Fatigue can stealthily invade your life.
Fatigue can be a health problem that eats your life’s lunch while you remain unsure of what is happening to you. Your drive and ambition are often still alive, but you can find that opportunities to do anything about them are somehow passing you by. You may find yourself rationing out your energy, avoiding difficult or stressful situations and craving time to just do nothing.
Do you remember “stamina?” This is that extra push you can make appear out of nowhere to get over the top hiking that big hill, finishing off that presentation before deadline or dipping into a deep well of patience to parent a teenager. Stamina is often the first thing to disappear with “stealth fatigue.”
Has your life become about just making it through the day and the week? Are you thinking, “I don’t think I’m fatigued, but I still struggle to make it through the week—and I don’t have much of that ‘stamina stuff’ left, either.”? If so, you may be an example of stealth fatigue. Don’t let your life wind down because of this!
You’re not alone. Forty-three percent of U.S. workers believe they are too tired to function safely at work, according to a new report from the National Safety Council.
Your Lack of Energy May Be Caused by Something Else
People with stealth fatigue commonly believe that their problem is mental or environmental. “I’m just not excited about my life right now, so I don’t have a lot of energy.” Or “my schedule is killing me!” However, my observation is that most of these people have a physical problem that is causing the fatigue and that they are mistakenly blaming it on their mood or schedule.
I say this because when we handle the correct physical problems, the previously exhausted and burned out person starts a business, adopts a baby, gets married or starts training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Just yesterday a patient who has only been at the clinic for two weeks told me she had so much energy that she was starting a cottage industry in her kitchen making fruit jerky.
Fatigue is often caused by “adrenal fatigue.” Adrenals are hormone glands that control many functions in your body… like how much energy you have. When they become fatigued, you can be exhausted in the afternoons, can’t wake up in the mornings, wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get to sleep at bedtime.
Fatigue can also be caused by thyroid problems. Your thyroid is a hormone gland that controls your metabolism and the energy production of every cell in your body. If your thyroid slows down, you can be tired all the time, constipated, have foggy-thinking, constant weight gain, dry skin and hair loss.
Fatigue can be from a long-term infection that your body can’t get rid of. There are many types of these, and often you’ll have joint pain or other symptoms as well.
There are many problems that can cause poor sleep, and this can lead to fatigue. Being overweight can cause sleep apnea, preventing sound sleep. Heart problems, hormone imbalances and nutritional deficiencies can prevent sound sleep as well.
How to Regain Your Energy
If you found yourself in the descriptions above, or if you feel backed-off from life, trying to ration out your activity to avoid running out of gas… here’s what to do:
- Investigate: Find out if you have a “stealth fatigue” problem. Become aware of all the things you aren’t willing to do or attempt just because thinking about them exhausts you. Spot the choices you make where you sit on the sidelines instead of playing the game. Catch yourself making excuses for doing less, especially those that use age, fitness, mental state and schedule as reasons (there are grandfathers out there doing triathlons, you know).
- Decide: Get a clear picture of how your life could be if you were attacking it full tilt instead of hiding from it. Drop all ideas about how you can’t do things, and instead refocus on what you’d have to change and correct to become alive and energetic again.
- OK! If you’ve done #1 and #2, you are ready to find out what’s making you tired and start really living again. There are several ways you can go about getting tested, but you must start with the idea that you are looking for a cause of your fatigue that EXISTS, not looking to SEE if it exists. Go back to #1 if you need more convincing.
- Conventional medical doctors aren’t well equipped to find sources of fatigue (which is one reason so many people have it) and are particularly unable to do much about most causes that they might find. Holistic and functional medicine doctors are much better at this. You want lab tests for adrenals, thyroid, anemia, infections, etc. With the right doctor, it won’t take long till you’re looking at the physical cause of your life slowing down. It’s a great feeling, second only to getting your energy back.
The Real Danger
We life in an age of epidemic chronic health problems. More than half the population is suffering from digestive, heart, immune, and mental problems that never go away. Blood pressure, diabetes, weight and pain get treated with drugs that just manage the symptoms (somewhat) while the cause of the problems remain untreated and continues to make the person worse and worse.
Fatigue is just one of these symptoms, and it has the power to stealthily destroy your life.
The real danger is in the fact that SO MANY PEOPLE have these problems that it looks normal! Your doctor expects you to develop chronic conditions—he thinks it would be weird if you were healthy.
My advice: DON’T SETTLE. You can be healthy, happy, productive and a huge help to your family friends and the world in general. Do NOT let your health slow or stop your boundless creativity and joy of living, even if everyone you know is dragging around.
I’d be happy to get you started on fixing your energy. If you’ll fill out a health assessment on this website, I’ll go over the clues with you on a free phone consult (limited to greater Atlanta area). This way you can take action on your fatigue problem right now!