Fatigue is a relentless companion for many. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been trying for some time to recover from fatigue.

It’s disheartening to navigate through days feeling drained and devoid of energy, especially when medical avenues seem to offer little hope.

As a health coach, an entrepreneur, a mom, and a diabetes caretaker, I empathize deeply with those battling fatigue.

When your tank is totally empty, it’s almost impossible to make your well-being your top priority.

The paradox is that health and self-care do require some energy to maintain.

 

What Causes Fatigue?

The causes of severe fatigue are as diverse as they are complex. From underlying health conditions to lifestyle factors, pinpointing the root cause often requires personalized attention from a knowledgeable professional.

Unfortunately, many sufferers of fatigue experience medical gaslighting when approaching health professionals for help.

Fatigue can be present even to a severe degree without showing anything unusual or abnormal on medical tests. In many cases, the conclusion is “there is nothing wrong with you” and “just get some rest”.

If you suffer from persistent fatigue, you know that despite what the tests say, there is definitely something not right!

While conventional medical approaches may fall short in addressing this multifaceted issue, seeking guidance from a qualified doctor is important.

You may need to keep going until you find someone who will listen and understand. Sometimes a functional medicine doctor can help too, but do your research carefully.

 

Coping Strategies for Managing Fatigue

In the absence of a definitive diagnosis or treatment plan, there are several strategies that you can explore to cope with and potentially relieve some of your fatigue.

As a health coach, I advocate for a holistic approach that encompasses foundational aspects of well-being. These are the basics that you’ve heard many times, yet most of us neglect these essentials:

  • Prioritize Sleep: Quality sleep is paramount when combating fatigue. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, eating a small dinner early, avoiding sugar and stimulants at night, and optimizing your sleep environment can contribute to better restorative sleep. Long-term fatigue can manifest as sleep disturbances, so working with a health coach to set up nourishing sleep habits can change the game.
  • Nourish Your Body: Fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods can provide sustained energy and support overall health. Focus on incorporating whole plant foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet while minimizing processed foods and sugars. Experiment by removing sugar and caffeine (ideally both!) for 7 days and track your sleep. If you aren’t ready to give up caffeine completely, stop drinking it by noon. Eliminate it from your afternoons and evenings. Notice any changes?
  • Manage Stress: Some degree of stress is an important part of life, and actually helps us develop resilience. The issue is when we stop recovering and enter a near-permanent state of stress where we are constantly on high alert and flooded with stress hormones. Chronic stress can exacerbate fatigue, so it’s essential to implement stress management techniques. Explore relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature to promote a sense of calm and balance. A psychologist or other therapist may be helpful to suggest tools to respond to stress in healthy ways. Supplements like magnesium can also be beneficial.
  • Stay Hydrated: You don’t necessarily feel thirsty when you are dehydrated. Dehydration affects bodily systems at a cellular level – everything can slow down or become sluggish when there is inadequate hydration. Dehydration can contribute to feelings of fatigue and brain fog, so prioritize adequate hydration throughout the day. Aim to drink plenty of water (at least 2 liters per day) and limit consumption of caffeinated, sugary beverages and alcohol, which can further dehydrate you and disrupt energy levels.
  • Move Mindfully: While vigorous exercise may be challenging for those dealing with severe fatigue or conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, incorporating gentle movement can still be beneficial. Explore low-impact activities such as walking, tai chi, or gentle yoga to improve circulation and boost mood without over-exertion. Exercise can depend on the individual but from a health coaching perspective, if you are suffering from persistent fatigue, I am not going to recommend high-intensity exercise. When your body is tired, placing more stress on it can backflip. When it comes to movement, we will slowly explore what feels good and what your body enjoys before adding on more demanding exercise.
  • Listen to Your Body: Above all, honor your body’s signals and limitations. Learn to recognize when you need rest and give yourself permission to prioritize self-care without guilt or shame.

 

A Simple Exercise: Create Your Own Fatigue Recovery Roadmap

Taking the points above as a guide, try the following exercise. My clients find this powerful and illuminating, and sometimes this is all they need to start making radical transformation in their energy and health:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle, so that you have two columns.
  2. On one side, write a list of all the things you think you could be doing (or not doing!) that may alleviate your fatigue. Examples might include 10 minutes of daily gentle yoga, skipping dessert after your evening meal, or avoiding alcohol.
  3. Read over your list and write down how long you are spending each day doing these things you feel could be really helpful.
  4. In the other column, write a list of things you feel make your fatigue worse. Examples might include pushing through instead of resting, using your phone at bedtime, even over-exercising.
  5. Read over your list and write down how long you are spending each day doing things that exacerbate your fatigue.
  6. Compare your results. How long are you spending nurturing your energy, as opposed to draining it?

This can be confronting, but be honest and compassionate with yourself.

Sometimes, just becoming aware of how your lifestyle may be contributing to your fatigue can be enough to make healthy changes. It can also invigorate you because you can see how much agency you actually have over your fatigue, which often leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless.

Choose one thing from each column that you can easily change today to restore a healthy balance.

How can you spend less time doing things that cost you energy, and more time doing things that support your energy?

Stick to your changes for 7 days, keep a mood and energy journal and see what improves.

This process is more powerful with the help of a health coach! Why? Not because we prescribe things to do – that is not what a health coach does. This process is more powerful with a coach because we empower you to be accountable to yourself.

 

The Special Case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

One particular condition that warrants special attention is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

This debilitating disorder is characterized by persistent fatigue that isn’t alleviated by rest and may worsen with physical or mental activity.

Unlike common fatigue, CFS requires a nuanced approach, as traditional recommendations such as exercise can exacerbate symptoms.

Individuals with CFS often face a unique set of challenges, and it’s crucial to work with healthcare professionals who understand the intricacies of this condition.

A good health coach will work with your physician or health professional as you navigate your fatigue recovery. If you have CFS, and you have not been evaluated by a physician or psychologist, your coach should refer you to one to rule out any other conditions or issues that may need medical attention.

 

How a Health Coach Can Help You Overcome Fatigue

As a health coach, my role is to support and empower you in your journey toward improved well-being, including managing fatigue after you have your diagnosis.

Here are some approaches I take to help clients who are experiencing fatigue:

  • Lifestyle Assessment: We conduct a thorough assessment of your lifestyle, including your diet, sleep patterns, stress levels, physical activity, and overall health history. This holistic approach highlights potential contributors to fatigue and allows us to tailor goals accordingly.
  • Personalized Action Plan: Based on the assessment findings, I collaborate with you to develop a personalized action plan focused on addressing your unique needs and goals. This plan may include dietary modifications, sleep hygiene practices, stress management techniques, and gentle movement strategies.
  • Nutritional Guidance: I provide guidance on nutrition and hydration, emphasizing whole, nutrient-dense foods that support sustained energy levels. I educate you about the importance of balanced meals, adequate hydration, and minimizing processed foods and sugars, which can contribute to fatigue. I have a strong focus on plant-based whole foods, the Mediterranean diet, and mindful eating.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: I work with you to implement lifestyle modifications that promote optimal well-being and energy levels. This may include establishing a consistent sleep schedule, slowly introducing manageable movement and exercise, incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine, and practicing mindfulness to reduce stress.
  • Accountability and Support: I offer ongoing support and accountability to help you stay motivated and committed to your wellness journey. Through regular check-ins, goal setting, and troubleshooting challenges, I empower you to make sustainable lifestyle changes that lead to improved energy and vitality.
  • Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals: I collaborate with healthcare professionals to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to managing fatigue. This multidisciplinary approach allows for a holistic evaluation of your health and facilitates personalized treatment recommendations.

 

You Can Recover From Fatigue

Finding energy to recover from fatigue requires patience, perseverance, and a holistic approach to well-being.

While the road may be challenging, remember that small steps taken towards self-care and support can lead to significant improvements in your quality of life.

 

Free Fatigue Coaching Session

Book your free online health-planning session with me, so we can explore together how fatigue is impacting your life and how you can find relief. This mini health coaching session is my gift to you, whether you choose to work with me, explore other options, or consider health coaching for the future – no obligation and no strings attached.