Everyone feels devitalized sometimes. Some people experience persistent feelings of feeling sluggish, heavy, or fatigued in both body and mind. This can prevent them from focusing on work and cause excess pain, uneasiness, and achiness. Chronic feelings of fatigue can keep you from doing the things you want to do and tarnish the luster of your life. You deserve to feel light, complete, happy and healthy. But, before you can restore your vitality, you need to identify the cause of your low energy.

Short-term Depression

People can experience bouts of sadness or grief when certain life events happen: losing a job, going through a breakup, having a fight with a friend, losing a beloved pet, etc.. If you’ve temporarily lost your energy, your desire to do things you love, and generally feel very low, you may be going through such an event.

To lift your spirits and invite positive energy to return, try to shift your attitude from feeling like a victim to feeling like someone who has power. Take charge in creating the things that you want; don’t just be resigned to the things you don’t want. You can also practice having gratitude for what is going right. Maybe your power bill is higher than you expected it to be, but how would you feel if you didn’t have electricity at all? Perhaps your favorite restaurant is overpriced, but at least you get to eat there sometimes. When you’re feeling down, it’s important not to fixate on the bad parts of life. This rumination can fuel depression, making your problems seem even bigger than they are while sapping your energy and joy. Your perception shapes your world, so make it look as good as you can. Reaching out to your loved ones can help. Positive social interactions have powerful mood-boosting properties and can also offer opportunity to see fresh perspectives. Some well-timed advice from a friend might just be enough to pull you out from under the rain clouds.

Long-term Depression

It might take more than simply having a positive mental attitude to start feeling joyful again. Some people experience long-lasting or chronic depression that cannot be easily overcome. There is no shame in this, so if a negative pattern continues for a long period of time then consider seeing a physician or mental health professional. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2015, nearly 7% of Americans over the age of 18 had an episode of MDD. People with MDD can feel so low that everyday activities like going to work, socializing, eating, and even getting dressed may be incredibly taxing and difficult. Those with MDD can also develop healthy habits to supplement professional treatment for an added energy boost.

Eating a well-balanced diet can help revitalize the body. Avoid processed foods, portion your meals well so you don’t overeat or undereat, and choose items from all or most food groups (some people may need to avoid dairy, gluten, etc.). Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can provide calories to fuel your body, and the vitamins and natural fibers found in fruits and vegetables can help your body function properly, improving both your physical and mental health.

Exercise is known to effectively help regulate mood by reducing the body’s level of cortisol (stress hormones) and releasing mood-boosting endorphins in the brain. Exercise also aids in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Extra oxygen to your tissues means your heart and lungs will work better, giving you more energy throughout the day.

Water Retention

Water retention can cause you to feel heavier than normal as well as less nimble or active. Water retention can be a symptom of pregnancy, a sedentary lifestyle, or a diet heavy in sodium. It can also indicate a serious health condition like kidney disease, a hormone imbalance, or heart failure. If you notice that you are bloated or there is swelling in your hands, feet, ankles and legs, your body may be retaining water. Many wonder how to lose water weight for aesthetic purposes too. If your water retention is not caused by a chronic health condition, you may be able to lose water weight by adjusting your daily habits.

Drinking more water and eating less salt can help. The salt to water ratio in your body needs to stay in balance. If you’re dehydrated and eating meals that are high in sodium, as many processed foods are, your body will hang on to extra fluids.

One study found that 200 mg of magnesium per day reduced water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms (PMS), and other studies have produced similar results. Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados, dark chocolate, and leafy green vegetables. Potassium is another nutrient that helps to maintain the balance of water in the body. Exercise may also help to reduce the buildup of fluid, particularly in the lower limbs.

Other Reasons for Low Energy

Many medical conditions are associated with fatigue: anemia, fibromyalgia, anxiety, food allergies, heart disease, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and more. If your fatigue is long-lasting and hard to shake, it’s best to consult your doctor.

If you are struggling with low energy, rest assured there are solutions and you aren’t to blame for the situation. Don’t measure your self-worth by how much you are able to accomplish, especially if your productivity is significantly less than at previous times of your life. Many with an unexplained chronic condition find themselves unable to perform job, household or family duties. Your loved ones and your boss may not fully understand the reality of your condition, and this can result in a hurtful lack of compassion. Rest assured the problem isn’t all in your head. Just as a broken leg or arm needs medical attention, you too are in need of appropriate treatment for your condition. Although the path forward may not be clear, persistence can lead to breakthroughs, acceptance and healing.

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Finn Pierson
Finn Pierson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who specializes in business technology. He is drawn to the technological world because of its quickly paced and constantly changing environment. He believes embracing technology is essential to capturing success in any business and strives to inspire and encourage top technological practices in business leaders across the globe. He's a fan of podcasts, bokeh and smooth jazz. His time is mostly spent learning the piano and watching his Golden Retriever Julian chase a stick.