What to do if you feel tired all the time

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With such busy work schedules and home lives, it's little surprise the vast majority of us feel wiped out by the end of the week.

But if you are feeling constantly exhausted and unsure why it may be time to ask your doctor or health practitioner about Tired all the Time (TATT).

"TATT can have many causes that can be easily tested for such as anaemia, iron, B12, folic acid, vitamin D deficiency, underactive thyroid, diabetes, coeliac disease, and in some rare cases, cancer," says Dr Nirusa Kumaran, a qualified GP and founder of Elemental Health Clinic.

"But for many people feeling TATT, their GP will run some blood tests, and once the significant causes of tiredness are excluded, patients are often sent on your way to manage this themselves without knowing exactly what's making them feel tired."

READ MORE | We’re all exhausted but are you experiencing burnout? Here’s what to look out for

Here are some simple strategies to help overcome TATT:

Adopt a balanced diet

Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can reduce inflammation in the body and provide you with the best nutrients required for optimal health.

"This will also improve the composition of your gut microbiome," Dr Kumaran says. "Avoid processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugars as these can cause inflammation and thus be a precursor to many signs and symptoms."

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Even though we think alcoholic drinks and endless cups of tea may help us feel awake, in reality, all of the caffeine can have the opposite effect.

"Whilst it is normal to reach for a cup of coffee when you are tired, it is likely to be masking the underlying issue and making your symptoms worse," the expert explains.

Practise self-care

Rather than pushing yourself at the gym for an hour or running at top speed, contemplate how you may be able to introduce mind/body/spiritual techniques into your routine.

"It's wise to increase your exercise, so you feel fitter but not exhausted after a workout," Dr Kumaran notes. "And research other ways to reduce stress, such as meditation, mindfulness, journaling, and more."

READ MORE | Understanding burnout: high expectations, need for recognition, and suppressing needs can lead to it

Consider holistic medicine

Depending on symptoms, some people may benefit from a consultation with a holistic doctor.

"Common causes of fatigue that may not be considered by a GP include issues relating to your gut health and an imbalance of your gut microbiome, imbalances with your hormones, adrenal dysfunction, detoxification problems, and hidden infections," she says.

"GPs are unable to test for levels of zinc and B vitamins (other than B12 and B9), but low levels of these can also cause tiredness." 

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