Does “the Fatigued 40s” Sound Familiar to You?

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Picture this:

It’s morning. Your alarm sounds, but you are way too tired to even think about getting up. You reluctantly head to the kitchen for your coffee fix – the first of many for the day. Your energy is low, but you seem to make it through the day with the adrenaline rush of stress, deadlines, frantic problem solving, and a few more hits of caffeine. By the end of the day, you zone out and melt into your fatigue in front of the TV with whatever quick fix treat you can find to help you “take a break and relax.” Once in bed, you either fall asleep immediately from the sheer exhaustion or toss and turn from all the things running through your head. This is fatigue. And for many of us, this is 40.
If you’re like me, the “Fatigued 40’s” seems all too familiar. And this fatigue has only been exacerbated by this year’s turbulence. Maybe you had your kids at home on quarantine (and still do!), maybe you were laid off and had time to think about the bigger picture. Maybe this time in your life has forced you to refocus on what is really important with your work and your priorities.
I know for me, it was a time to come to terms with what is most important. I want to feel vibrant and alive. I want to enjoy my journey and that means taking care of my body. Let’s dive deeper into this issue. I’d like to take this chance to share my story with you, the problems I’ve faced, my simple solutions, and how I’m making the best of my 40’s!

What are the Fatigued 40’s?

It is natural for women to start feeling more fatigued as they enter their 40’s. This time of life is considered the “autumn” phase where the vibrancy, growth, and activity of the earlier years start to transition into more internal and relaxed developments. Ideally, we start to slow down and take on less as we enter our autumn. With so many opportunities and go-getting women, this is quite unlikely! Women these days have goals, aspirations, and dreams to attain – no matter their age.
While staying on top of family rearing, career advancement, and personal development is amazing, it can also lead to burnout and fatigue. In our 40’s, we are naturally more prone to fatigue and need to preserve our energy more than we did in our 20’s. Furthermore, many of us have racked up sleep debt from raising kids, anxiety or stress over our children or parents, and major transformative life changes such as marriage, moving, divorce, or loss (even global crises!).
No matter your situation, there are some common culprits that have made the Fatigued 40’s themselves more of an epidemic than a small phenomenon. For one, many women are quick to give up sleep to take care of other needs and to-dos. We are also more prone to sleep disturbances from hormone changes, anxiety, or stress. Our diets are often a major cause for fatigue, with sugar and caffeine acting as false stimulants and poor remedies for our nutritional deficiencies. The Fatigued 40’s is widespread, but we have the power to stop the cycle.

My Story with Fatigue

When you take a look at the statistics on women in their 40’s who report fatigue, I am a prime candidate. Like many of these women, I have a couple children, run my own business, volunteer and engage in my communities, and combat my heavy to-do list with a good ol’ can-do attitude.
For the past four years, I have been completely swamped with work and family life. Sleep has taken the biggest hit over the years, and I often found myself completely exhausted and depleted. I am so thankful for my family, my two boys, my amazing friends, my clinic, and my non-profit, but they sure do keep me busy! My exciting life has also brought lots of ups and downs, packed schedules, and lots and lots of juggling.
To keep my sanity and cover up my endless fatigue, I often found myself turning to some not-so-helpful “remedies.” The relaxing glass of wine and sweet treats at the end of the day became my crutch, but they weren’t doing much for my health or helping me beat my fatigue. In fact, they were making it worse.
As an acupuncturist and nutrition nerd, I knew that I needed to really take control and change my habits to get back on top. I also knew that there were really simple ways I could improve my health and energy without taking away from all the things I loved about my life.

What if I’m Tired, But I’m Not in My 40’s?

Tiredness is common among women in their forties because of the typical stressors that develop around this time. By 40, many women have a child or two, more responsibility at work, aging parents, and struggle to keep a good work-life balance. But that doesn’t mean that women younger or older than 40 don’t also suffer from exhaustion, fatigue, and overwhelm. In fact, these issues are widespread among our entire community. The following tips and tricks apply to anyone who feels they need a better handle on their energy levels.

Lifestyle Hacks to Beat the Fatigued 40’s

There’s no shortage of products and programs out there that promise better energy, less fatigue, and general amazingness. But let’s be honest – the best results don’t come in a pill or product. Lifestyle change and small daily changes move mountains when it comes to health and energy. Patience, commitment, and mindfulness are the best-kept secrets out there.
When it comes to energy-boosting lifestyle habits, I’ve tried it all. After years of playing around with different strategies, I want to share the secrets that have best helped me conquer my fatigue and take on the world…well, most days anyway!

1. Sleep is Your #1 Priority as of Today!

That’s an order! The most important thing you can possibly do to improve your energy, mood, productivity, stress, and health is to get adequate, quality sleep. Sleep is your body’s best time to repair and restore. A good night’s sleep is necessary for optimum functioning the next day. Without enough good quality sleep, your body won’t be able to heal properly, digest properly, manage hormones, balance emotions, resist stress, fight infection, or stay calm. Here’s how to transform your slumber:
  • Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Make this your biggest daily priority and the rest will fall into place. Decide on a bedtime that works for you and a regular waking time. Do your best to stick with the schedule – even if it feels difficult at first. After a week or so, your body will learn the routine and adapt.
  • Turn off electronics, screens, and stimulating material one hour before bed. Put work away until the next day and shut the TV off.
  • Write down your to-do list for the next day before bed each night. This allows your brain to relax and settle for the night.
  • Remove any distractions from your bedroom. This can include too many books, electronics, work-related material, exercise equipment, food, or items with lights on them. Keep your bedroom as serene as possible to train your mind for sleep.
  • Practice nightly self-care. Start a bedtime routine that helps you relax, improves your health, and sets you up for a great night’s sleep. This might include a simple skincare routine, a gentle bath, self-massage, nighttime yoga, or journaling.
  • Involve the family. Bedtime can be stressful for parents with active children who resist going to bed at a reasonable hour! It can also be difficult if your spouse has a different sleep schedule than you. Let your family know that you want to improve your sleep for your benefit – and theirs! Help everyone find a nighttime routine that they enjoy that will support you in your efforts.

2. Start Living Mindfully

Mindfulness is one of the best ways to instantly transform your health. Mindfulness is an easy practice that can be done anywhere, at any time. For those of us experiencing Fatigued 40’s, this is an invaluable tool for getting more out of our days while experiencing less stress and burnout.

3. Schedule Relaxation Time

If you schedule it, it will happen. There’s no shame in crossing out some time in your calendar for you. Even if you’re still in isolation. Especially if you’re still in isolation. In reality, taking time to reset each day will allow you to better attend to your work and family. You’ll be more productive, happier, and more level-headed with even 10 minutes of “me-time” each day. The key here is to officially schedule it!

4. Move Every Day

Forget the spa trips and expensive facial creams. The absolute best form of self-care is exercise. Our bodies crave movement and you owe it to yourself to make the time for one of the most effective natural antidepressant, heart-healthy, brain-stimulating, fatigue-busting remedies out there. Walk, dance, jump rope. Whatever gets you moving each day will do the trick!

5. Ditch the Distractors: Sugar, Gluten, Wine, Dairy

Sugary treats, a glass (or three) of wine, tempting cheeses, a big bowl of pasta. These are some of the most common indulgences we turn to when fatigued. It’s completely biological – sugar, alcohol, dairy, and carbs increase our serotonin levels and make us feel better…in the moment. Over time, however, these “treats” cause health issues and eventually make our fatigue worse and worse.
It’s time to trade in these treats and level up. There are so many better ways to fuel your body and still feel like you’re getting away with a little indulgence. Here’s a quick recipe for my favorite energy balls.

Fatigued 40’s to Flourishing 40’s

You know what? I think my 40’s might be my best decade yet, and I want the same for you. I love being in my forties. I feel so much more grounded in who I am, what I want, and where I’m going. My life is full of amazing people, exciting new avenues, passion, and drive. I don’t want to let fatigue, burnout, or stress rob me from living my life to the fullest.
I’ve personally experienced the drastic changes that come along with these simple lifestyle hacks and I want to help you find your footing through the 40’s as well. More energy, better sleep, balanced emotions, and thriving health will help you embrace and enjoy this special time in your life.

Hi! I'm Angela

Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Integrative Wellness Consultant and Mood-Gut expert.

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I want to hear from you:
Now that you’ve read my lifestyle hacks for beating fatigue, I’d love to hear your favorite ways to stay energized and healthy as busy women. What tips have changed the game for you? Where do you still struggle? Share your tips or questions in the comments and let’s open up this discussion!

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