I'm a GP and this is how to stop feeling tired all the time – in 5 simple steps

DRAGGING yourself out of bed, non-stop yawning and craving caffeine to get you through the day. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Doctors see the issue so often that they have a medical acronym for it – TATT, Tired All The Time. 

One in five of us visit our GP suffering with tiredness and fatigue.

A blood test can rule out a medical cause, such as an underactive thyroid or anaemia, but it’s unusual for GPs to find anything physically wrong.

Dr Sara Kayat, This Morning’s resident GP, sees plenty of patients who suffer fatigue.

She says: "There are many conditions that can cause fatigue but usually, when I delve into someone’s lifestyle, stress is the underlying issue.

"We as a society are causing ourselves to feel drained because of the way we choose to live when surviving the modern world."

Our adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol, vital for the body to function.

But at times of high stress, cortisol spikes and if it remains high, it can cause us physical and emotional damage.

Sara says: "Stress tends to tick away, slowly wearing us out.

"Evolutionarily, we all need a certain amount of stress to motivate us and get us up every day in search of a ‘better life’, but it can get to a point where stress becomes detrimental."

Here, Sara shares her tips on how to help manage stress and in turn, prevent feeling TATT…

YOU TIME

It’s imperative that we learn to make time for ourselves. Without it, there is little chance we will reduce the daily stress that bogs us down.

Set aside some ‘you time’ once a week to read a book, get a manicure, do some drawing or simply dance like no one’s watching!

It has become so easy to spend your spare time scrolling through social media and whilst you think you are relaxing, your mind isn’t.

It’s flicking through hundreds of images thinking, ‘Do I look as good as her?’ or ‘I wish I was having that much fun.’

Take the time to think about what makes you feel happy, calm and in the moment, and shut the door to the outside world – at least for a while.

SLOW DOWN & DO LESS

Ever heard of the saying, ‘less is more’? Doing less will make you happier because ultimately, you will have less to be stressed about.

Life is more enjoyable if you slow down and take a moment to appreciate the little things.

Try switching to slow-mode in everyday activities such as driving, walking and eating. Focus on one thing at a time and try to avoid multi-tasking. Nothing can be done efficiently if you’re juggling 10 things at once.

Another tip is to try cutting your to-do list in half. We often trick ourselves into thinking we have to fit in as much as possible in a limited amount of time, but it’s not realistic.

Stick to accomplishing the things that matter most. That way you’ll put less pressure on yourself and feel like you have achieved something.

SLEEP

Poor sleep remains one of the biggest contributors to stress. We are working longer and harder than ever before and are always on call via our phones.

But without sleeping more to make up for it, something has to give. No wonder we feel tired all the time.

A bad night’s sleep can play havoc with you emotionally, making everything feel harder to cope with. You also tend to eat more sugary foods when sleep deprived, which will only make you feel worse.

Don’t sit in bed on your phone letting the minutes or hours tick by. Start creating a bedtime routine that gets your head on the pillow for around 10pm.

Sleep at roughly the same time every night, create a dark, tidy and quiet space in your bedroom, and give yourself time to wind down.

When it hits 9pm, turn off your phone in preparation for a healthy bedtime regime. 

FOOD

Making poor choices when it comes to food and drink will only zap your energy. 

Caffeine and sugary foods will only get your blood sugar levels fluctuating, causing feelings of stress and anxiousness. 

Instead, choose slow-release carbohydrates and seasonal fruits and vegetables that are still fresh and full of nutrients, to make you feel happier and more alert.

Preparation is also key in managing to feel less stressed, despite a hectic lifestyle.

Embrace what this modern world offers in terms of ordering your groceries to your door, avoiding hours rushing chaotically through supermarket aisles. 

And when you make dinner, remember to make extra for your lunch the next day, thus avoiding the crazed meal-deal sandwich buying at peak lunch times. 

Carrying a bottle of water to drink throughout the day is a good idea too. Without enough water we become dehydrated, which can cause stress. 

EXERCISE 

When you’re tired, it’s very tempting to skip exercise, but being active for just 20 minutes a day can reduce fatigue, improve alertness and concentration, and bat away stress. 

This is because regular exercise helps your heart work more efficiently, delivering oxygen and nutrients around the body. 

It also produces chemicals in the brain called endorphins that improve the ability to sleep.

Next time you’re tempted to sprawl out on the sofa, go for a brisk walk or do a few yoga stretches to boost energy, improve sleep and reduce stress.

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