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Sunday, 28 February 2016

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Fighting off the fatigue

Imagine yourself sitting in your doctor's office. "Doctor, I just feel worn out all the time." you tell him. "I can't keep up with my work. By evening I get angry with my children for the slightest issue. I'm unhappy with myself, and I'm sure my family must be having a difficult time trying to live with me."

The doctor might recommend a battery of tests to be taken, checking for anaemia, hypothyroidism and a variety of other illnesses known to cause chronic fatigue. A few days later you go back with your reports, and he tells you frankly that you're fit as a fiddle.

That's good news and bad news. Nobody's going to complain at being in good health, but its scanty comfort to be pronounced healthy when you're looking for something unhealthy to treat so that you can feel better again. So you press the doctor. "What's wrong with me then?"

Categories

More and more people complain about the same symptoms today. In this age of labour-saving devices and convenient transportation, why are so many people so tired so much of the time? Medical professionals say these people are fatigued.

Dr. John L. Bulette, a renowned psychiatrist in USA, in his book - 'How to handle fatigue', says there are three main categories of fatigue:

Physical -This is the result of overworking muscles that metabolic waste products - carbon dioxide and lactic acid - which accumulate in the blood and sap the strength. This kind of fatigue usually brings a pleasant tiredness, such as you might experience after a hard set of tennis or a long hike. The cure is simple. You rest, giving your body a chance to get rid of the wastes and restore muscle fuel. Yet, today's tiredness is more likely a consequence of under-exertion than of over-activity. Increased physical activity is often a cure for sagging energy.

Pathological - Here, fatigue is a warning or a consequence of a physical disorder, whether the common cold or something serious like diabetes or cancer. Usually, other symptoms are present that suggest the true cause, but anyone who feels drained of energy for weeks on end should have a thorough physical check-up.

Psychological - Emotional problems and conflicts, especially depression and anxiety, are by far the most common causes of prolonged fatigue. It may represent a defence mechanism to keep you from having to face the true cause of your depression, such as hating your job. It is also your body's safety valve for repressed emotional conflicts, such as an unhappy marriage.

Depression

Dr. John Bulette, says, "Many people who are extremely fatigued don't know they're depressed. They're so busy distracting themselves or just worrying about being tired that they don't recognise their depression."

One such condition is tired- housewife syndrome. Many victims are young mothers who day in and day out face the tedium of caring for a home and small children, fixing meals and generally having no one interesting to talk to and nothing enjoyable to look forward to at the end of each boring and unrewarding day.

The tired housewife may be inwardly resentful, envious of her husband's job and guilty about her feelings. But rather than face them head on, she becomes fatigued.

Emotionally induced fatigue may be compounded by sleep disturbance that results from the underlying psychological conflict. A person may develop insomnia, or may sleep the requisite number of hours but toss and turn all night, have disturbing dreams and awaken exhausted.

Cure

Understanding the underlying emotional problem is the crucial first step toward curing psychological fatigue, and by itself often results in considerable lessening ofthe tiredness. Professional psychological help, or career or marriage counselling, may be needed. But there is also a great deal you can do on your own to deal with both severe prolonged fatigue and periodic washed-out feelings

Vitamins, tranquilisers, alcohol or caffeine are almost never the answer. In fact, some of them are counterproductive. Instead you might try:

Diet - If you eat a skimpy breakfast, you're likely to experience midmorning fatigue, the result of a drop in blood sugar, which your body and brain depend on for energy.

For peak energy in the morning, be sure to eat a breakfast low in sugar and high in protein, which will provide a steady supply of blood sugar through the morning. The same goes for the rest of the day: Stick to regular, well-balanced meals.

Extra weight is tiring both, physically and psychologically. Getting your weight down to normal can do much toward revitalising you.

Exercise- Regular conditioning exercise, such as jogging, cycling, swimming or walking, helps you to handle a bigger work load. Exercise also has a well-recognised tranquilising effect, which helps you work in a more relaxed fashion and cope with tension. Exercise at the end of a day can give you energy in the evening and help you sleep better.

Sleep - If you're tired because you don't get enough sleep, the solution is simple: Make sure that you go to bed earlier. Insomnia and other sleep disorders should not be treated with sleeping pills, alcohol or tranquilisers. These can make the problem worse.

Knowing yourself - Try to schedule your most taxing jobs for the time of day when you're at your peak. Some 'morning people' tire by mid-afternoon; others of us work best in the evening. Don't over extend yourself, trying to climb the ladder of success at a record pace or to meet everyone's expectations of you. Recognise your energy cycles and plan accordingly.

Take breaks - No matter how interesting or demanding your work, you'll be able to do it with more vigour if now and again you stop, stretch, and change the scenery.

Instead of the traditional cup of coffee and a sweet roll on your break, try relaxation, meditation, yoga, calisthenics or a brisk walk.

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