Do you find it difficult to crawl out of bed in the mornings? If most days feel like an uphill battle and it takes all the energy you have to drag your feet from task to task, you likely are dealing with fatigue. Feeling tired all the time can be difficult to cope with. When you’re lethargic from the moment you’ve set your feet on the floor, it can make each moment feel like a passed opportunity to be productive or do something you enjoy. Fulfilling your obligations is hard enough, so how are you supposed to find the time and energy to spend time with family and friends, take your dog on a walk, or cook a healthy dinner at the end of the day?
There are plenty of health reasons that can cause fatigue, such as anemia, heart disease, sleep apnea, or hypothyroidism. However, if you and your doctors can’t pinpoint a physical reason for your lack of energy, it’s time to check your mental health. Stress is one of the main causes of chronic fatigue, and it can leave you feeling depleted no matter how much sleep or rest you get.
If you’re living with stress-related fatigue, the key to rediscovering vitality in your life is cutting back on stress in your life. This might sound simple enough, but many people battle stress their entire lives. It can be difficult to identify the main causes of stress that are draining you — and that’s only half the battle. You may struggle with knowing how to eliminate or cope with the stressors you regularly face. That’s where we come in. Our team of therapists at Dana Group can help you tackle stress head-on so you have the energy and mental clarity to make each day count.
Can’t remember what a stress-free life feels like? Connect with one of our therapists.
Signs Your Fatigue Is Caused by Stress
Stress is a sneaky feeling that can cause a lot of harm and uncomfortable symptoms without you realizing it. Most people expect to feel tired after a long, strenuous workout. However, living with stress and anxiety all the time can completely drain you emotionally and physically. Your fatigue will also likely be accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches
- Appetite changes
- Brian fog
- Slowed reflexes
- Chest pain
- Racing heart
- Digestive issues
- Jaw tension
Additionally, it can be difficult to sleep when your mind is racing the moment your head hits the pillow. Difficulties sleeping can worsen your fatigue during the day.
Stress Management: How to Identify and Cope With Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your day-to-day life and cause mental and physical health issues long term. Acknowledging that stress is the source of your fatigue is the first step toward finding relief and living life with renewed vigor. By treating the source of your lethargy, you can find long-term success and vitality, as opposed to just relying on another cup of coffee to try to push you through.
Identify Your Stressors
If you were to reflect on your week and think back on the times you felt stressed, you’ll likely notice patterns. Maybe you’d recall that you felt stressed at family meals when your children started fighting. There may be a certain environment that makes you stressed, such as a busy freeway. Or there may a specific person that you feel stressed around, for example, your boss or even your spouse.
The things that cause you stress can be categorized into external and internal stressors. Anything that’s outside your control is an external stressor. These include things like:
- Traumatic events
- Relationship problems
- Awkward social situations
- Work pressure
- Uncomfortable environments
- Physical pain
- Major life changes
An internal stressor involves emotions and thinking patterns that contribute to stress, such as low self-esteem, high self-standards, negative self-talk, pessimism, and perfectionism.
It’s important you take time to understand what situations, environments, people, or thought patterns consistently cause you stress. If you’re having difficulties identifying your stressors, it can help to keep a journal and document the times you feel stress and what may have triggered it.
Develop Healthy Coping Methods
Once you know what your stressors are, you can develop coping methods to help you reduce stress when those events happen. While you may assume you can prevent stress by avoiding your stressors, the reality is, you’re bound to be confronted with things that trigger stress. The key is to have a game plan. While you can’t control the events that happen to you or even how these situations make you feel, you can choose how you respond.
There may be a trial-and-error period as you learn what methods help you cope with stress the best. Everyone is different, and just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can start making a list of things that make you happy and have helped you relieve stress in the past. This may look like taking a break from a stressful work activity, connecting with a friend, speaking with a counselor, going on a walk outside, or dedicating some time to a hobby you enjoy.
It’s also important to identify and supplement negative behaviors or thought patterns you may revert to in stressful situations. For instance, turning to drugs or alcohol when you’re stressed doesn’t actually help you decrease stress and can lead to more severe issues down the road. Additionally, withdrawing from your loved ones, overeating, binge-watching TV, or indulging in compulsive behaviors can leave you feeling isolated and contribute to addictive behaviors. While humans often automatically turn to negative behaviors when stressed, being aware of these patterns can help you cope with stress in more healthy ways.
Stress Prevention: Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes
If you’re prone to feeling stressed, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to help minimize stress in your life. In a society where people often feel pressured to achieve and function at a high speed, it can be difficult to slow down and take care of yourself. However, it takes a change in mindset to create a new routine and implement habits that help prevent stress.
A healthy lifestyle prevents stress and eliminates fatigue. Taking the time to eat healthy meals, exercise daily, do breathing exercises, drink enough water, and get around eight hours of sleep a night can significantly lower your stress levels.
Social support and emotional growth are also essential for helping you combat chronic stress. Even the most introverted person needs time with others, and it helps to find an outlet to talk about your stressors. Earlier we mentioned how some causes of stress are internal. A therapist is someone you can confide in with full confidence, and a mental health professional can help you identify and replace negative thought patterns.
It’s also essential you find time every day to slow down. If you have a schedule packed with work, parenting, house maintenance, errands, and other obligations, it might seem impossible to find a moment of rest. You’re bound to feel stressed and worn out if you never set aside time to simply relax or do something you love. Steal a few moments in the morning and at night to engage in relaxing activities, and take breaks throughout the day when you feel stress start to build up.
Ready to live a life full of energy and joy? Reach out to us today.