Why am I tired all the time?
If you find that you’re tired all the time you’re not alone. Around 20% of adults in the UK complain that they are tired constantly. Around 10% of adults feel that they have chronic fatigue.
Physical Reasons for being tired all the time
There are a wide number of physical reasons why people feel tired all the time. These can include
- Side effects from medication or chemotherapy or other cancer treatments
- Being under or overweight
- Sleep Apnoea
- Vitamin, mineral or iron levels being too low
- Having an underactive thyroid
- Caring for sick family members or new babies
- Carbon Monoxide poisoning
- Being up in the night every night to feed, change or soothe your baby.
- Night shifts at work.
- Needing to get up to pee during the night.
- Being so busy you’re not finding time to eat, drink or sleep properly
If you feel tired all the time, it would be worth contacting your GP (or oncologist if you’re living with cancer and having treatment for that) to rule out anything physical. They will be able to run some blood tests if necessary or suggest something to help you feel better.
Emotional and Psychological reasons for being tired all the time
There is also a range of emotional and psychological reasons for being tired all the time. These can include carrying worries for other people. Worrying about work, financial stuff or family. (Feeling like you’re!) having to remember where every item of your children’s belongings are at any given point in time. Worrying about elderly parents or looking after young children. Trying to juggle and arrange a million thoughts in your head. Planning what’s for dinner, ad infinitum.
It could be due to feeling a sense of grief or sadness or loss. Or even guilt. It could be because you’re in a situation that is so sticky it feels like you’re swimming through treacle. It could be due to a recent change in circumstance like redundancy, bereavment, a house move or retirement. Whatever emotion you’re feeling, express it gently and try not to bottle it up. Be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through or who can allow you to express what you’re feeling in a safe way. Avoid anyone who simply tells you to stop crying. Let it go
It could be because you ARE bone tired! It could be that you’ve just not stopped for so long that you’ve depleted all your emotional and psychological reserves. Maybe you’ve been living in survival mode. Just getting through each day without anything sparking joy for you. Often the first thing we do when we’re busy or stressed is to stop doing the fun things in life. We stop the hobbies or give up socialising with friends. Or we don’t find time to go for a walk, or we stop reading books. The colour goes out of our day. Sometimes the quickest way to start feeling more energised is to find something you love doing and incorporating that into each day without fail!
If you have the sense that you might have bitten off more than you can chew either with work or with your family, see what you can delegate to other people. Cross anything you don’t actually need to do off your list.
Sometimes we can tire ourselves out trying to keep up with other people and what we think they expect of us! If you’re yourself you’re not going to end up feeling as exhausted as pretending to be someone you’re not. I find that people heave a sigh of relief when they see me as they know I’ll just accept them for who they are without them having to pretend to be anything else! Masking your mental or physical health symptoms can also be exhausting, as can not having the support you need. If you need support either at home or at work it is ok to ask for it. There is no shame in admitting that you’re struggling with things and that you need help.
Criticizing your own every move can be exhausting so don’t do it! Be your own new best friend and praise and encourage yourself like a perfect parent would do. Speak kindly to yourself, always.
Certain lifestyle factors can also contribute to feeling tired all the time!
Having too much caffeine or alcohol, eating too little or too much, relying on a diet that is full of high fat, high sugar quick fixes can all cause energy levels to plummet. As can being dehydrated. Therefore aim to drink plenty of water (you can add a slice of lemon or cucumber if you like) and try to eat a healthyish diet, full of vegetables and protein.
Eat regular meals and get plenty of sleep if you can. If you’re able to having some daily exercise can hugely help your energy levels and boost your mood. Start off gently at first, and build up! A daily 20 minute walk is a good place to start if you can manage it. Read my article on Simple ways to be more active by clicking here
If you do have to do nightshifts for work it can help enormously to stick to the same kind of sleeping patterns when you’re on your off-duty days. The worst shift patterns have to be those which change on a daily basis. If at all possible let your body know what it can expect by keeping it relatively constant where possible.
What can I do to stop feeling tired all the time?
- Visit your GP to ensure there is nothing physical going on that needs addressing if you’re worried
- Drink plenty of water and eat a good diet
- Get enough sleep
- Take time out for your hobbies or meeting friends
- Avoid caffeine overload,
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Have some gentle daily exercise, building up to something more active over time
- Incorporate fun into your life. Do those things you love
- Surround yourself with people who get you and who you can be yourself with
- Delegate any non-essential jobs or cross them off your list completely
- Try to have an early finish at work if you can, a couple of days a week or negotiate working from home if that would help
- Sleep when your baby sleeps! Ignore the housework that can wait!
Over to you!
What makes you feel tired the whole time? Have you found anything that will help? If so please tell me what in the comments below!
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