We hear people say “I’m depressed,” but not “I’m fatigued.” We don’t usually complain about fatigue because we all assume that work can and will tire us out. Brenda, a 30-year old waitress shared, “We all feel tired, I’m tired of this job, but I have to work and telling someone about it doesn’t make sense.” What is fatigue? Dr. Ronald Hoffman, in his book Tired all the time calls it “bone-deep weariness.” It’s when you have absolutely no energy to do anything. When you mention fatigue, no warning bells sound off, “It’s not a fatal disease…” so people dismiss it as lack of sleep or overexertion.

Fatigue can strike anyone, but it’s more common among people in their late twenties to late thirties, aptly labeling the condition as the “yuppie flu.” Statistics show that fatigue is also more common among women workers. According to Dr. Hoffman, “To provide us with the impetus to rest, we are given fatigue, which manifests itself as the intense longing for sleep.” Our bodies need to be in a state of balance or “homeostasis” so when this balance is tipped, our bodies respond by shutting itself down.

It isn’t surprising that we get fatigue from stress. How exactly does this work? When we get stressed, it depletes our bodies of nutrients and minerals and we feel weak. When we experience stress, our bodies convert stored protein to sugar (for energy) and then our blood sugar level goes up. At the same time, blood pressure increases. Then minerals are pulled from the bones and salt is retained in the body. Magnesium is also then flushed from the body. With nutrients depleted, the body feels sluggish and inefficient.

Fatigue doesn’t necessarily stem from lack of sleep. Studies show that fatigue is also linked to hypothyroidism, depression, sleep disorders, nutritional deficiency, allergies, environmental toxins and fluctuating sex hormones in elderly women.

Carbo make us feel tired
Before you indulge in your regular breakfast fare of a dozen pandesals or fried rice, think again. Eating too much carbohydrates-rich food can cause exhaustion. Carbohydrates increase our brain levels of a neurotransmitter called “serotonin,” which naturally makes us feel sleepy. Eating fiber-rich foods like oatmeal and wheat eliminates our bodies of toxins. Toxins make us feel heavy.

Depression can lower the immune system
People do a lot of multi-tasking and forget that they need to recharge. Most people say that they’re depressed and yet they don’t do anything about it. Focus on few tasks. When things get too overwhelming, our natural reaction is to let everything slide and feel withdrawn. Try to take up a hobby or some other activity that lets you relax.

Don’t get sick in the office by putting plants in your work area and get lots of fresh air
Environmental toxins damage our cell membranes and disrupt enzyme pathways. Try to get as much sun and fresh air as possible. Nothing can make us sicker than staying in an enclosed building with no ventilation and getting exposed to radiation from computer screens. Try adding English Ivy and Golden Pothos since these plants are good at absorbing benzene, formaldehyde and toxic gases. So instead of surfing the Internet on your break time, try taking a walk in the park or in the mall.

Exercise is still supreme
Exercise provides a lot of benefits that no vitamin supplement can ever make up for. Women benefit more from it because exercise lowers estrogen levels. Excessive amounts of estrogen not only make us fat (and sluggish) but it is also linked to female cancers and depression. Take up a sport if going to the gym doesn’t suit your fancy.

Get some sleep
When we don’t get enough sleep, the body will try to recuperate as much “sleep time” as possible. Sleep deprivation also causes headaches and short-term memory loss. Don’t take naps in the afternoon since it disrupts your sleep schedule. Don’t pull off consecutive all-nighters (a.k.a. OT) and gimmicks. Keep practicing these tips and keep fatigue out of your system.

By Andrienne Gaerlan