When I hit 37, it was like I hit a wall—even my lifelong enthusiastic spirit couldn’t push me through moments of fatigue when I was running uphill or riding my mountain bike. Suddenly it felt much more difficult to get the same job done. Was I pushing myself too hard? Had my metabolism shifted? Or had I simply hit that age everyone warned me about, when you just start feeling tired?
After speaking with thousands of patients over the years, I’ve learned that I’m not alone. The middle years pile up with physical and emotional stress—endless responsibilities, demands from our kids, body aches and pains, layer-upon-layer of small worries about pretty much everything, and the heavy heart that comes from an increasingly dystopian world. Just watch the news for a few minutes and your mind will start spinning with thoughts of environmental collapse, terrorism, genetically modified everything, political disarray, and so on. No wonder we start to feel tired!
However, in my 13 years of clinical practice, I’ve come across some gems of wisdom that have helped me stay strong and vital despite the stresses that can come from daily living.
Make sure your posture is as balanced as possible. Muscles working against an imbalanced spine can sap energy and tire your body. Try bending forward when you walk and see how long you last. Most of us possess up to eight postural imbalances like un-level shoulders, twisted hips, forward-head posture and “tech neck.” Get a Chiropractic spinal check-up and regular adjustments to ensure that your body is balanced and firing optimally.
Focus on a plant-based, whole-food diet. Now I imagine I won’t convert you into being a plant-based vegetarian just by mentioning this, but at least we all can work toward reducing the low-quality processed foods that populate our diets. List the processed food you eat in a given day—it’s probably way more than you think! (Canned spaghetti sauce is processed by the way). Try a 7-day processed food fast and see how you feel after that week.
This has nothing to do with religion. Mediation is a way of understanding how our minds are constantly creating thoughts that cause low and anxious emotional states. Pay attention to the silent conversation you have with yourself each day. Likely it’s pretty negative. Now imagine long stretches of time during which that voice is not chattering. Meditation helps us end suffering by teaching us how to detach from our thoughts and creating greater space and openness in our minds.
There you have it—three effective ways to help overcome stress and tiredness by nurturing your physical self, your chemical/nutritional self, and your mental/emotional self. It’s time to take care of YOU.