When you’re feeling unwell, both your personal and professional life can suffer. You may be too tired to spend time with family or friends, you may be less productive at work, or you may simply not enjoy your life as much as you once did. The reason for your malaise could be emotional, mental or physical, and finding the cause is often challenging if the symptoms are subtle.
To help you get that spring back in your step, here are 15 common reasons why you’re not feeling your best:
Depression is a common reason for feeling unwell. Health reports that one of the most common symptoms of this potentially debilitating condition is fatigue. Other signs that you might be depressed are unexplained pain, sleep problems, irritability, and lack of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Depression can greatly affect the quality of your life, so if you suspect this might be the cause of your listlessness, talking to a therapist and/or taking anti-depressants can help.
2. Inadequate Sleep
When you aren’t getting a full night’s sleep, or you’re waking up frequently throughout the night, you’ll feel tired, have difficulty concentrating, and be more susceptible to illness or accidents during the day. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep in order to function at their best and maintain optimal health. To ensure at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, avoid caffeine before bed, turn off all electronic devices, and keep your bedroom in total darkness. For more tips about getting your forty winks, check out our previous blog “The Connection Between Sleep and Wellness.”
3. Chronic Stress
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is highest first thing in the morning and drops down at night so that you can relax enough to fall asleep. However, Prevention reports that if you are under a significant amount of ongoing stress, your cortisol levels may never drop to the appropriate level at night, which means that you’ll stay awake long after bedtime. In This leads to exhaustion, concentration problems, and opens the door to a host of other, more serious, issues. Reduce the amount of stress in your life and introduce soothing activities into your nighttime ritual, such as taking a hot bath, practicing yoga or meditating.
4. Adrenal Fatigue
Physical, emotional, and/or mental stress that is severe and constant can lead to adrenal fatigue, which is when your adrenal glands stay in “fight or flight” mode for too long and become overburdened. The most obvious symptom is fatigue that doesn’t improve even when getting a full night’s sleep. The danger of adrenal fatigue is that it may lead to insulin, thyroid, diabetes, and heart problems. To learn more about adrenal fatigue and see if you might be suffering from it, read our blog post “How To Rebuild Your Adrenals.”
5. Vitamin D Deficiency
Your body needs vitamin D to function properly. According to Mercola.com, when you don’t have enough vitamin D, you may be overly tired, feel down in the dumps for no apparent reason, have unexplained aches and pains, or experience excessive head sweating. Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone that the body absorbs best through sun exposure, not your diet, so spending a few minutes in the sun each day may alleviate this deficiency.
6. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Health reports that a shortage of vitamin B12 in the body can cause fatigue, constipation or diarrhea, confusion, numbness in the limbs, and many other symptoms. A simple blood test will tell you if you’re deficient in this vitamin, and if so you can easily increase it by eating B12-rich foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy (may not be efficiently absorbed in supplement form).
When left uncontrolled, diabetes can cause you to urinate frequently, develop extreme thirst, become fatigued, and feel generally unwell, according to the Mayo Clinic. To alleviate these symptoms, make healthy lifestyle changes such as a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and weight loss if you’re overweight. For more serious cases, you may need to be treated with medication.
8. Side Effects of Medication
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause a number of side effects that can contribute to your overall feeling of unwellness, including fatigue, dizziness, headaches, queasiness, and irritability. Dosage adjustments and/or medication changes may resolve your problems if side effects are the cause.
9. Thyroid Conditions
When your thyroid is overactive or underactive, you can experience multiple symptoms that affect the quality of your life. The Mayo Clinic states that an overactive thyroid may cause you to feel jittery and lightheaded. On the other hand, an underactive thyroid can lead to exhaustion and sluggishness. These problems can often be corrected through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and supplements, or in more severe cases with the use of thyroid medications. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/basics/symptoms/con-20020986)
Dehydration is another common—though often overlooked—problem that can cause you to feel unwell. If you are not drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day, your body may not be adequately hydrated. Increasing your water intake can relieve the symptoms of dehydration, such as tiredness, headaches, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Unaddressed, lack of proper hydration can lead to severe dehydration which can cause your entire system to go into shock.
11. Lack of Exercise
A simple reason you may not be feeling your best is a lack of exercise. It can be all too easy to overlook this healthy lifestyle component because if you’re feeling tired or blue, the last thing you may want to do is go for a run or play a game of tennis. But regular, though moderate, activity each week is necessary in order to stay healthy by regulating glucose, insulin, and leptin levels.
12. Hormone Imbalance
Both men and women can experience symptoms of hormone imbalance, which may include anxiety, irritability, lack of energy, weight gain, low libido, sweating, and insomnia. These issues are most common among middle-aged adults, but they can occur at any age if the endocrine system is out of whack. Use this handy evaluation test to see if your hormones are imbalanced:Hormone tests by your doctor may be required, as well as supplementation with a natural progesterone cream.
13. Food Intolerance
Intolerance to certain foods or compounds, such as gluten or sugar, can affect your health dramatically. Symptoms of food intolerances include diarrhea, cramping/bloating, nausea, headaches, skin rashes, and fatigue. Treatment for food intolerance typically consists of eliminating the culprit from your diet.
14. Poor Nutrition
Another simple reason you may not be feeling top-notch is a poor diet. Lack of essential nutrients may cause weight gain or loss, dull or acne-prone skin, brittle hair, decreased brain function, constant colds or flu, and fatigue. To optimize your health, be sure to eat nutritious, wholesome, and regularly-spaced meals. Avoid eating too many sweets or processed foods, and include plenty of vegetables, fruit, protein, and healthy fat.
15. Underlying Heart Condition
According to Prevention, approximately half of the surveyed individuals who had experienced a heart attack reported feeling unusually tired and sluggish before the event. Heart conditions can also cause other symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to get tested.
The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.