Busy routine has brought you down? Try a few things to get your energy back
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Many women from their mid-40s and older experience chronic low energy and fatigue.
Aside from the aging process, the responsibilities at work and home seem to peak around the 40s and 50s. School-aged children and teens need lots of time, as do elderly parents.
Women are also in the most demanding part of their career as they’ve risen through the ranks but maybe not to the level where they have a personal assistant. At home, many women still perform the majority of household care and managing the family’s social life.
“Typically, thyroid issues pop up more around age 40-plus,” said Laurel Sterling, natural health educator and a registered dietitian practicing in Canastota. “Stress and trying to do it all saps energy.”
It’s important to speak with a health care provider to rule out other health issues. That conversation should include discussing medication which can cause fatigue.
While usually not immediately life threatening, fatigue can be related to stress, anxiety and depression. Fatigue could signal a medical condition such as anemia, thyroid or autoimmune diseases.
Better self care can help women reclaim their energy levels to better face everyday challenges and feel healthier.
Of course, eating a variety of colorful produce, mostly whole grains, modest portions of healthful fat and sufficient protein is the first step in improving nutrition; however, Sterling wants more women to stop“ grabbing sugar-rich and high-carb foods, and lots of caffeine,” she said. “That saps our adrenals more so.”
Blasting through the mid-afternoon slump with an energy shot, fancy caffeinated drink or candy bar may work short-term, but it’s not healthful.
It’s important to remember that a serving of coffee or tea is eight ounces, not the giant cups offered by many restaurants. Ideally, it should be drunk without added sweetener.
“Foods rich in B vitamins, protein, and good fats fuel us,” Sterling said, “Along with diets rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, green — like kale, broccoli — grains like quinoa, which is higher in protein than most grains, green tea, and even 70 percent-plus dark chocolate. These foods are higher in antioxidants, too.”
In addition, most people need seven to nine hours’ sleep per night, a goal that most women don’t get.
While exercising seems counterintuitive to people who have little energy, its effects include renewed energy because exercise releases naturally occurring chemicals in the body that help women stay more relaxed and better able to sleep–and sleep more deeply.
Lisa Emmons, owner of Mother Earth Baby in North Syracuse and Oswego, advises women to keep better hydrated.
“Take a good supplement with vitamin C, vitamin D and B vitamins and things that support the immune system,” Emmons said. “The one thing that’s in common with all these energy shots is that they have B vitamins.”
But since they also contain caffeine and sugar, sticking with the supplement is more healthful.
“We don’t tend to take care of ourselves when we’re overwhelmed with the routine,” Emmons said. “We need to eat well and try to manage stress. Don’t take on more than you can.”