Tired all the time? We have as a culture put menopause into a very tight box, that leaves most women feeling hopeless and unsupported during this significant life shift. This story we’ve been telling ourselves may reflect a shared experience, but it doesn’t have to be normal if women have the right information and support. Menopause and perimenopause is a time of significant change in a woman’s life, but given the right tools, it can be a powerfully positive shift into this next chapter. Today we will explore some of the natural ways to reduce one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause: fatigue.
Tired All the Time: Limit Caffeine Consumption
Although caffeine is known to “give” energy in the short run, the reality is that generally, it ends up robbing you of it in the long term. Waking up to a coffee (or other caffeinated beverages) every day can disconnect you from the ability to address the root cause of your low levels of energy. An exhausted body combined with an overstimulated body (thanks to caffeine) means the adrenals are working over-time, which is not ideal, but especially during this already hormonally-charged period of life.
Since caffeine has a half-life of about 8 hours, it also influences your sleep quality that night. Even a morning caffeinated drink will still linger in the system come bedtime, meaning your sleep won’t be as deep and restful, and it will promote the cycle of over-caffeination the next day.
Limiting caffeine consumption might look like keeping it to one caffeinated beverage a day, cutting out coffee, or at least ensuring you’re not drinking anything stimulating after 11 am/ noon. Ideally, you don’t want to be relying on any caffeinated beverages to get you out of bed in the morning or to get you through the day.
Tired All the Time: Eat Less (Often)
Intermittent fasting is a great way to reduce inflammation and promote deeper sleep. It’s not about eating less; it’s about eating less often. Chronic caloric restriction has an inflammatory response and can down-regulate your metabolism. Still, by eating less regularly, you promote a process of deep cellular healing called autophagy that does wonders for your health.
Intermittent fasting refers to constriction of the daily feeding window, optimally between 12-18 hours of fasting (and 6-12 hours of eating). Ideally, you want also to coincide with your fasting window to avoid eating 3+ hours before bed. Sleeping on an empty stomach enables your body to tap into a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Tired All the Time: Prioritize Sleep (Quality!)
Sleep quantity is essential, but the quality of your sleep is much more reflective of your energy the following day. If you feel tired all the time, avoiding food too close to bedtime is one key aspect of getting a good night’s rest, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cultivating proper sleep hygiene.
Other key factors include:
- Not consuming caffeine after midday
- Avoiding any artificial light after 9 pm
- Limit screen time in general after sundown
- Using blue light blocking glasses after sundown
- Sleeping in a cool room
- Follow a bedtime routine
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Give yourself at least 8 hours before a morning alarm
Night sweats are a common occurrence during perimenopause, which you can mitigate by sleeping in a slightly cooler bedroom, and avoiding spicy/ heat inducing foods. Foods like chilis, garlic, and ginger have hot constitutions and will encourage a build-up of too much heat in the body. Fiery thoughts also have the same effect, so practicing mindfulness, particularly before bed, is a great way to calm the body emotionally and physically.
Stress is one of the biggest energy drainers. Low levels of chronic underlying stress can come in the form of physical, chemical, and emotional stress. Stress in the form of overtraining and exposure to toxic chemicals is often addressed because of how tangible they are. However, emotional stress is just as potent when it comes to draining your energy.
Reducing emotional stress can be done thanks to mindfulness practice. Mindfulness can take on many forms, such as meditation, gentle yoga, walking in nature, and a general slow-down approach. Most people go about their day on overdrive, always doing. By taking a step back and incorporating moments of stillness (and observation), you can start to calm the mind and reduce emotional stress.
Mindfulness has also been used successfully with pain management, reduction in anxiety, and improved sleep quality.
Tired All the Time: Stay Moving
When we feel fatigued, it might seem logical to stop exercising. However, studies suggest that daily exercise promotes hormone health and can boost your energy when performed mindfully. You want to avoid overtraining and under resting, but 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise most days may indeed be the fountain of youth.
Weight training, in particular, is beneficial for women and reduces the likelihood of developing osteoporosis!
Tired All the Time: Set Boundaries
Although cultivating boundaries is an essential tool at any age, it becomes especially useful during the perimenopausal/ menopausal transition of life. In her fertile years, many women feel the collective burden to serve others. Serving others is deeply embedded in the archetype of the feminine as well as our cultural habits– and this weight often means women take on the burdens of others, at their own expense.
The perimenopausal period can provide women with an opportunity to go inwards, and cultivate a deep kind of self-love and respect that they may have neglected in younger years. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean being selfish, it means honoring your body’s wants and needs, and making sure you give yourself enough time to do the things that light you up.
Cultivating boundaries can look like a lot of things, and often hinges on the ability to say “no” when need be. Take this new chapter in life as an opportunity to learn your worth and end toxic relationships in your life. Surround yourself with people who support you emotionally, who leave you feeling full as opposed to drained after you see them.
Consider A Supplement
Although lifestyle adjustment and mindful living are the foundation of a smoother transition into menopause, there are also a few supplements that can bolster your resilience.
Black cohosh is one of the most scientifically supported supplements when it comes to perimenopause hot flashes. These supplements come from the root of the North American black cohosh plant. Black cohosh far outperforms a placebo. Since it can place some burden on the liver, best to work with a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath before self-administering black cohosh.
My favorite Black Cohosh supplement is DFH FemGueard + Balance (affiliate link). It’s an amazing female balancing herbal blend that helps with perimenopausal symptoms. FemGuard+Balance supports classic herbal hormonal balancing in the form of vitex, polygonum and black cohosh, along with DIM and chrysin for protection and support of beneficial estrogen aromatase activity. Calcium-D-glucarate promotes the proper elimination of excess estrogens. Resveratrol and EGCg from green tea are included for maximum antioxidant protection. Vitamins B6, B12, and folate promote proper cell differentiation.
Qualia is a premium nootropic supplement made of nine potent ingredients that work synergistically together to support the body’s natural energy processes. With ingredients like saffron extract, l-theanine, alpha GPC, coffeeberry, n-acetyl-l-tyrosine, and American ginseng– Qualia is an excellent alternative for a morning energizing ritual without the adrenal taxing of regular caffeinated beverages. Apart from being naturally energizing, Qualia also has been shown to have brain-boosting cognitive enhancing abilities. Goodbye, brain fog!
Use code PM15 at checkout, and get 15% off of any product or oder!
Nothing beats getting out in the sun, but Vitamin D is such a crucial part of health that if you’re not getting enough time in the real thing— consider supplementing. Vitamin D combats everything from osteoporosis and heart disease to weight gain, depression, and even cancer. An ideal vitamin D supplement combines D with vitamin K2. Vitamin D can be taken sublingually for maximum bioavailability. Wild fatty fish (like mackerel and salmon), and pasture-raised beef liver and egg yolks are also great natural sources of vitamin D.
The perimenopausal transition can be traumatic for women who don’t have the right support and knowledge regarding their bodies. Although fatigue is a common symptom, there are many ways to support the body naturally to mitigate or eradicate the problem. Avoiding too much caffeine, eating less often, optimizing sleep quality, cultivating mindfulness techniques, daily exercise, setting boundaries, and supplementation are a handful of ways to support your body’s natural energy during the perimenopausal period.
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