Solving My Personal Little Energy Crisis

by Mark on May 6, 2010

I have mentioned in previous posts that I have been suffering from fatigue lately. It’s a problem that has afflicted me on a cyclical basis for quite a few years now. There is no known medical reason why I should suffer from fatigue. I do think that stress exacerbates it, but there have been times when I was stressed out but didn’t feel quite the same level of fatigue. In my case, I think it has to do with the combined impact of a number of factors that is causing me to feel tired. And when I say tired, I mean feeling drained to a very unusual degree. I want to do something about it, so I have been looking at a number of causes that could be contributing to it.

What contributes to fatigue?

Factors contributing to fatigue:

  1. Poor sleep habits. This is a no-brainer. I definitely stay up too late and don’t sleep enough. I may have been able to get away with it when I was younger and in better shape, but it doesn’t work for me now.
  2. Poor diet. Certain foods, especially sugar, contribute to fatigue. This shouldn’t be a huge factor for me, but my diet occasionally does get worse when I’m tired. I tend to crave sugar when I’m tired, and I get fast food more often when I’m too tired to prepare something.
  3. Poor physical condition. This is definitely an issue. My cardiovascular fitness is pretty poor. Also, my bad lower back makes it more difficult to sleep.
  4. Little movement. Your body tends to create energy when you move. This is an issue for me and also is responsible for my poor physical condition.
  5. Stress. Periodic bouts of stress are fine, but our bodies break down under consistent stress. Stress is definitely something that I’m dealing with at work right now.
  6. Lack of enjoyment or engagement. It is much easier to be energetic when you enjoy what you are doing. I don’t currently enjoy the vast majority of my job because most of my tasks are either very boring or very stressful.
  7. Too much caffeine. Caffeine creates temporary energy at the expense of future energy. The bigger the dose of caffeine, the deeper the crash. I currently am drinking much too much coffee and tea. I also think it is making it more difficult for me to relax.

Where do you get your energy from?

You have probably heard this question asked of someone who has a lot of energy, but I am not asking it rhetorically. Where do you get your energy from? When you want more energy, what do you do to get it? Do you drink coffee? Do you take a nap? Do you get some exercise? Do you eat sugary snacks?

You will notice that the potential sources of energy that you tap are either internal sources or external sources. We can either get our energy from external sources of stimulation like caffeine or we can tap into the energy that is already in our bodies. Our bodies contain extraordinary amounts of stored energy in the form of fat, glycogen, and sugars (and protein as well). We just have to use our bodies in a way that taps into these sources of energy.

I used to be one of those people with boundless energy. I would have so much energy that I would get completely restless. Sometimes it would be raining outside, and I used to dribble the soccer ball around the inside of the house. I never wanted to go to sleep. What was the difference? I think it was because I was in excellent physical condition. My cardiovascular system was capable of delivering large amounts of energy. I did consume a fair amount of sugar back then, but rarely any caffeine. My body was trained to tap into internal sources of energy.

I am really going to try to address the factors that I listed above. Without a steady supply of energy, life is difficult. I realize that I need to make this a priority if I really want to put my dream into action. I will let you know how it goes.

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