We all know the feeling – third cup of coffee, yawning through meeting number two, forgetting important things and dragging through daily tasks. You swoon thinking about the weekend, but when the time comes, you never seem to catch up on energy – only to start all over again Monday morning feeling exhausted.
Lacking energy has become somewhat of an epidemic. When you’re too tired to function normally, something will eventually give. Will it be your health? Your relationships? Your job? Your sanity? Or is it possible to stop exhaustion in its tracks to take your life, and your energy, back?
There may be some root causes underlying your lack of energy. The immune system and endocannabinoid system are both intended to maintain homeostasis in the body. If the focus is given to priming both systems, there’s a good chance that could give you a leg up in the process. There are some holistic ways to increase energy and improve the overall function of your organs, but first, it’s important to understand what’s causing your exhaustion.
What are the Possible Underlying Causes of Fatigue?
Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)
Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone causing extreme hunger, weight gain, cognition issues, fatigue and more. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (AKA chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis) which is damaged as the result of chronic inflammation (caused and sustained by one’s own immune system). If you are experiencing a combination of these results and it seems that even healthy eating and sleeping haven’t helped, it is a good time to speak with a doctor to discuss your symptoms.
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Impairment to cognition & memory loss
- A puffy face
- Brittle Nails
- Hair Loss
- Muscle weakness & joint pain
Anemia (Iron-deficiency most common)
Anemia is the condition where there is a lack of healthy red blood cells that carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. Anemia can range between being acute (temporary) or chronic (persistent) and can be mild or severe. When fatigue and exhaustion are persistent for what seems to be no reason, it is time to see a doctor.
- Easy fatigue and loss of energy
- Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
- Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
- Difficulty concentrating
- Chest pain
- Cold hands and feet
- Pale or yellowish skin
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complicated condition of extreme fatigue. It may worsen with physical or mental exertion but may not improve with rest. Diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome may require several medical tests to diagnose. If you think there is potential that you have this condition, it’s important to bring it up with a doctor and pursue the tests necessary to rule it out.
- Easy fatigue and loss of energy
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise
What if you’re exhausted NOT because of a disorder, but because of life choices?
It’s entirely possible that your fatigue is unrelated to an underlying condition and may be the result of habits that are adding up to/resulting in exhaustion. If this is the case you may not even notice the small decisions that play into lack of sleep, or the inability to feel rested or removed from the commotion.
Some seemingly “harmless” habits that add up to exhaustion include:
-“Netflix & Chilling”…. Every night or into the late hours of the night.
-Watching youtube videos or scrolling through social media for hours at a time
-Playing video games or gaming apps for several hours
-Getting sucked into the internet for hours each evening
-Working long hours on a consistent basis
-Staying out/going out into the early hours of the morning several nights out of the week
-Using “uppers” and then “downers” which can throw off your natural sleep cycles (like coffee, or energy drinks, and then alcohol or sleeping pills)
What if you’re exhausted because life is…. Hard?
If you’re not resonating with these scenarios, you may be one of the people who is exhausted because life is hard. Many who are zapped of energy are the product of a minority group (read systemic oppression), low-income households, or have a large family. The stress caused by economic factors may be weighing heavy on stress-levels, relationships, and lifestyle choices.
Forced to work multiple jobs, care for an ill loved one, or raise a family with little or no help can put stress on adrenal glands, cause lack of proper sleep, or may influence poor nutrition. If you’re not attending school and working full time, you may be one of four American’s paying off a school loan.
If any of these things are the case, you may be wondering how you’ll ever find a way to improve your health or situation. Nutrition is one area where small habits can add up to big results. Here are a few ways you can incorporate healthy habits into your life.
What are some holistic foods and products that may boost energy?
Coconut oil in your coffee
The superfood benefits of coconut oil with a dose of caffeine may be a healthier way to drink your morning joe and get a quick boost. Coconut oil contains Medium-Chain Triglycerides (or MCTs) which are absorbed faster by the body to be used as energy.
Fatty fish, especially salmon and tuna, are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids (known to support brain function and reduce inflammation-induced fatigue), protein (promotes satiety), and B vitamins(brain fuel). When you feed your brain with necessary nutrients, organs function better, sleep improves, and you see increased energy.
Ginko Biloba has been utilized in natural medicine for centuries for its many benefits. The most impressive qualities of the plant start with the ability to improve blood flow, improve cognitive function and focus, as well as fight depression. Supplementing your morning routine with this supplement could have a big impact on performance throughout the day – if consumed on a consistent basis.
What are some lifestyle changes that may reduce exhaustion?
1. Can you fit in a “power nap”?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a quick nap of no more than twenty to thirty minutes can help with short-term alertness. Post-nap, there is a decrease in Phosphocreatine Levels in the brain. These quick naps should provide significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.
High-Intensity Interval Training (AKA HIIT) has been shown to increase metabolism, burn fat faster, and encourages your body to continue burning energy for up to 24 hours after your interval session. If you want to boost energy, jump up to do some fast jumping jacks, burpees, or jumping squats to get your blood flowing and your brain alert again.
The use of technology before intended sleep has shown to delay the release of melatonin and disrupt circadian rhythm. In one study, those who used using technology before sleep had a more difficult time falling asleep and feeling rested after sleep.
4. Throw out the microwave meals
Nutrition is critically important in supporting energy and healthy functioning systems (immune, digestive, etc.). As we detail in one of our recent blog posts, tweaks to nutrition and supplementation can make a big impact on the function of your organs. Ditch the quick and pre-made meals for whole, real, nutrient-packed foods to really boost energy and support your bodies natural processes.
When it boils down to it, there is no overnight fix to exhaustion. Just like any goal for a change, it takes daily effort to make progress. By setting intention around earlier sleep times, less technology, more time outdoors, eating nutritious foods, and supplementing with energizing cannabis strains, you could see improvements to your energy levels quickly. If you have concerns about your lack of energy or increased fatigue, speak to a doctor.
By Bri Smith
This website is informational and cannot diagnose or treat illness or disease. Medical marijuana aka cannabis should be used under the direction of a licensed healthcare provider. This site is intended for adults and legal medical marijuana patients.