What to do about your lack of energy | 5 caffeine-free tips
Lack of energy is often described as exhaustion or general fatigue. This feeling should not be confused with the need to sleep. The fatigue we are talking about today takes the form of a marked decrease in energy and motivation.
So, are you suffering from a lack of energy?
If you're not sure, don't worry. This article will help you identify this problem. You will also find a self-assessment questionnaire to help you better understand this fatigue's place in your life.
How to recognize a lack of energy
Lack of energy can be a normal reaction to exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. It is a common symptom that often goes unnoticed. The actual cause can be challenging to identify.
When fatigue is not relieved by good sleep hygiene, a healthy diet, or a stress-free environment, it should be discussed with your health care professional.
Blood tests are necessary to rule out or diagnose anemia, infection, or other illness.
Signs of low energy in your daily life
Your cognitive abilities decrease
Lack of energy hinders your ability to analyze and solve problems.
Specific professional tasks may take you longer than necessary. Your reflexes are also slower, which puts you at risk for accidents or injuries.
You doze off in the middle of the day, and it's uncontrollable!
After lunchtime, your body slows down to allow your digestive system to work. It is, therefore, normal to feel a drop in energy in the afternoon.
But suppose you're suffering from general fatigue. In that case, you're more likely to be overwhelmed by an actual attack of exhaustion and sleepiness.
Think of those times when you've fought the urge to sleep in the middle of a meeting or fallen asleep during your office hours while working from home—Yup! We're talking about those moments when you're entirely out of it for no apparent reason.
You no longer have the motivation to move
Lack of energy is also accompanied by decreased interest in physical activity and household chores.
If you suffer from this fatigue, you may find that playing the sports you love is no longer appealing. Uber Eats might also be your new lifesaver. And, cleaning... let's not even talk about it!
Fatigue shows on your face
Your complexion may look dull: your skin is drier or oilier than usual. You may notice dark circles and bags under your eyes if you lack energy. You may also be starting (or starting again) to suffer from acne.
Your psychological balance is upside down
Irritability and stress intolerance are also consequences of low energy.
It is only natural to feel overwhelmed more quickly if you are exhausted. Certain situations in your daily life become more difficult to handle than they usually would be.
What causes the lack of energy
Keep in mind that the lack of energy is actually the manifestation of the problem and not the problem itself—That's why your morning coffee... and the 2-3 others that follow during the day have little effect on your fatigue.
You first need to know the source to manage your lack of energy
Here are the most common causes:
- Iron or vitamin deficiencies (due to poor diet or malabsorption)
- Anemia (often the long-term consequence of an iron or vitamin deficiency)
- Sleep disorders
- Depression, burn-out
- Viral or bacterial infection (mononucleosis, flu, cold, etc.)
- Hypothyroidism (thyroid gland disease)
- Side effects from taking certain medications
The most common medications that can cause general fatigue or lassitude are:
- Antihistamines for allergies (even over-the-counter ones)
- Sedatives for anxiety
- Sleeping pills
Another cause of low energy is chronic fatigue syndrome, a less common disorder. In this case, the feeling of exhaustion persists for at least 6 months and does not disappear with rest.
You have a lack of energy: what to do?
First, take a step back and ask yourself the right questions.
Here’s a questionnaire to help you better understand your problem:
- What seems to have caused your general fatigue? Did it come on suddenly or gradually?
- What seems to make it worse or better?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, assuming that 1 is your best energy level (you are in top shape!) and 10 is maximum fatigue (you can’t get out of bed), how would you rate your lack of energy right now?
- What other unpleasant or unusual sensations accompany your fatigue (physical pain, feelings of hopelessness, weight gain or loss, cough, blurred vision, palpitations, etc.)?
- How long have you been experiencing this lack of energy?
- What does it mean to you? How does the problem affect your daily life?
Think about and answer these questions to the best of your ability.
Take time to reflect on it.
If, after analysis, your lack of energy stems from your lifestyle (diet, stress, lack of sleep, overtraining, or lack of physical activity), read on. The next bit of this article is for you. It may help you regain your energy.
However, if you are concerned that your lack of energy is caused by a more complex problem. It’s best to consult your health care professional immediately.
Keep the answers to the previous questions, as they may be very helpful during your medical evaluation.
5 caffeine-free tips to remedy your lack of energy
1. First, get some sleep!
Start by reviewing your sleeping habits.
If you're tired when you get up in the morning or have difficulty getting out of bed, it's most likely because you're not getting enough sleep.
That said, you need to find out if you're missing hours of sleep or if your rest is of poor quality. Both are equally energy consuming.
Check out our best tips and tricks to help you get back on track with your sleep hygiene.
2. Next, learn to breathe again
The cells in your body have little organs called mitochondria. They are like your little internal energy factories.
To provide you with adequate energy, your mitochondrias need oxygen.
People with lung disease are often under-oxygenated and suffer from chronic fatigue. However, a healthy person with short, rapid, or jerky breathing caused by stress, anxiety, or strenuous physical activity may also put up with occasional fatigue of varying degrees.
Conscious and intentional breathing is a practice that is not recommended enough to help prevent a lack of energy.
Activities such as yoga and meditation have proven to be effective to re-learn how to breathe correctly. You can also use a digital breathing coach like the free apps iBreathe or Breathwrk.
3. Feed your body essential nutrients
Among the possible causes of low energy, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies are at the top of the list.
A poor diet is often the culprit.
Please note that « poor diet » does not mean « junk food. » A poor diet means not providing your body with everything it needs to function correctly. It can also mean « dietary imbalance. »
For example, vegetarian and vegan diets do not allow for an adequate intake of vitamin B12, B6, and sometimes other essential nutrients. When this type of diet is adopted over the long term, supplements are necessary to avoid anemia and chronic fatigue.
According to recent studies, more than 60% of people who adopt vegetarianism or veganism suffer from a B12 deficiency. Approximately 20% of people 60 years and older are also at risk.
Taking a supplement that ensures an adequate intake of B1, B2, B3, B5, but especially B6 and B12, helps to avoid insidious deficiencies in essential vitamins.
4. Keep yourself well hydrated
Insufficient hydration will make you feel more tired than usual. When your body doesn't get enough water, it becomes physically and mentally weak.
Drink water throughout the day, especially in the summer during the hottest hours.
The required amount of water can vary significantly from person to person, depending on their situation. Drinking an ounce of water for each pound you weigh is a good rule of thumb.
5. Finally, reduce your coffee consumption
Have you heard of the "caffeine crash"?
This is a side effect of consuming too much caffeine.
Yes, instead of feeling energized, it's fatigue that sets in. This usually happens when you exceed the maximum recommended dose of 400 mg daily.
Because of your body's natural tolerance, you're likely to feel more tired or run down after drinking a lot of coffee (the same goes for energy drinks, some teas, and pops).
Now, how do you get more energy naturally?
To increase your energy without caffeine, a natural alternative formulated with plants with energizing properties such as maca, ginseng, and cordyceps could revolutionize your daily life.
Psst! If you're apprehensive about reducing your coffee consumption (hello, trendy little addiction), the liquid formula might be easier to incorporate into your routine.
Let's just say that replacing your cappuccino with a glass of fresh juice and adding an ampoule will probably be more satisfying than swallowing a capsule with a sip of water...
Here, at least, it's unanimous.
Adrien Gagnon Team