What Causes Low Energy And Fatigue
Fatigue and low energy can be caused by a multitude of things, and the only true way to get rid of these symptoms is to address the root of the problem. Thus, finding the cause is an incredibly important part of effectively treating it, and it is important to rule out any form of illness.
Common causes of low energy and fatigue include:
- Excessive alcohol and drug use
- Excessive physical activity
- Other health conditions, such as heart disease, thyroid issues, and hormonal imbalance
- The flu, the common cold, or other illnesses
Low energy is most often caused by treatable conditions, but getting to the bottom of your symptoms on your own can be difficult. If you are experiencing frequent or chronic fatigue or low energy and you are not sure what might be causing it, you should consult your medical provider in order to find the cause.
If you struggle with mental health and have a hunch that depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness is causing your fatigue and low energy, there is help to be found, and Brightside is here to support you every step of the way.
Dealing With Depression Fatigue
1. Improve the quality of your sleep
Having a restful nights sleep alleviates symptoms of depression and fatigue and helps you function better. Adopting sleep hygiene practices such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and other stimulants before bedtime, and limiting screen time in the evening will improve the quality of your sleep significantly.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise promotes good sleeping patterns and reduces fatigue associated with depression. According to research, 20 minutes of low to moderate-intensity exercise daily increases energy levels and reduces fatigue. The U.S physical activity guidelines recommend that adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to remain alert and active.
3. Speak to a doctor
While numerous strategies for dealing with depression-related fatigue exist, speaking to a doctor as soon as possible is the best. The doctors professional diagnosis lets you access the right treatment plan and avoid potential complications.
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How To Reach Out For Depression Support
Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you they just need to be a good listenersomeone who’ll listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.
Make face-time a priority. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they don’t replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression and keeping it away.
Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. Often when you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
Find ways to support others. It’s nice to receive support, but research shows you get an even bigger mood boost from providing support yourself. So find waysboth big and smallto help others: volunteer, be a listening ear for a friend, do something nice for somebody.
Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being neededboth powerful antidotes to depression.
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Try Increasing Your Activities
It can be hard to find the motivation to do pretty much anything when youre depressed. And when your activity level drops, you might feel even less motivated and more tired. This leads to a vicious cycle.
With physical tiredness, you need to rest. But with depression, its the opposite. Sleeping and sitting around often make you feel more tired and also gives you time to sit with depressive thoughts, which can make you feel worse.
One way to break this cycle is to start gently increasing your activities. This is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique known as behavioral activation. The theory is that doing things will help give you the energy to do more things.
Again, start small, and prioritize manageable, reasonable activities that bring some enjoyment, or activities that provide a sense of achievement.
Here are some ideas for gentle activities to try:
- Go for a small walk, and smell the flowers that you pass on the way.
- Watch birds in your local park.
- Make a playlist of upbeat music.
- Move your body in a way that feels good.
- Research a topic that youre interested in.
- Do a jigsaw or a crossword puzzle.
- Make a warm drink.
- Rewatch a favorite movie.
- Have a spontaneous picnic.
For more ideas and for a worksheet to help you monitor your activities and mood changes, you can check out the Behavioural Strategies for Managing Depression worksheet from the Center for Clinical Interventions in Australia.
What Kinds Of Foods Fight Depression
There are a number ofproperties in many foods that scientists believe are beneficial when it comes to mental health and depression.
Foods to look for are those packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. Between them, these nutrients can help reduce inflammation, maintain a healthy gut microbiome, regulate brain chemicals, and support brain function.For example, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with decreased symptoms and progression of depression. This diet consists of plenty of whole foods, including:
- fresh vegetables
- healthy fats, especially olive oil
On the flip side, studies have found that the Western diet is linked to a heightened risk of depression. It typically includes foods such as:
- takeout or fast food
- high-sugar desserts and other refined carbs
- processed foods
Here are a few nutrient-dense foods that could help relieve signs of depression, alongside other treatments for depression, such as therapy, medication, and other lifestyle changes.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration zaps energy and impairs physical performance. âOur research shows that dehydration makes it harder for athletes to complete a weight lifting workout,â says Dan Judelson, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University at Fullerton. “Itâs reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue even for people who are just doing chores.”
Dehydration has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.
How to know if youâre drinking enough water?âUrine should be pale yellow or straw colored,â Judelson says. âIf itâs darker than that, you need to drink water.â
Dealing With Depression In The Workplace
If youre dealing with depression at work, try these tips. They are not intended as a cure, but could help provide ways to better cope if youre dealing with depression at work.
Self-care alone cannot cure depression. Small positive changes in your daily routine may help you feel better, but working with a behavioral professional is most important for long-term management of depression.
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Reasons Depression Makes You Tired
Fatigue can be one of the first symptoms of depression, and one of the most noticeable. Those with depression might find themselves thinking things like Im tired of being tired, or I just want to sleep the day away. Are you wondering why depression makes you tired? Were here to explore several reasons why those with depression might be experiencing this.
The nature of the disease
Depression affects the neurotransmitters in the brain that control how awake and alert individuals feel. In our experience, it is very rare that fatigue is NOT one of the main symptoms of someone suffering from depression. Feeling excessively tired should be a warning sign that there is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that needs to be addressed by a mental health professional.
Depression can disrupt sleeping patterns at night, causing greater levels of fatigue during the day. It takes depressed people longer to fall asleep as well, which results in them sleeping for less time than their non-depressive counterparts. A good nights rest has many restorative properties for brain function, and when sleep is light, interrupted, or insufficiently long, restorative processes can be interrupted, and even halted. Sufficient rest is a key factor of managing a mental illness.
Fatigue can be a side effect of several antidepressant medications. Talk to your doctor if you feel your medications could be contributing to your fatigue.
Burnout Versus Mental Exhaustion
Of all the conditions weve mentioned, burnout is the most similar to mental exhaustion. They share a significant number of symptoms, and both are caused by long-term stress. Burnout, though, is classified specifically as a workplace phenomenon.
On the other hand, mental exhaustion can be caused by anything not just work stress. Mental exhaustion in one area of life can often lead to job burnout, even if the initial stress wasnt work-related.
Mental fatigue shares many symptoms with burnout, depression, stress, and physical exhaustion. Because of that, we can use some of the same techniques to overcome it.
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Small Steps Big Impact
If a person feels sustained, intense, feelings of sadness or loss of interest in activities, they may have clinical depression. People also refer to this condition as major depressive disorder.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you gain more agency in your life and improve your sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
Talk To A Mental Health Professional
Feeling tired all the time can be a sign of a mental health issue like depression. If your sleepiness becomes excessive and difficult to manage, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional. Talking with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist who can treat the underlying issue may help you feel better. They can also work with you to develop strategies to boost your energy.
to read the entire article on Verywell Mind.
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Focus On Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep plays a vital role in your mental health. Without adequate sleep, your emotional processing center becomes oversensitive to negative thoughts and feelings. Normally, the brains logic center keeps these feelings in check. However, without enough rest, this part of the brain becomes inactive. The results can magnify the symptoms of depression. Be sure to focus on:
A Regular Bedtime: Your body is designed to recognize patterns of behavior and adapt to them. A consistent sleep schedule will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Developing a Bedtime Routine: The predictable pattern of a routine triggers the sleep cycle. It also provides a chance to reduce anxiety and relax before bed. Meditation and yoga can be particularly effective for those struggling with depression as they help focus the mind and reduce the heart rate.
Avoid Stimulants and Electronics: Caffeine blocks sleep hormones for four to seven hours. Keep stimulants out of your system as they can seriously delay the onset of sleep. Also, be mindful of your electronic use. Electronics can emit a bright light that suppresses sleep hormones. They may also have content that stimulates and aggravates your mind, making it harder to fall asleep.
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
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Other Underlying Conditions And Treatments
A number of underlying physical and mental health conditions may involve feelings of lethargy and fatigue, including:
Preventing lethargy may not be possible in every case, but in general, there are some things a person can do to have more energy and stay motivated each day.
- getting enough sleep each night
- avoiding overexertion by controlling workouts and timing outdoor activities
- eating a varied, well-balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables
- avoiding sugary foods that may cause an energy crash
- avoiding high caffeine drinks and other energy drinks, which may cause a drop in energy after a few hours
- going to bed at about the same time each night
- winding down before bed, such as spending time away from screens and doing calming activities
Other tips for preventing lethargy will depend on a personâs lifestyle and risk factors. If lethargy is the result of an underlying health condition, taking measures to treat it will also help prevent feelings of lethargy.
Treatment for lethargy will depend on the underlying cause and can vary greatly from person to person.
Simple causes, such as overexertion, may only require resting, staying hydrated, and eating well.
Treatment for chronic lethargy linked to an underlying health condition will focus on treating the condition to see an improvement in symptoms.
Rest and proper nutrition can help a person recover from many cases of acute lethargy.
Management Of Residual Fatigue In Depression
The management of residual fatigue in depression may be summarized in five steps:
1. Differential diagnosis.Excessive daytime sleepiness . EDS may be due to insufficient or unsatisfactory sleep . Asking about sleep quality and amount must be part of the interview with any depressed patient. It is important also to consider hangover from hypnotics, be it over the counter or prescribed . Finally, we must remember that many psychotropics, besides hypnotics and anxiolytics, may induce EDS. Causes of EDS are listed in Table 1.
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Treating Depression And Fatigue
Therapy or counseling can help treat depression. It can also be treated with certain medications. These include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.
Taking antidepressants can sometimes make symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome worse. Thats why your doctor should screen you for depression and chronic fatigue syndrome before prescribing any medication.
Several treatments can help people with chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, or both. These include:
Physical Versus Mental Exhaustion
If youve ever left the gym feeling exhausted but exhilarated, youve felt the difference between mental and physical exhaustion. Physical fatigue, like mental exhaustion, comes from prolonged stress but from stress on the body. This could be due to not getting enough sleep, an illness, or other physical strain.
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Tap Into Your Spirituality
Religion can be an impactful source of support for many people dealing with depression, but there is no need to join a church, synagogue, or mosque unless you wish to. Simple daily practices such as meditation or adding to a list of things you’re grateful can help boost mood and overall well-being.
Meditation can have a range of beneficial effects such as lowering stress levels and helping people to become more aware of their thoughts and reactions.
Research indicates that an intervention called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy , which combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness meditation, can be helpful in treating depression and preventing future relapses of symptoms.
Studies also suggest that different types of mindfulness meditative practices can also be effective in the treatment of depression.
There are many different types of meditation, but you can get started with a simple meditative exercise with these steps:
Trust And Reach Out To Others
Depression often isolates people. Reach out to trusted, supportive family and friends. While phone calls and digital communication can be helpful, its that in-person contact that will make the biggest difference. If attending a group event feels overwhelming, invite a friend for ice cream or coffee.
You dont need to suffer alone. Start with small changes like a regular bedtime and work your way into a healthy lifestyle designed to put fatigue behind you. You can do this one day at a time.
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How Many People Are Affected By Sad
Seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans, or 3% of the population. An additional 10% may have mild cases. The disorder affects women four times more than men and usually begins between the ages of 18 and 30, though children can suffer too. Some peoples symptoms are severe enough to affect quality of life 6% require hospitalization. Those diagnosed with SAD experience major depression seasonally for at least two consecutive years. But there are significant geographic differences, especially in latitude, since winter nights are hours longer in the north than in the south.
Focus On Fresh Air And Light
Brightening your environment with light can do wonders for your mood and energy. Open all the blinds in your house. Get outdoors and take a walk. If the weather is not cooperating or you are unable to leave the house, sit by a window while reading or working on a computer.
You may also want to consider purchasing a light box , which allows you to do light therapy. This is one of the treatment modalities for Seasonal Affective Disorder . A doctor or mental health expert can recommend an individualized treatment plan to follow while using light therapy.
To treat SAD with light therapy, the National Institute of Mental Health recommends sitting in front of a light box for 30 to 45 minutes, first thing in the morning. Most people use a light box from fall to spring.
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