When we're hit with fatigue, we just know that our bodies are crying out for help and need some serious rest and recovery to bounce back and function optimally once again. Thus, knowing the signs that our bodies are tired and need a break can help us give it the help it needs as soon as possible in order to start feeling more agile, fit, energized, and capable of moving through life's busy tasks.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling healthy and awesome in their bodies, without pain, anxiety, or other physical complications holding them back from doing their best, being the most productive, and enjoying recreational activities, such as exercise and sports, that can enhance quality of life and fitness efforts. When our bodies are too tired to function well, from carrying us through mundane tasks and errands, such as wandering through the grocery aisle, to kicking some serious butt in kickboxing (or whatever activity you enjoy!) class, it can really interfere with our mental and physical wellbeing. Here are 11 ways to know that your body is tired and in need of break, and some of the ways in which you can give it the assistance it needs to bounce back beautifully.
1. You're Not Sleeping Enough
Brandon Berman, Reverie in-house sleep expert says over email with Bustle that if you don't get enough sleep, it can take a toll on your body and result in fatigue and muscle aches over time. "Sleep gives your body energy by allowing it to reset, recover, and rebuild; without sleep, your body is left feeling sluggish, depleted, and weak," Berman says. Aim to score between 7-9 hours nightly, as advised, for optimal recovery and restoration.
2. Your Body Is Cramping
If you are experiencing joint pain, cramping, headaches, and muscle fatigue, it could be a sign that your body is breaking down and needs some rest to recover and become less inflamed, says Dr. Douglas Bibus, Coromega Scientific Advisory Board Member, over email with Bustle. As a recommendation, Bibus says, “Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce discomfort and inflammation associated with cramps. They can even decrease other symptoms such as headaches, nausea and fatigue."
3. Your Workouts Are Harder
If you experience pain or soreness during a workout, it might mean your body is tired. Darin Hulslander, nutrition coach and trainer, tells Bustle over email, "general soreness can effect your workout from a form perspective. Muscle soreness is likely to decrease your range of motion in many exercises. The best thing you can do is assure you recover if you are sore by doing light cardio or even a rest day or some yoga. Also make sure you are both foam rolling and stretching prior to exercise."
4. Your Lips Are Cracked
Michael J. Breus, PhD, a board-certified expert in clinical sleep disorders explains in interview with Daily Burn that dry lips can signal dehydration, which can affect sleeping patterns and bodily functions. Thus, if you notice this symptom, you should hydrate immediately to give your body the resources it needs to thrive and get back to feeling alert and refreshed.
5. Your Appetite Is Off
Stress can be felt all over the body, says Todd Nief, personal trainer and owner of South Loop Strength & Conditioning over email with Bustle. "Stress hormones like cortisol play an important role in mobilizing blood sugar, but we end up with an interesting dichotomy in that corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) inhibits appetites and glucocorticoids stimulate appetite. So, the folks who overeat when stressed may have a tendency to produce more glucocorticoids or may clear them from the bloodstream more slowly," Nief explains.
6. You Have Nagging Injuries
"Nagging injuries are often signs that your body needs a break," says running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer over email with Bustle. If you notice that your body is chronically experiencing wears and tears or nagging injuries, then it might be an indicator that you need to slow down or dial back your workouts. Taking care of that body is #1.
7. You're Stressed AF
"We have been socialized to thrive best in states of busyness and 'striving to get ahead,'" says therapist Chelsea Hudson, LCPC, over email with Bustle, and explains that this urgency has lead to chronic stress. "In my recent clinical work I have witnessed a steep increase in both burnout symptoms and 'break related anxiety.' When overexertion has become one’s automatic mode of functioning, taking a break can often be experienced as anxiety provoking because of the unfamiliarity and ambiguity," Hudson says. Hudson recommends taking a break and working to overcome this fear.
8. You're Working Too Many Hours
"People often define themselves by their work and fear a loss of identity if they slow down or take a break," says Hudson. Due to this mentality, it's likely to over-exert yourself in the office and work too many hours, leading to fatigue, irritability, and other appetite changes due to an inconvenient schedule, she explains. Hudson recommends clocking in and out at a set time in order to schedule enough "me time."
9. You're Moody
If you notice that you are chronically moody or depressed, it might mean that you are overworked and need a break, says Noam Tamir, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and owner of TS Fitness New York City in interview with CNN. Check in with yourself to see how emotional you are. If you are positive or neutral, you're okay, but if you see yourself being quick to snap or are in a general funk, it might be time to seek a therapist's help or slow down.
10. Your Heart Rate Is Whacky
Tamir also explains that an abnormal heart rate, whether too high or low, can express signs of being overworked and in need of a break. Your body might be lower if it is prone to overtraining, for instance, or higher if it is stiff and sore and might be unable to follow through on an intense workout. For these times, take it slower or take a whole rest day to yourself.
11. You Have Trouble Concentrating
If you notice you have brain fog and have a hard time concentrating, it means that your body might be too tired and the physical effects are influencing your mental capabilities, as explained by healthy lifestyle coach Liz Traines over email with Bustle. If you find yourself missing deadlines or having a hard time staying focused, it might be time to slow down.
It's natural for your body to need a break, as it's hard to juggle a million things, fit in workouts, check off your errands, and stay active all the time without adequate rest and recovery. If you notice you're slowing down, take some time to refresh yourself and get back to a happy and productive state.
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