As women, it’s easy for us to overschedule our lives—going to the gym, work, friends, family, me-time—we try to squeeze it all in. It’s no wonder we’re so tired all the time. Sure, getting a good night’s sleep helps, but lack of shut-eye isn’t always the culprit.
“Women not only have more on their plates,” says Yuri Elkaim, the author of The All-Day Energy Diet. “It is at a higher intensity.” And if we’re tired because if it, there’s something wrong, he says. “Energy is the measuring stick to health.”
Read on to find out why we are all exhausted and learn what to do about it.
1. You’re Exercising Too Hard
Unfortunately, our workouts can be a double-edge sword. They can help alleviate stress, but as Elkaim explains, training is a form of stress. Inflammation is a byproduct of exercising, and it’s what helps make muscles grow. But if your body has already got more inflammation than it knows what to do with, it’s difficult for it to recover from your HIIT workout. Make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time to recover.
2. Your Adrenal Glands Are Shot
Adrenal glands produce the hormones that we need to function, such as cortisol (which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps control blood pressure). If you feel completely exhausted after an emotional event (say you have a bad e-mail exchange with your boss), or are lethargic in the morning, or you have a lumpy feeling in your throat, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, says Elkaim. If you suspect this might be the case, make an appointment with your doctor and a salivary hormone test to confirm if this is the source of your fatigue.
3. Your Life is Cluttered
“A cluttered mind saps energy,” Elkaim says. Clutter is distracting. According to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin women who felt their homes were cluttered were more fatigued and had a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol. Look around your home and office; are there any clear surfaces? No? Then it’s time to get organized. Having space allows you to feel like you have room to breathe and move, which can help you feel more rested.
4. You Have Undiagnosed Sensitivities
You could be having slight immune reactions to anything from outdoor or indoor allergens to certain foods. If you believe this may be the case, speak to your doctor about allergy testing or, if you think food is the culprit, consider going on an elimination diet, such as Whole 30 to see if you feel better.
5. Eating Too Little
Not eating enough or eating the wrong foods can make you sluggish. Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes protein and a complex carb to keep your energy levels up. Conversely, eating too much can make you feel tired, too. “Eating less often gives you more energy,” Ekaim says. If your body is too busy digesting food, it doesn’t have as much energy to give to other processes. Pay attention to hunger cues and eat less when you feel full.
Related:Make Your Carbs Count
6. Your Diet
You read Oxygen so your diet is pretty clean, right? “If you’re tired, something is wrong,” Elkaim says. Foods that contain sugar and caffeine for a pick-me-up is a lot like a credit card, Elkaim says. “They give you a temporary boost but wreak havoc on your blood sugar and rob your energy.”
“Foods should reduce energy burden on the body and the foundation of energy are plants.” So then the question changes to how many green vegetables are you eating? The answer should be a lot.
Sure, some of these fixes aren’t easy but commit to them and you will be healthier.