What is fatigue and what is it not?
Fatigue is defined as subjective periods of tiredness that can alleviated by rest. Let’s look at some myths around fatigue.
1. It’s ‘normal’ to feel tired – In today’s culture it is almost a badge of honour to push yourself and work all the hours under the sun. While hard work is a virtue, feeling fatigued is not optimal, nor the ‘normal’ state of being for human beings. Rest is important for health and wellness, and indeed optimum performance.
2. Giving in to fatigue makes you weak – Your body has developed systems and feedback loops over millions of years of evolution to keep you alive and functioning. It is much ‘smarter’ than your conscious thought and should be respected and listened to. Taking a break when your body tells you to is not weak, it is sensible.
3. You just need a ‘pick me up’ – Caffeine and sugar are not adequate replacements for proper rest and recuperation. While they might alleviate the problem today, they make it worse in the long run. Keeping you in a cycle of inadequate rest, a high from the pick me up, followed by a crash, and repeat.
4. There’s nothing you can do about feeling tired – Living a healthier lifestyle will almost always improve how you feel. Eat nutritious food, exercise, stay well hydrated, manage stress, and get enough sleep. How you feel will be night and day.
5. It’s a part of getting older – While things will typically slow down as we age, most fatigue could be attributed to less exercise, increasing stress, and less time to take care of ourselves as we age. With concerted effort this can all be combatted.