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Understanding Exhaustion

Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

What is exhausttion?

Exhaustion, or fatigue, can leave a lot of people feeling absolutely dreadful. However, there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Read this article to learn more.

Common types of exhaustion

There are different types of exhaustion that people experience and some of the common types include:

Liver exhaustion

The liver is the organ responsible for breaking down hormones after they have served their purpose. If the insulin is not broken down right away, hypoglycemia may occur as the insulin in the body is still lowering the blood sugar levels. If estrogen is not metabolised correctly, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may occur. Exhaustion of the liver often results in fatigue, depression, nausea, dark circles under the eyes, and hypersensitivity to various foods and chemicals.

Liver exhaustion leads to toxins being built up in the body. Therefore, it is important to lighten the burden of the liver through detoxification or cleansing. This can be done through a balanced diet or by using cleansing and supporting herbs.

Kidney/adrenal exhaustion

Kidney exhaustion can also be called adrenal exhaustion because the kidneys are responsible for supporting the adrenal glands in the body. The kidneys are very congested if bags are forming underneath the eyes and eyelids become red and swollen. If the kidneys are weak, fluids are being accumulated and retained. 

The following foods help and support the kidneys:

  • Watermelon
  • Buckwheat
  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Seaweed
  • Watercress
  • Barley

Minerals like beta carotene, vitamin E, and the B complex vitamins also help the kidneys maintain their optimal function. Warming herbs help the kidneys reduce mucus boost the immune system, and revive the kidney yang. 

Stress exhaustion

Stress is a natural part of everyday life but too much stress can be extremely harmful towards our health. Excess stress causes negative emotions like frustration, anger, and depression. In addition, stress disrupts sleep, alters eating habits, reduces the motivation to exercise and distracts from clear thinking. It also activates certain hormones in the body that causes a physical impact on the system, contributing to exhaustion. For example, blood pressure levels and heart rate increase.

For this reason, learning how to respond to stress is very important. Use relaxation techniques like yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathwork, and meditation. Look for stress management techniques that will help you cope with any stressful situation that may arise. It is important to take control of the issues that you are able to control. For example, If you are feeling pressured at work, look for ways to ease it. You can try to delegate it, or simply saying that you don’t have the time to take an extra project. Learning to say no is important if you feel that you can’t meet their demands.

Diet and exhaustion

When it comes to fatigue, the food we eat makes a major difference considering that food fuels the body. Firstly, always make the time to eat breakfast. Studies suggest that people who eat breakfast are in a far better mood and have more energy throughout the day. Thirst disguises itself as fatigue. A slight dehydration can leave a person feeling tired and lethargic. It is important to drink plenty of water. If you are still feeling tired after having a good night’s sleep, try to cut down on drinking alcohol during the night.

You also need to balance your blood sugar levels so that the energy flow in the body is constant. If you eat high sugar foods then the blood sugar level will increase, giving you a short term energy boost but leaving you feel exhausted later. Whole grains provide a slow, steady release of fuel, normalising blood sugar levels and keeping consistent energy levels. 

Food intolerances or allergies are one of the most common causes of exhaustion in the body. In fact, you may be exhausted and not experience any symptoms. If you are suffering from a food allergy, when you eat the offending food, you are introducing foreign objects into the body which may result to the immune system attacking the food. The immune systems spends a lot of energy doing this resulting in fatigue. An elimination diet may be recommended to determine which foods are causing allergies. Once the offending food is identified, eliminate it from diet as much as possible. 

Magnesium plays an important role in the chemical reactions that generate energy within the body. Excellent sources of magnesium are nuts and green vegetables. Insufficient iron levels can cause fatigue and a bad mood so ensure that you get plenty or iron in your diet through leafy green vegetables and red meat. Vitamin C helps in absorbing iron into the body.  Avoid taking in caffeine as while it provides an energy increase, the fatigue is worse when it’s wearing off.

The Importance of Exercise

Having a sedentary lifestyle for a long period of time can actually cause exhaustion within the body.  The human body is designed to move, and when it is not moving, all of the body systems are slowing down. An active lifestyle can improve energy levels. This does not necessarily mean going regularly to the gym – you can simply go for a walk, ride a bike, gardening, or even stretching. It is recommended to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. If you don’t have a lot of free time, the 30 minutes can be broken into 10 minute blocks and can still feel the positive effects.

How Affirmations Can Help

Affirmations are positive statements that describe a desired situation in life. They are repeated several times to drive the statement into the subconscious mind and bring about a positive effect or action. Using affirmations can help a person feel more alive and less exhausted as they can help them change things in their lives that impact negatively upon themselves.

For example, believing that you are incapable of finding the time to exercise or feeling like you do not deserve to exercise.  By repeating an affirmation like “My body is strong, because I make it strong”, you are starting to change negative thought patterns and actually want to find the time to include a new exercise regime in your daily life.

Exhaustion can sometimes cause a person to give up on things, things that may actually be helpful in bringing you out of exhaustion.  You may feel like there's no point in eating a healthy diet because you feel bad anyway, so you may as well have that takeaway. An affirmation like  “I can do this” helps break self-defeating behaviours, and puts you on the path to a more positive living.

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Originally published on Nov 19, 2008

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