Our bodies handle a lot of stress on a daily basis. Between work, relationships, lack of sleep, and physical exercise, life's challenges and expectations can take a toll on our minds and limbs and lead to chronic fatigue or burnout. Thus, it's important to look for signs that signal that the body is tired and make lifestyle changes to ease soreness and start feeling better.
As a certified health coach, I work with people on becoming in tune with their bodies. By listening to the body and uncovering what its needs are in order to tackle life's tasks, they are able to give it the proper nutrients, activity and rest that it needs to heal. If we exercise too much or are struggling with too much stress, our bodies can feel warn down and tense, and that weighted feeling causes us to drag during the the day. Feeling exhausted can make us less productive at work and more irritable regarding our relationships. It can be hard to get ourselves out of bed each morning or take the stairs throughout the day if our bodies feel sluggish, so by getting enough sleep, varying workouts and managing stress, our muscles can start feeling more relaxed and less inflamed.
Here are eleven signs to look out for in knowing that your body is tired and needs some time to heal.
1. Lack Of Control Over Life's Tasks
If you find yourself unable to control all the tasks you are juggling each day, you might start to skip meals, stress out and feel physically run down. "I lost control of my schedule and would bounce back and forth between coaching, emailing, training, commuting, training, coaching, etc. — all while barely eating throughout the day and while under a pretty significant amount of both psychological stress from the business and training stress," says personal trainer and owner of South Loop Strength & Conditioning, Todd Nief, over interview with Bustle. Yet, by paying more attention to eating schedules and training, he was able to gain energy and appetite back.
2. Workouts Are Harder & Slower
If your body is struggling through workouts without an increase in intensity or change in workout routine, it might mean that your body is tired and needs some extra rest days or lower intensity exercises. "I just felt like my body would shut down before I could even get to the point of pushing myself or doing anything challenging," says Nief, regarding his period of chronic fatigue and stress. "I noticed that my performances in the gym were pretty wildly variable. Everyone has 'good days' and 'bad days' - but there was much more fluctuation than is reasonable," he adds. Rest more, vary workouts and invest in a foam roller to ease sore muscles.
3. Brain Fog & Lack Of Concentration
When your body feels abnormally tired, it also affects the mind. It's hard to stay mentally alert and to retain knowledge when you feel physically drained. "I was having a hard time focusing and getting anything done while working," says Nief. Lack of concentration and brain fog can hinder productivity and physical performance, in both the gym and in day-to-day activities, such as walking on the street or moving boxes.
4. Getting Sick Often
Chronic fatigue in the body can weaken our immune systems, causing us to get sick more frequently, says personal trainer and certified holistic health coach, Jen Bruno with J.B. Fitness and Nutrition, over email with Bustle. If you find your body compromised and experience coughs, stuffy or runny nose or nausea or abdominal pain, it can occur due to bodily fatigue. "Take a break from your workload, commitments, training regimen, get a massage, spend some time on a hobby that brings you joy, try yoga, or meditate," suggests Bruno. This will boost your immune system so you get sick less often.
5. Headaches & Migraines
Along with lack of concentration can come a slew of pounding headaches and migraines if your body is under chronic stress, says Bruno. Pain in the head can also extend throughout the rest of the body, resulting in joint pain that only exacerbates fatigued limbs. Snack on ginger, rub capsaicin lotion on your temples or sniff peppermint when you feel a headache approaching.
6. Irregular Sleep Patterns
If your body is tired, you'd imagine that it'd be pretty easy to fall asleep, right? Well, not necessarily. If your body is constantly tired, it becomes actually too tired to sleep, and if this goes on for too long, it can be hazardous for your health. "If you only wake up to an alarm clock and then need to 'sleep in' on the weekend, you are running on tired," says inner vitality health coach, Karen Grosz over email with Bustle. Try some yoga or meditation before bed, and do some light stretching to increase blood flow to your legs and away from your brain. "Take naps and make sure you are getting a solid night of sleep," advises Bruno.
7. Mood Swings
If you find yourself jumping between emotions or feeling overly sensitive or irritable, it might be due to your body's energy levels, advises Bruno. When too much stress is present, it can hinder our bodies and minds from functioning properly and can mess with our emotional states. To prevent this from happening, take a few deep breaths before reacting to the situation in order to compile thoughts and lower your heart rate.
8. Your Heart Is Racing At Rest
Even though your body is regularly tired, your heart rate can still pound away frenetically, says Bruno. A racing heart at rest can be scary, as it can lead to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and can enhance feelings of stress. Calm the body down with meditation, yoga or a calming activity that you enjoy, and check with a doctor for further treatments.
9. Intense Food Cravings
If you are experiencing intense food cravings, for foods that are sweet, fattening and salty, it is due to an imbalanced appetite and lack of sleep. The best way to heal is to try and resist temptation and "clean up your diet to include plenty of veggies and some fruit and whole grains," suggests Bruno. Before giving in to a craving, ask yourself to eat an apple instead, and see how you react. If you can't, it's not hunger.
10. Less Physical Strength
Apart from excelling in workouts, mere strength for daily tasks, such as opening the doors and carrying grocery bags, can be diminished, says personal trainer and muscles activation technique specialist Martin Kimpston, over email correspondence with Bustle. If you notice strength loss, it means you should work on decreasing stress and getting more sleep each night. "Resting is on the list of possible options to help recover from this body fatigue. Another option is to maintain activity but decrease the effort, time, and frequency of exercise," says Kimpston.
11. Your Lips Are Dry
If you notice dry, chapped lips, it's not necessarily plain dehydration. While you should grab a cup of water, anyway, it could be a larger issue, resulting from sleep deprivation, chronic stress and bodily fatigue. Experts say that dry and discolored lips can occur due to adrenal fatigue, and so it's important to note when there's a difference between plain dehydration (have I had something to drink not long ago?) and overall bodily symptoms (am I tired in other areas of my body).
If you feel overly stressed, experience cravings for junk foods and sugar, and feel joint and bodily pain and fatigue on a regular basis, then something is up. Make an appointment with a doctor if these remedies don't work for you, as being too tired to function can be debilitating for work, relationships and mental wellbeing.
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