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20 Jul 2012

Causes of fatigue and tiredness

20 Jul 2012

Chronic fatigue or constant tiredness is something a Business and Life Coach can help creative professionals with. There are a number of factors which can contribute to it – both physically and psychologically – but it’s usually a combination of them rather than just one reason which keeps each client from healing.

Medical advice can reduce the symptoms but if it’s not caused by an obvious physical ailment, a GP does not usually have the time to look into other possible causes of why it’s happening. This is where a series with a Life Coach can make all the difference.

We all would love to have our days start by bouncing out of bed, impatient to get started at our craft and finishing the day with supreme satisfaction from the hours we’ve just lived.

I’ve found my Coaching service has helped many clients on the way to acheiving this. But, if you have to work on it by yourself, then this article from the Better Health Channel can give you a detailed look into the causes of Chronic Fatigue and how you might be able to help yourself onto the path of improvement.

Fatigue Explained

Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy that does not go away when you rest. People may feel fatigued – in body or mind (physical fatigue or psychological fatigue).

With physical fatigue, your muscles cannot do things as easily as they used to. You might notice this when you climb stairs or carry bags of groceries. With psychological fatigue, it may be difficult to concentrate for as long as you used to. In severe cases, you might not feel like getting out of bed in the morning and doing your regular daily activities.

So what’s making you so tired all the time? Most of the time, fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines. Fatigue can be a normal and important response to physical exertion, poor eating habits, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. In some cases, however, fatigue is a symptom of an underlying medical problem that requires medical treatment.

When fatigue is not relieved by enough sleep, good nutrition, or a low-stress environment, it should be evaluated by your doctor.

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of other physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

Chronic tiredness or sleepiness
Headache
Dizziness
Sore or aching muscles
Muscle weakness
Slowed reflexes and responses
Impaired decision-making and judgement
Moodiness, such as irritability
Impaired hand-to-eye coordination
Appetite loss
Reduced immune system function
Blurry vision
Short-term memory problems
Poor concentration
Hallucinations
Reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand
Low motivation.

A range of fatigue causes

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:
Medical causes – unrelenting exhaustion may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease or diabetes.
Lifestyle-related causes – feelings of fatigue often have an obvious cause, such as sleep deprivation, overwork or unhealthy habits.
Emotional concerns and stress – fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.
Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical causes of Fatigue

Many diseases and disorders can trigger fatigue, including:
The flu
Glandular fever
Anaemia
Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea or restless leg syndrome
CFS/ME (formerly known as chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalopathy)
Hypothyroidism
Hepatitis
Tuberculosis
Chronic pain
Coeliac disease
Addison’s disease
Parkinson’s disease
Heart problems
HIV
Cancer
Certain medications.

Lifestyle related causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Common lifestyle choices that can cause fatigue include:
Lack of sleep – typically adults need about eight hours of sleep each night. Some people try to get by on fewer hours of sleep.
Too much sleep – adults sleeping more than 11 hours per day can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Alcohol and drugs – alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the nervous system and disturbs normal sleep patterns. Other drugs, such as cigarettes and caffeine, stimulate the nervous system and can cause insomnia.
Sleep disturbances – disturbed sleep may occur for a number of reasons, for example, noisy neighbours, young children who wake in the night, a snoring partner, or an uncomfortable sleeping environment such as a stuffy bedroom.
Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour – physical activity is known to improve fitness, health and wellbeing, reduce stress, and boost energy levels. It also helps you sleep.
Poor diet – low kilojoule diets, low carbohydrate diets or high energy foods that are nutritionally poor don’t provide the body with enough fuel or nutrients to function at its best. Quick fix foods, such as chocolate bars or caffeinated drinks, only offer a temporary energy boost that quickly wears off and worsens fatigue.
Individual factors – personal illness or injury, illnesses or injuries in the family, too many commitments (for example, working two jobs) or financial problems can cause fatigue.

Workplace related causes of Chronic Fatigue

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:
Shift work – the human body is designed to sleep during the night. This pattern is set by a small part of the brain known as the circadian clock. A shift worker confuses their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
Poor workplace practices – can add to a person’s level of fatigue. These may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), stressful work environment (such as excessive noise or temperature extremes), boredom, working alone with little or no interaction with others, or fixed concentration on a repetitive task.
Workplace stress – can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, constant change, or threats to job security.
Burnout – can be described as striving too hard in one area of life while neglecting everything else.‘Workaholics’, for example, put all their energies into their career, which puts their family life, social life and personal interests out of balance.
Unemployment – financial pressures, feelings of failure or guilt, and the emotional exhaustion of prolonged job hunting can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Psychological causes of Fatigue

Studies suggest that psychological factors are present in at least 50 per cent of fatigue cases.These may include:
Depression – this illness is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic tiredness.
Anxiety and stress – a person who is chronically anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
Grief – losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

Diagnosis can be difficult. Since fatigue can present a vast range of symptoms and be caused by many different factors working in combination, diagnosis can be difficult. Your doctor may diagnose fatigue using a number of tests including:
Medical history – recent events such as childbirth, medication, surgery or bereavement may contribute to fatigue.
Physical examination – to check for signs of illness or disease. The doctor may also ask detailed questions about diet, lifestyle and life events.
Tests – such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays and other investigations. The idea is to rule out any physical causes, for example anaemia, infection or hormonal problems.

Where to get help with Fatigue and Tiredness

Your doctor
Things to remember:
Fatigue can be caused by a number of factors working in combination, such as medical conditions, unhealthy lifestyle choices, workplace problems and stress. Fatigue is a known risk factor in motor vehicle and workplace accidents. Always see your doctor for diagnosis if you are suffering from chronic tiredness.

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Thank you to Better Health Channel for that article. A link to their site is at the top of this page.

Another view of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which fascinates me was one I witnessed at a seminar put on by Jerry and Esther Hicks who’s self improvement guidance have given me much inspiration over the years.

A young man came up to the stage and explained he had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and was frustrated he didn’t know how to slow his mind down to keep pace with his body. He couldn’t work his usual Advertising agency work but he was full of ideas and unable to find the energy to do anything about them.

The question was asked of him (not the exact words) “Do you really want to slow your mind down or do you want to speed up your body to keep pace with your mind?”

She asked him what was the time he felt his stongest negative emotion. He answered “People demanding a lot of me.”

She said “If they all went away, what would you do?”

He answered “To make movies, to have fun.” A smile spread across his face.

After him describing more, she clarified for him “To collaborate with high minded people and to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Yes, he confirmed this was the essence of what he really wanted. The guidance she offered to him was that all his new ideas about making a movie would be possible if he kept this goal in mind. The energy would be there for him every step of the way and fatigue would not be a problem.

So, if you’re suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and constant tiredness, and you’ve dealt with the present physical aspects with your doctor, how about working with a Life Coach to help you find what it is that you REALLY want in life? A Life Coach can partner with you to find the Goals that really make a difference to you and then support you along the way to achieving them. Perhaps this is the key to getting your mojo back…

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