Millions of people complain of tiredness and put it down to their busy schedules. But what most of us do not realise is how much of our fatigue comes from our lifestyle choices. You can follow these few simple steps and see the difference it makes to how you feel at the end of the day.
Do not miss out on breakfast
The old saying about 'breakfast being the most important meal of the day' is now a proven fact. Studies have shown that a morning meal makes you feel better, both physically and mentally. The main reason for this is that it jumpstarts your metabolism and gets you into gear. Also, eating breakfast regularly lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body according to a study carried out at Cardiff University.
Try a mini-meal
A normal meal requires more time and energy for your body to digest. This can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Instead, try and eat smaller meals at regular intervals. This also cuts down the risk of diabetes since your body does not have to break down large amounts of food at any given time. Plus, your energy levels remain constant throughout the day.
Take a few minutes and look at what you normally eat. Your regular diet probably consists of items like wafers and sweets. These may taste great but have no nutritional value. Snacking is okay, but opt for healthy alternatives like nuts and fresh fruits. These are not just low on calories. They are a good source of fibre, which acts as a regulator for slowly releasing carbohydrates into your bloodstream.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet. At every meal, aim to have carbohydrates and proteins, along with a little healthy fat. Walnuts and tuna, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are good examples of healthy fat. They play a vital role in keeping your brain functioning at its best. They also stimulate your body to store the extra carbohydrates as glycogen instead of fat.
Do not forget the fluids
Water makes up 85 percent of your body, and most of it forms a part of your blood. When the water content of your body drops, it makes your blood thicker. This means your heart has to pump harder to carry blood to the different parts of your body, which contributes to fatigue. To prevent this, your daily fluid intake should include six to eight glasses of water. Caffeine has a dehydrating effect onyour body . Reduce your consumption of coffee, colas, and chocolates. If you simply cannot do without coffee, try and limit its intake to one or two cups in the morning. Consuming caffeine a few hours before bedtime may interfere with your sleep. Consequently, it will make you feel more tired the next day.
Feel better within
Feeling good mentally plays a big role in how your body feels physically. Mental stress is one of the biggest contributors to fatigue. You need to find a way to relax your mind when things get difficult, to make sure your troubles do not get you down.
There is no one-stop solution to keeping the blues away. But there are a lot of options available for you to try and see what works for you.
- Listening to music is an excellent way to take your mind off things. If it entices you to dance, this will help on the exercise front too.
- Take a shower when you get home to stimulate those tired nerve endings. If you need a quick solution at work, try splashing some cold water on your face.
- Wear one of your favourite outfits. When you see your reflection during the day, it will act as a pep-up.
- Express your feelings. Talking about your fears and anxieties is a great way to relieve tension. Anger tends to increase your heart rate and blood pressure, so try not to hold grudges. You will only make yourself more miserable.
- Practice deep breathing. When you breathe from below your diaphragm, you maximise the amount of oxygen reaching your brain as well as the rest ofyour body.
- Do some volunteer work. Helping people makes you happier and gives you a sense of well being. This leads to an improved mood and, hence, a healthier body.
- Get a daily workout, usually in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates blood flow and increases the production of endorphins, which are feel good chemicals in the body.
Rest is important too
Sleep is usually the first casualty of a busy day. We tend to cut back on it, especially when those deadlines loom large. But lack of proper rest can take a toll on your concentration and productivity, and leave you feeling terrible. The key to staying alert lies in knowing how much sleepyour body needs to recuperate, and making sure you get it.
A good way to start is by limiting time you spend in front of the television and computer. The light from the screen limits the production of melatonin, a hormone that tellsyour body it is time to sleep. Set a deadline for television viewing and stick to it. See that the deadline is at least an hour before you normally go to bed.
Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it. Small things such as having a warm bath, or drinking a glass of milk, have a relaxing effect on the body. You could also try reading a book to help you fall asleep. Avoid something fast paced though, as that will keep you up instead.
Clear your mind before you hit the sack. Write down a list of things that need to be done, so you do not spend the night worrying that you will forget something in the morning. If you are in bed and have trouble falling asleep within fifteen minutes, get out of bed and try something relaxing to get yourself to feel sleepy. Something like knitting or meditation should help.
If you have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis, examine your environment. If you have a lot of external noise getting in, try a pair of ear plugs to block it out. Also, do not let pets share your sleeping space since they tend to toss and turn about, which may disturb you. You do not need to keep your pet out of the room, just designate a separate sleeping area and put a bed for your pet over there.
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