Do you struggle with fatigue? If so, you’re not alone.
It has been estimated that almost 20% of women in the U.S. struggle with fatigue on a regular basis.
That’s a lot of exhausted women who are looking for ways to heal fatigue!
So, you are probably wondering two things- What is the cause? And how do you recover? Well, just like everything else, one size doesn’t fit all. There are a number of causes and that means each person’s needs to recover will be different.
But have no fear, after reading this you will learn common causes of fatigue, tests you need, and the most important changes you can make to start healing and recovering your energy.
What Is Fatigue?
It is not uncommon for women to say that they feel tired or even exhausted most days, but just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Occasionally feeling exhausted can be normal, but if you feel overtired, have low energy through the day, wish you could go back to bed before you even get out of bed, or are so exhausted you can’t function, you have fatigue.
In this post, you will find ways that can help heal fatigue naturally no matter the cause! So let’s jump right in!
Causes Of Fatigue
The causes of fatigue can be many. As women, we are busy with 1,001 different chores, duties, and projects all needing our attention at the same time. Kids, work, home, and other commitments can be exhausting for sure. But if you find that you are often feeling extra tired or not able to regain your energy after rest or a full night’s sleep, you may have more going on than you know.
In my last post, I went over 11 of the most common causes of fatigue and tests you may want to consider. Testing can be important because it can rule out health issues that could be causing fatigue and can give you an idea of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, gut issues, blood sugar problems, cortisol levels, and other helpful information.
Most Common Causes of Fatigue Are:
- Poor gut health
- Food intolerances
- Toxins in the environment
- Mental and emotional stress
- Adrenal fatigue
- Hormone imbalance
- Blood sugar fluctuations
- Low vitamin D
- Chronic infections
- Thyroid imbalance
It is not uncommon for stress to contribute or cause any one of these issues, just as it is not uncommon for a woman to be dealing with more than one of these issues at the same time. This is why testing can be so helpful in finding out exactly what is going on so that the proper path can to healing can be found.
How To Heal Fatigue Naturally
No matter the cause, there are four elements that can work together to help bring about healing. These elements are diet, mindset, lifestyle, and supplements. They are all important in their own way, but I will say this- if you’re not eating right for you all of the meditation, exercise, and supplements in the world won’t be able to fix how you feel.
Best Diet To Heal Fatigue
We’ve all been told to eat right and exercise, but what does it mean to eat right? Well, that can be a little different for each person. Some feel better eating a diet of mostly vegetables, some need a little more protein, and some feel their best when they eat a few more (or less) carbohydrates.
Since everyone has different needs I can’t tell you how to eat exactly but there are some universal recommendations that are a great starting point and you can adjust accordingly as you feel the need.
Eliminate Sugar, Flours, And Vegetable Oils
All of these products lend to blood sugar spikes, inflammation, and stress the adrenals (as well as other body systems). Everyone likes a treat once in a while but these should not be foods on your menu every day.
Eat A Diet Full Of Veggies
A diet full of veggies of different colors is a healthy one! Dr. Hyman, director of functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends that half of your plate be vegetables. Also, just an FYI, Dr. Hyman mentions that french fries do not qualify as vegetables even though they are made from potatoes. Bummer! 😀
* I should make a note here- while some people do well when they cut out the flour and refined carbs they used to eat (because they are eliminating junk food and a lot of excess carbs), some do not.
If you are struggling with adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues, for example, you will probably feel better if you eliminate refined flours but eating very low amounts of carbohydrates may not be healthy for you.
For people with these conditions, it may be better to stick to a more moderate amount of carbs per day by eating small amounts of sweet potatoes, squash, or other starchy whole foods. *
Choose Meat Wisely
Since we’re working toward good health it is important to note that the kind of meat you choose is important too. Just like vegetables or dairy, when looking for meat it is important to choose organic and GMO-free. Look for sources that are grass fed too. This way you will have the healthiest meat possible without the hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals commonly used in conventional farming.
Limit Fruit, Dairy, And Beans
Fruit, dairy, and beans can definitely be healthy choices but it is important to choose the right ones and they should be occasional foods, not everyday foods.
For fruit, choose those that have a lower glycemic index (and lower sugar content). Berries and watermelon would be good choices in small amounts. Fruit to avoid or severely limit would be bananas, dried fruit, or grapes.
Dairy is a tricky one because it is not always easy to correlate symptoms and an intolerance. It can take quite a few weeks of completely eliminating it before seeing improvement. It is not uncommon for people to have trouble with dairy, especially if it is heavily processed (which it is if you buy it from the grocery store). If you enjoy dairy on occasion, consider finding a local farmer for a less processed source, using goat milk, and always choose organic and grass fed!
As for beans, they can be hard to digest and can also cause blood sugar to rise. Digestibility can be increased by soaking before cooking. Keeping portions small (along with eating with a good fat) can help with blood sugar levels.
Choose Healthy Fats
Healthy fats from foods like avocado, coconut oil, butter, and eggs are fantastic sources of vitamins and much-needed Omega 3 fatty acids. Healthy fats don’t make you fat or cause heart disease but unhealthy fats (like the ones found in fast food) do so make sure you’re choosing the right ones!
Keep It Simple
Eat a lot of veggies, some meat from healthy sources, add a little healthy fat, enjoy dairy and fruit on occasion, and skip health-harming foods like sugar, flours (even gluten-free), and refined vegetable oils.
If you feel that certain foods may be causing irritation or inflammation it may be a good idea to keep a food journal and try an elimination diet. This simply means that you eliminate the food for a specific amount of time (usually 4-8 weeks) and keep track of symptoms being sure to note if they get better or have no change. Common foods to start with are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and nuts.
Having The Right Mindset
Having a positive outlook can be difficult, especially when you are not feeling well. And in fact, it is unrealistic to think that we should feel positive all the time. We have other emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and they are all important.
But to really experience healing it is essential to cultivate the right mindset, and that means one that is overall positive. You may not feel like it all the time, and that’s totally ok, but cultivating the right mindset is fundamental for healing. The body believes what the mind perceives, so start a practice of mindfulness, gratitude, and seek out peace.
If this is new to you it might sound like a weird, new age belief but I promise you, it’s not.
Positive Thinking Has Been Proven To Help Both Mind And Body
You may be wondering how to go about having the right mindset, especially because we don’t always feel happy, positive, or at peace. No problem, many people find that reading encouraging books or websites can help. Regular visits with other positive people, a spiritual or religious practice, meditation, exercise, and keeping a gratitude journal are all great ideas too.
No matter what works for you, remember- it is a practice. Some days you’ll feel so positive you shine, and other days, not so much. That’s ok, keep practicing!
Necessary Lifestyle Changes
To heal fatigue there are a few lifestyle changes that you may want to consider. We’ve already gone over foods to eat and foods to avoid, the importance of having a good mindset, so that brings us to lifestyle.
Eat A Good Breakfast Within 30 Minutes Of Waking
Just say no to cereal, doughnuts, or fast food breakfast sandwiches! You need protein and real sustenance to help balance blood sugar and cortisol. That means eggs (if you can have them), your meat of choice, and veggies. Some people can eat yogurt for breakfast and feel fine too. It may not sound like a lot to choose from, but there are a ton of delicious recipes out there!
Eat Regular Meals
I know how hard this is to do sometimes, but it is really important so that you can keep blood sugar stable and energy levels up. If you are dealing with fatigue it is probably not the right time to start fasting or really do anything that would cause stress to your body. This is a time to work on healing and supporting your exhausted system. Not able to fix regular meals? Be sure to keep easy to carry food on hand. You could include nuts (if you can eat them), fruit, jerky, cheese (if you can have it), or even healthy banana bread muffins.
Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
If you are trying to heal fatigue avoiding these two is a must, at least for a time! Caffeine can stimulate an already taxed and tired system and so can alcohol. Along with being hard on your whole body, alcohol also negatively affects the liver. And a healthy liver is incredibly important for good health so feed it well, don’t stress it out!
Evaluate Medications And Body Care Products
Start looking through your medicine cabinet and the products you use every day. These products include birth control, makeup, lotion, deodorant, and OTC medicines. Some of these products can cause disruption to hormones, thyroid, your immune system, and your mind.
Get Good Quality Sleep
Good quality sleep is so important, but especially so if you are dealing with fatigue. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute sleep is important for a healthy brain, physical and emotional health, and daily performance. Without good sleep your whole body can suffer!
To get good sleep start with a good bedtime routine. Be sure to start a little earlier than you normally go to bed. First, turn off your electronic devices. You could then take a warm bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil, read a book (not one that is exciting or stimulating though!), do some bedtime yoga, or listen to a guided meditation.
You’ll also want to make sure that your room is set up for optimal sleep. To do this you’ll want to leave your phone or other electronics out of your bedroom, make sure it is dark, and open a window or turn the temperature down so your room is cool.
Supplements To Help Heal Fatigue
Supplements can be a helpful tool for healing fatigue. They can’t take the place of good nutrition or a healthy lifestyle, but they can definitely be of great assistance.
This herb is amazing! Ashwagandha is known for lowering cortisol levels, it helps balance thyroid hormones, can be helpful in maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body, and is also known as a natural stress reliever.
(Found in bone broth or it can be bought as a supplement) Collagen is known to help elasticity in the skin, joint health, metabolism, the gastrointestinal tract, and provides amino acids needed in the body.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids and supplies very usable forms of vitamins A and D, as well has reducing inflammation. This means that for a body struggling with fatigue, cod liver oil is a great way to get a healthy dose of vitamins and EFA’s.
Liver is packed full of good nutrients! In fact, liver is a great source of iron, vitamin A, vitamin D, trace minerals, and so much more! If you can’t quite get it down, you can always try desiccated liver capsules.
Magnesium is a co-factor in hundreds of enzyme systems in the body which affects: muscle and nerve function, blood pressure and blood sugar control, energy production, and hundreds of others. Because of this, it is important to have optimal levels. If the digestive system is struggling, try a cream or lotion instead.
This vitamin is amazingly helpful. Vitamin C helps the body deal with stress and enhances mood. It is necessary for collagen production, manufacture of adrenal hormones, and is good for bones, joints, and blood vessels.
Optimal levels of Vitamin D are essential for good health. This vitamin is necessary to process calcium properly, proper immune function, bone strength, cell growth, and is anti-inflammatory. Fatigue is a common symptom if levels are low.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that help relieve digestion, gas, bloating, and constipation (or diarrhea) and other gut disturbances. It is well documented that the health of the gut directly correlates with the health of the body. So supporting your gut with probiotics can help heal it and reduce fatigue. Another great way to get probiotics into your diet is with fermented foods. These foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha, just to name a few!
Homeopathic Remedies For Fatigue
Homeopathic remedies are different from supplements but can be just as powerful! To find the remedy that is right for you look for the one that most closely matches your symptoms. If you need help or are not having any luck finding the right remedy, consider finding a professional homeopath.
Here are a few commonly suggested remedies for fatigue:
- Sepia– this person will feel totally burned out. This remedy is often helpful after childbirth. The person feels mentally and physically exhausted, and they may dream of running away.
- Kali Phos– a person needing this remedy may feel nervous, over-excited, and overwhelmed. There is great mental and physical exhaustion, and the person tires very easily.
- Phosphoric Acid– extreme physical exhaustion is a symptom of someone needing this remedy. They may experience hair loss, visual problems, a loss of libido and feel apathetic.
- Ignatia- this person overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious due to worry or grief. They may be sad, tearful, and have a changeable mood.
These are just a few of the remedies that are commonly suggested for fatigue, there are many more! It is also possible that you may start with one, and as your symptoms change, so should your remedy.
A Few Final Thoughts….
When you have fatigue it may seem like you’ll never have energy again. Try to keep this in mind though- it probably took a while to get where you are, so it will take a little time to get to where you want to be.
Just take one step at a time. Start with a few simple tests, keep a food journal and uncover any food intolerances, change your diet, make any needed lifestyle changes, and think about adding a few helpful supplements. It won’t happen overnight but by taking these steps, you will begin to see positive changes in how you feel.
Remember to be patient with yourself and your progress, listen to your body, and give yourself time to heal. You can do this!
Cherry, K. (2019, March 28). Benefits of Positive Thinking for Body and Mind. Retrieved from Very Well Mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/benefits-of-positive-thinking-2794767
Hyman, M. M. (2018, March 1). The 13 Pillars of the Pegan Diet. Retrieved from Experience Life: https://experiencelife.com/article/mark-hyman-peganism/
Kindem, K. J. (n.d.). Adrenal Fatigue and Homeopathy. Retrieved from Homeopathy for Women: https://www.homeopathyforwomen.org/adrenal_fatigue.htm
National Heart, L. &. (n.d.). Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
Do you have tips that have helped you recover from fatigue?
I would love to hear them! Please feel free to share in the comments or email them to me!
I have a background in natural health and homeopathy, have been a licensed massage therapist for over 14 years, and have a degree in Human Services. But most importantly, I am a wife and mom.
My mission is to provide researched information and actionable steps to help you on your road to good health.
Because there is nothing more important than....