For most of us, it can be a struggle to get through these colder months. The short days combined with the cold damp mornings can leave us feeling tired and fatigued. Winter is considered the more Yin part of the year in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where yin and yang can be seen in the following ways: yin is cold whilst yang is hot, yin is inward and downward whilst yang is outward and upward. It is no surprise that due to the Yin and cold nature of winter, that fatigue and lack of motivation are some of the most common complaints in the clinic.
Over the last few years, the stress of post-viral syndromes from COVID and other viruses has overwhelmingly increased fatigue in almost everyone. The pressures and stresses that come with viruses such as COVID can contribute to this sense of fatigue. These pressures include increased work hours, mental effort, emotionally demanding tasks and extended periods of high stress, which can all lead to burnout.
One of the most overlooked aspects of maintaining your health is through your nutrition. We will explore some of the simple ways you can combat fatigue through diet and maintaining healthy eating habits. Breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day. However it is also the most commonly skipped meal of the day. Even though an extra 30 minutes of sleep may feel like the best choice in those early hours of the morning, breakfast is essential for refuelling your glycogen stores and assists in stabilising your blood glucose levels throughout the day to help maintain energy levels. Eating a high protein breakfast such as eggs, or a protein packed porridge will give you the best chance of being able to kick your fatigue to the curb.
Although there is physical tiredness that can come from demanding work and life schedules, there is also an aspect of mental fatigue that comes from overthinking that can wear you out. Doing simple breath-work exercises or meditation is a great way to take a moment for yourself and help you turn off fight or flight stress responses and switch into rest and digest mode. Taking slow deep breaths will increase the oxygen delivery to your brain and other tissues in your body and reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. This can improve your immune system and boost your chance at fighting off the next viral infection.
Even though fatigue can be a subjective feeling, your diet, eating patterns and taking some time out of your day to practice meditation can work together to lessen fatigue in your daily life as we approach these winter months. If you’re feeling like you need a little extra help, book in to see Nick or Margo at the clinic.