If you have a chronic illness, fatigue and brain fog might feel permanent – read on to get three tips to fight them!
I know from experience that it’s no fun to always feel like you are exhausted and half “out of it” morning to night. Many of us who battle fibromyalgia and other chronic health problems deal with lack of energy and it is a double whammy – fatigue and brain fog start to feel like a permanent part of your existence. You’re too tired to get ahead and then THAT feeling can easily cross from disappointment to despair and even depression, which zaps your energy even further.
While fatigue and that feeling of a foggy brain are hallmarks of many health conditions, I have found there are certain self-care tips that can help you, and if you ignore these, you will likely feel worse. Of course, I mention bio-individuality a lot and that means we are all different and what works for me may not work for you. In any event, these tips will never hurt and can quite possibly help you, as they have helped me and many of my clients. Since they are all healthy practices anyway, there’s no harm in making them priorities!
- Be on top of your nutrition. For me that meant discovering I had several food sensitivities and then avoiding those foods. Some of the main culprits are gluten, sugar (and sugar substitutes), corn, soy, dairy, and eggs. It’s worth getting a food sensitivity test from a functional medicine practitioner like myself (mainstream docs typically test only for allergy, not sensitivity) so that you know what you are up against. I was eating foods from the above list several times per day, thinking I was eating healthy and in fact, I have sensitivity to all of them. I was getting sicker by the day and my symptoms were mainly fatigue, headaches, rapid weight gain and brain fog. Regarding food sensitivities, the best plan is, “Test. Don’t guess.”
- Learn and practice good sleep hygiene. There are certain habits that help you sleep more soundly, including having a consistent bedtime and waking time (even on weekends), avoiding TV and electronics one hour before bed, developing calming rituals before bed (like a warm cup of herbal tea or relaxing soak in the tub), and getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
We all have a million excuses why we can’t possibly squeeze in 8 hours, and that’s exactly what they are – excuses. Put your health first and realize that if you don’t leave yourself sufficient time to recharge, you will not feel well. Sleep is not a luxury and you don’t get extra points for cheating your sleep time to work more hours. I know. I did this and burnt out fast.
- Stay uber-hydrated. You’ve heard this before but are you REALLY drinking enough filtered water? Maximum health benefits (and brain benefits) happen when you get at least half your weight in ounces of water. That means a 150-pound person will need 75 ounces of water per day. Our bodies are about ¾ water, especially our brains, so you understandably suffer when you are dehydrated. Tip: get a jump on the day by drinking an 8- to 10- ounce glass first thing in the morning when you wake. Besides being tired, dehydration also causes aches and pains, triggers headaches, and can mimic hunger, causing you to overeat.
What tips have you had success with while battling feeling tired and brain fog? Which one of these will you try this week? Please post your comment here so we can all share what’s working and maybe learn a new trick!