a workout knows how much music can affect your mindset. Just as it can energise you or evoke powerful emotions, it can also helps de-stress. Choose a genre you find most relaxing, whether classical, jazz, instrumental or something else. Keep it on your computer, in the car, and on your iPod in case of stressful emergencies. Tune in to relaxing music and tune out stress to keep your mental energy high.
While at the water-cooler, say hello. The Zulu phrase, “Ubuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” loosely translates into, “a person is a person through other people”. This humanist philosophy encourages you to stay connected with people around you and be part of a community. Staying connected lowers stress and elevates mood and is one of the major reasons why people living in many parts of Asia and Africa are less prone to degenerative disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s.
Talking and venting helps you keep grounded. Often, just getting something off your chest will help you calm down and keep adverse situations from pulling you down.