I was in my early twenties, sneaking away from work at lunch to sleep in my car when I finally decided to find the answer to the question I’d been asking myself a lot, “why do I have no energy all of a sudden?”
It started with some yawning during the day, and then it got to the point where I could barely get anything done.
Over the years, my energy level has ebbed and flowed, but now, in my forties, it seems to have plummeted lower than ever.
The last few weeks have been the best I’ve felt in a while. Now that I’m experiencing less brain fog (more on that later), I thought I’d share what’s been working.
My low energy affected every part of my life
Very long story short, but I have anemia.
Anemia is not having enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to carry oxygen to body tissues.
That translates to not having enough energy to take care of even very basic tasks sometimes.
Oh, and there’s also the aforementioned brain fog. Who knew the brain needed oxygen to work properly?
Unfortunately, every time I get a handle on my anemia, my menstrual cycle comes on and takes me back to square one.
Because of uterine fibroids, I have heavy periods. It seems that no matter how much iron I take, my menstrual week drains it all.
After a few back-t0-back challenging cycles, I couldn’t seem to increase my energy, no matter what I did.
I was struggling at work because I couldn’t think due to brain fog.
All I wanted to do was lay on the couch.
I didn’t even have an appetite.
Lack of energy started to impact the quality of my life to the point that I went to my doctor begging for help.
What causes low energy
There are several causes for low energy, and my doctor has been reviewing them all with me to determine why I have no energy all of a sudden.
Lack of Sleep
One of the most common reasons for feeling tired all of a sudden is lack of sleep.
We’re all managing so many responsibilities, and our schedules are extra busy.
Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night isn’t always a priority.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies aren’t able to repair and rejuvenate.
There were a few factors that were contributing to my not sleeping, and I’ve been working on getting more rest.
Diet plays a huge role in our energy levels.
If we don’t fuel ourselves with the right nutrients, we could experience fatigue and a lack of energy.
I feel a difference when I eat a balanced diet versus tons of sweets and carbs.
One thing I want to point out is that “proper” nutrition should be individualized and based on what works for you.
As much as I love donuts, I know that eating a whole one is going to give me a sugar crash and my energy will be gone for the rest of the day.
But I’d never tell anyone else not to eat one. Talk to your doctor, listen to your body, and find out what works in terms of nutrition for you.
Also, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is also crucial for maintaining energy.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety take a toll on a person’s energy levels, and for sure affected mine.
When you’re constantly feeling stressed or anxious, your body produces more cortisol, which can lead to fatigue and exhaustion.
Taking steps to manage your stress can help increase your energy.
I use meditation, journaling, therapy, herbal supplements (I love this one from CALM), and medicine to help me destress.
I also enjoy walking because getting regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve your mood, leading to increased energy levels.
Lack of energy can also be a sign of bigger health issues.
For me, it was anemia coupled with depression.
There might be something else going on with you.
It’s important to take a sudden decrease in energy very seriously.
You know your body. If you aren’t feeling like yourself, trust that.
How to Increase Your Energy
Once you determine what is causing your low energy, then you can take steps to resolve the issue.
I tried a bunch of different things to see if I could get my energy back without taking the time to figure out what was going on.
I ended up wasting a lot of time.
When I finally went to the doctor who told me that I needed to increase my iron, I realized no amount of “get more sleep” was going to give me more energy.
So, again—after you determine what is causing your low energy, here are a few things you can do to increase it:
- Exercise Regularly
- Regular exercise can boost your energy levels by improving circulation, increasing oxygen flow to your muscles, and releasing endorphins that boost mood.
- Get More Sleep
- Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining energy levels. Make sure you’re getting a decent amount of sleep per night, and try to stick to a regular sleep schedule.
- Stay Hydrated
- Dehydration can lead to fatigue and a lack of energy, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.
- Manage your mental health
- When you’re depressed or anxious, that can affect your energy, too. Don’t forget to check in on your mental health often.
- Take supplements
- In addition to iron supplements, I also use magnesium, and a brand called Blood Builder that a friend recommended that is a super multivitamin.
I know how frustrating it can be to feel tired all of a sudden.
Take the time you need to figure out what’s going on so that you can live the quality of life that you desire.
It’s hard, but I’m doing the work, and every day that I start to feel like the old me, I think it’s worth it.