Having trouble getting out of bed? Falling asleep at work? In class? Tired all the time? Plenty of people I know are spending more time dozing these days and having a devil of a time getting going.
For many, this is a product of the cold weather and changing light. It could even be fallout from holiday stress. It's so easy, isn't it, to just stay in bed? And, frankly, I say if you have the luxury of time, what's the harm? Tuck yourself in and snooze away.
But if you have to be awake, being tired really sucks. Some suggest exposure to bright colours and light might energize. Whatever you do, make sure your drowsiness isn't something weightier, like a sleep disorder, diabetes or more serious illness. If it persists, check it out.
What the experts say
"From a shamanic perspective, when we're tired all the time or lack a drive for living or a sense of purpose, it's a classic sign of what we call power loss. The way to remedy it is to work with a shamanistic practitioner and make a journey to find a power animal and return the power. We have to learn to protect and reserve our power , not to give it away or let others take it. We have to learn to create boundaries and hold that power within ourselves. A power animal retrieval is not necessarily going to resolve the situation unless the person learns how to keep his or her power."
MARTHA LUCIER , shaman, graduate, Foundation for Shamanic Studies, Algonquin Park
"This is the season when we become overwhelmed. Many of us forget that we can't do what we did 10 or 20 years ago, a fact whether you're 25 or 55. Contrary to the common belief that you need less sleep as you get older, studies show the body requires at least eight hours to rejuvenate. With less, your system works on overdrive. Get more sleep . Practice relaxation techniques . Make lists and decide what can be put aside for another day. Do your big house cleanup after the party , not before. Do something nice for yourself . Smile . It lightens and lifts the whole tone of your mind and body. Singing has an amazing effect on your state of mind and your energy. Put on a favourite CD and let it fly. You'll be bringing more oxygen into your body and your adrenalin will flow."
MARION HARRIS , director, Feldenkrais Centre, Toronto
"Fatigue is not a disease, but a symptom of a disease. It can be [caused by] a problem with diet; people who eat a lot of refined carbohydrates lack nutrients. If iron or B12 or folic acid is deficient, you might need these. Fatigue can also be a symptom of hypoglycemia and low blood sugar, whose other symptoms are sweating and dizziness. Drugs, alcohol and caffeine can cause fatigue, or sometimes it's a side effect of medications like diuretics or beta blockers. It could be an endocrine problem. We stress proper diet and exercise. Depending on the individual case, we might prescribe herbs that can help, like ginseng , bee pollen or royal jelly . Nutrients like chromium can regulate blood sugar."
TABASEEM GINDI , naturopath, Toronto
"There are three major reasons why people feel fatigued: psychological reasons affect 80 per cent of people, physical reasons about 25 per cent and chronic fatigue syndrome 15 per cent. That adds up to more than 100 because many people have more than one. Psychological reasons may be anorexia, depression or anxiety. Most psychiatric disorders can cause fatigue. Some anti-depressants disrupt sleep, and some facilitate it. Physical reasons are many: hepatitis, Parkinson's, kidney failure or the flu. The most common untreated conditions are sleep disorders, including apnea, insomnia and periodic leg movements. You might try a sleep evaluation ."
COLIN SHAPIRO , MD, Sleep and Alertness Clinic, Toronto Western Hospital, author, Fighting Fatigue And Sleepiness
"If there is nothing else wrong with the student that needs to be addressed, I would recommend sun salutations (a series of flowing movements) and kapalabhati and bhastrika breathing. Kapalabhati is active on exhalation and passive on inhalation; bhastrika is active on both. I would also recommend back bends , though it depends on the level of your yoga practice. Twisting postures can be helpful. Stay away from the longer-stance standing poses, because they can be tiring. If you are going to do standing poses, I would suggest the Scaravelli short stance postures. If you do warrior, only extend your right foot about 1 foot forward, as if you were going for a walk. Do that with kapalabhati breathing."
PAOLA DI PAOLO , instructor, Esther Myers Yoga Studio, Toronto