I’m so FREAKIN’ tired of being so FREAKIN’ tired!
Yaawwn…..Does this sound familiar? I’ve had another long day at the office, hurried off to the gym, I take care of some errands, grab dinner, and crash in bed visit here. In the morning, it starts all over again. And apparently, the cleaning fairy failed to show up this week. How many of you have a non-stop schedule?
Lack of Energy from Menopause: Causes & Solutions
Menopausal fatigue has many causes, and there are many ways to end this problem.
Many women report that a new-onset of fatigue is due to menopause. This lack of energy can then lead to secondary issues such as depression and irritability. It’s believed that the fatigue is generated by menopause’s infamous hormonal changes.
However, not all women who “go through the change” (is that another one of those damn euphemisms?) will experience fatigue. Nevertheless, the missing energy that’s associated with menopause for many women is real, caused by declining levels of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that have a say-so in cellular energy.
Another pathway that menopause causes fatigue is that its fluctuating hormones can interfere with sleep. A good night’s sleep on a consistent basis is essential for feeling energized throughout the day. If a woman suffers night sweats (another common menopausal symptom), this too will disrupt sleep.
As you can see, menopause can cause quite a ripple effect that leads to drained energy levels. Another example is that any depression that originates from menopause can sap energy.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Early Menopause
The journal Menopause has a report that explains that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is associated with early surgically-induced menopause (prior to or at age 45). This small but notable study was carried out by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control. But women with natural menopause that occurs during the normal timeline, as already mentioned, often experience a new-onset fatigue—either directly from a changing hormonal environment or indirectly from symptoms like insomnia and depression.
How to Regain Energy Levels During Menopause
1. See a doctor. Have a complete checkup to rule out that new-onset fatigue, whether it’s ongoing or unpredictably episodic, isn’t being caused by a medical condition unrelated to menopause. Coinciding with menopause might be a developing hypothyroidism. Low thyroid is notorious for causing compromised energy levels (along with depression and weight gain).
Your doctor may also want to discuss with you the possibility of hormone replacement therapy.
2. Exercise. If you don’t exercise, then get going yesterday (c’mon, you know this stuff). Exercise is so very important for every woman, and it’s the most effective way to recapture the feeling of youth. The impact of rigorous exercise is unparalleled and includes empowerment.
The mistake that many women make, however, is that of believing that the housework they normally do counts towards exercise. If you’re suffering from fatigue—and you’ve been doing housework all along—then what does that tell you? And I don’t need much of an excuse to avoid housework, so this is a good one!
It means you need structured exercise: cardio and strength training. It’s the best antidepressant out there (and no adverse side effects like pharmaceuticals can cause). Workouts will speed up resting metabolism, aid in fat loss and boost self-confidence (imagine being able to pick up heavy things with ease!).
Many results of exercise are immediate: improved sleep, stabilized blood sugar, a soothed soul, spiked self-esteem and a renewed approach towards improved eating habits. The increased energy levels from exercise may be felt within one week of beginning an exercise regimen.
3. Clean up your diet. There’s a saying: “If man made it, don’t eat it.” Yes, eating like a cave-dweller is difficult, but at least make a concerted effort to restrict processed foods. Must dinner always come in a microwavable box? Well, it did before I met my husband (who does all the cooking, and marvelously I might add). An easy way to remember is that the more ingredients in a food, the more processed it is.
Avoid boxed and canned foods as much as possible. You can learn how to prepare foods the way your grandmother did. Or if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it! A diet free of synthetic additives and very low in processed sugars will revitalize you. A more natural diet (along with the exercise) will trigger loss of excess body fat.
4. Substances. If you smoke, stop. Avoid alcohol. If you can’t resist, limit yourself to no more than four ounces of red wine a day (oh crap!). Limit caffeine.
5. Re-evaluate sleep habits. You should get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. Take charge and make this a habit. If this is a struggle, find out why. If you must get up super early to make a long commute to work, for example, see if you can telecommute a few days per week.
6. Sleep in total darkness. This spurs production of melatonin and human growth hormone. There are blackout curtains you can use to make a room pitch-black. Make sure the room doesn’t contain any light sources (e.g., clock radio). This is a time to use that beauty sleep mask you got for Valentine’s day J or it’s time for shopping!
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, and human growth hormone has all sorts of functions including fat-burning and boosting immune function. If possible, sleep between 10 pm and 6 am seven days per week.
7. Water. Dehydration can sap energy. You can be dehydrated yet not feel thirsty. Fill a pitcher with ice water and drink out of that throughout the day. By bedtime it should be just about empty.
Declining energy levels during menopause may not even be caused by this change. Fatigue during this time might simply be from lack of exercise finally catching up to you or weight gain over the years. Nevertheless, check out the ideas in this post to relieve fatigue that’s induced by either menopause or our lifestyle habits.
8. Do you sometimes lack the motivation to take on these common sense actions?
I know I do, but I remember that it will only get harder as time goes by. If we can just start by doing ONE of these and tackle that ONE then we can build on it and add another. Pretty soon the results alone will motivate us.
Did you get a chance to try any of these steps? Please let me know which ones have worked for you.