• Can’t get out of bed in the morning… Here’s why - (read more)

    Do you feel tired when you get up in the morning and have to drag yourself out of bed and through the rest of your day?

    Or do you find that you feel tired as the day progresses and can’t wait to get to bed at night.

    Tiredness or fatigue is when you

    lack energy and motivation.

    Fatigue is a common symptom, and it is usually not due to a serious disease. It can be a normal response after intense physical activity, emotional stress, or boredom.

    But it can be a sign of a more serious mental or physical condition.

    The most common causes of tiredness are about lifestyle choices such as-

    1. Lack of sleep
    2. Eating habits – reaching for sugar and caffeine can often backfire leading to more fatigue
    3. If you are unfit you are more likely to feel tired. Regular exercisers suffer much less from fatigue.

    When fatigue is not relieved by enough sleep, good nutrition, exercise or a low-stress environment, there could be medical causes, such as –

    1. Anaemia – a common cause, it usually occurs in females with heavy menstrual periods.
    2. Under active and/or over active thyroid
    3. Deficiency of key nutrients
    4. Diabetes
    5. Sleep problems such as sleep apnoea
    6. Persistent pain
    7. Regular use of alcohol/ drugs
    8. Depression
    9. Anxiety

    These can be diagnosed by a visit to your doctor who will determine the possible cause by taking a thorough history and doing an examination. Blood and urine testing might be required to diagnose some conditions such as anaemia and thyroid abnormalities. Once a diagnosis is made, most causes can be treated by medication and /or lifestyle changes.

    Here are a few tips for reducing fatigue:

    • Get enough sleep each night.
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Try different ways to relax like yoga or meditation.
    • Balance work and personal life.
    • Change or reduce your stressors, if possible. For example, take a vacation or resolve relationship problems.
    • Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and drug use.

    So my challenge for you is this.

    What 1 step can you take to boost your energy? This could be anything from starting an exercise programme, to reducing your caffeine intake to maybe even visiting your doctor if you feel it’s necessary to have yourself checked out.

    Remember most causes of fatigue are due to lifestyle choices, and can be relieved by simple changes in sleep, diet and/or exercise.

    If you are still feeling tired despite making these changes, or if your fatigue is out of proportion with your physical activity, or you have other symptoms such as dizziness, loss of appetite, sadness etc. consider visiting your doctor.

     

    Lastly, as Aristotle said:

    aristotle

    Let me know how it goes …

    Take care and remember to keep on creating a life of joy that you are meant to be living right now…

    Dr G Chiba

  • Can’t remember where you parked your car??? - (read more)

    I often have people coming to see me complaining that they are not able to focus and concentrate, that there memory is not what it used to be and that their recall is a bit “fuzzy”. When I delve deeper we realise that this poor memory and or concentration is often part of a bigger picture which could be due to depression or anxiety.

    So what causes poor memory and concentration in Depression?

    Professor Brock Kirwan, in research at Brigham Young University, found that depression interferes with memory pathways and results in difficulty distinguishing between similar experiences. This presents challenges in everyday situations, from remembering where you parked your car, to recalling which friends and family members you have disclosed personal information to. “[People with depression] don’t have amnesia; they are just missing the details,” says Prof Brock Kirwan, as reported in the Huff post.

    Prof Kirwan’s study also showed that cell growth in the hippocampus, which is involved in memory, is decreased in depression. There were similar findings in a past study, at Oxford University in 2011 which also showed a link between depression and less specific memory, or over general memory, where your recollections are very broad.

    So what effect does this poor memory and concentration have on your life? The effects may range from being mildly annoying (such as not remembering where you parked your car) to causing poor performance at work or impacting on relationships (as misunderstandings with family members may occur because it seems as if you are not paying attention.) Sometimes driving may become dangerous if your thoughts stray.

    What do you do if you notice that you have become forgetful and are not able to focus and concentrate?

    1. See a doctor who will be able to determine the cause of the memory impairment. Other causes of memory loss might be anxiety, stress, head injury or stroke, medical illness such as Hypothyroidism, Nutritional Deficiencies, Dementia, medication such as sedatives or chronic alcohol use.
    2. If Depression is diagnosed it might require either an antidepressant prescription or psychotherapy or a combination of both
    3. Other things you can do, once a diagnosis of depression is made, is to let family members know that one of its symptoms is poor memory. This could prevent misunderstandings and conflict.
    4. You could also create reminders such as – to do lists or set reminders on your phone or use post-its. It also helps to leave things such as keys in the same place and organise your work and home space.
    5. Exercise grows your brain cells and helps you learn better, focus more and feel less tense. So as I have said before, get your body moving…
    6. Do one activity at a time. This prevents distraction and allows you to focus better.
    7. Dr Williams, in his study on Mindfulness, a form of meditation used to combat some types of depression, found that “specificity”, remembering specific details, can be increased with training in Mindfulness. This is done by focusing on moment-to-moment experiences, non- judgementally, to things just as they are.

    So my challenge for you this week is to pick one strategy to boost your memory. We all forget things from time to time so we could all use a memory boost.

    Let me know how it goes …

    Take care and remember to keep on creating a life of joy that you are meant to be living right now…

    Dr G Chiba

  • Liberate yourself from sadness - (read more)

    Celebrate freedom day by

    liberating yourself

    from feelings of sadness and depression.

    One of the trademarks of depression is negative thinking. For some these are thoughts of hopelessness, for others of inadequacy or not being worthy.

    When we look more closely at these thoughts we may find strong evidence to support these thoughts. On the other hand, if we examine further we can often find evidence to support its opposite. Our thought are largely interpreted in light of our past experiences, habits, upbringing etc.

    As Montaigne the great French philosopher said:

    “A man is not so much hurt by what happens as by his opinion of what happens.”

    When we allow ourselves to believe the negative thoughts, which are founded largely in the past, we start identifying with them. This identification with negative thoughts can lead to depression.

    The antidote is to be present.

    Being present frees us from the past and allows us to see things as they are, without distorting our view.

    You begin to free yourself from a whole world of weaknesses and vices that are connected to regretting the past and worrying about the future.

    It results in a feeling of “I am okay, right here and right now.”

    So what does it mean to be present? Being present is when we embrace this moment, without judgement, exactly as it is.

    Studies have been done by Professor Mark Williams and his colleagues  at the University of Oxford on these techniques- called mindfulness. Mindfulness has been shown to break the cycle of chronic unhappiness.

    So where can you start?

    Start by choosing one activity that you do daily and commit to being present moment by moment whilst engaging in that activity. Suggestions would be brushing your teeth, or taking a shower or cooking. Simply bring attention to what you are doing as you are doing it.

    Let me know how it goes …

    Take care and remember to keep on creating a life of joy that you are meant to be living right now…

    Dr G Chiba