Low energy, tiredness and fatigue are some of the most common symptoms experienced by the 15k+ women who have taken our Period Health Quiz.
So, I thought we’d dive deeper into what causes fatigue, and how you can support your body to naturally boost energy.
Being chronically tired affects physical and mental health as well as overall quality of life. While fatigue is common, it is not normal to feel constantly run down and sluggish.
Hear me when I say this: fatigue is NOT normal.
Fatigue is not “just part of being a woman”.
You are worthy of feeling energised & vital.
Not just “okay”,
Or, “it’s not that bad”,
Or, ‘I guess this is me’.
Or, ‘it’s not important’.
You deserve to wake up in the morning with energy and to feel vibrant as you move through your days and weeks.
I sat with a female client the other week who told me that the last time she felt truly well was 7 years ago.
I had asked her to think back to a time where she felt really well, vibrant, happy and alive. “7 years ago” she quietly responded and my heart sank.
Sadly, this is common. I see this a lot.
I also see some women say that they can’t even remember or recall a time when they actually did feel any of those things.
Pain and tired have become so normalised now that we simply accept them as normal.
Daily symptoms and struggles are not normal.
Common maybe, but not normal; and you deserve so so much more than simply accepting this.
Fatigue is not just "part of being a woman". You are worthy of feeling energised & vital.
- Nikki Gonda
There are things that we can do to improve the current state of ‘Female Fatigue’.
Let’s get you started on your journey today to greater energy by diving into “what causes fatigue” and specific ways you can support yourself in rebalancing and regaining your vitality.
What causes low energy & how to beat fatigue naturally?
It’s different for everyone, but low energy is a sign that something in your life or your body is out of balance. Identifying the underlying cause is the key to treatment and improving your energy levels.
Below are common causes of fatigue and how you can take action today!
1# Nutrient deficiencies
The solution: Optimise the quality of your diet!
Every cell in your body relies on nutrients to generate energy. So if you’re not taking in, or absorbing adequate nutrients, your energy levels are going to be impacted!
Addressing nutrient deficiencies through a balanced diet of real, whole foods will play a significant role in maintaining vibrant energy.
While your first instinct may be to reach for another cup of coffee or a sugary snack when fatigue sets in, there are more effective strategies to eat your way to more energy. Here are three of the top nutrient deficiencies to consider if you feel rundown and want to eat your way to more energy!
The most common nutrient deficiencies that contribute to fatigue are:
- B12 and other B vitamins
- Vitamin C
Factors that contribute to nutrient deficiencies include:
- Restrictive dieting and cutting our major food groups
- Diets high in processed foods, sugars, & refined carbohydrates which lack crucial nutrients
- Chronic stress
- Too much coffee
- Poor nutrient absorption due to underlying health conditions such as leaky gut or IBS
- Depleted nutrients in the soil in which our food grows
You can eat at your way to more energy by focusing on consuming more of the following nutrients:
Iron - red meat, organ meats such as liver and kidneys, dark leafy greens, legumes & whole grains.
B12 and other B vitamins - animal meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nutritional yeast, certain fermented foods, algae, some mushrooms, and seaweed.
Magnesium - legumes, almonds, banana, avocado, spinach, and other leafy greens. Magnesium is the one mineral everyone should supplement as its difficult to get adequate levels from food alone. We recommend Moon Boost Magnesium oil daily.
Calcium - tofu, skim milk, spinach, trout, clams, yoghurt
Zinc - oysters, beef, chicken, firm tofu, pumpkin seeds, lentils, Earth Seeds.
If you want to learn more about eating for hormonal balance, more energy & better moods check out my course Master Your Cycle.
2# Blood sugar imbalances
The solution: Balance your blood sugar levels!
Blood sugar imbalances cause afternoon energy crashes, “food comas”, mood swings and poor sleep. The quality of your diet directly impacts your blood sugar regulation.
If you are eating processed foods, too many refined sugars, a diet high in industrial processed vegetable oils and not enough “real food” then you are going to cause sugar imbalances and are simply not going to be getting enough adequate nutrition to fuel your body.
You can actively stabilise your blood sugar throughout the day by following the tips below...
Eating a savory (NOT sweet) breakfast within 1 hour of waking up. Including quality proteins, healthy fats and fibre. Such as eggs, avocado, spinach, broccoli, legumes, tempeh, tofu. Grass-fed animal meats.
Eating regular meals. No skipping meals!
Avoiding sugars and refined carbohydrates
Aiming for at least 30grams of protein per meal, and always pairing your protein with a whole food carbohydrate
#3 Poor gut health & digestion
The solution: Improve your gut health.
If you have inflammation in your digestive track, leaky gut, IBS, candida, parasites - all of these can contribute to low energy as your body isn’t absorbing the vital nutrients it needs for sustained and balanced energy! Focusing on healing your gut is the first step to boosting your energy levels. I recommend seeing a functional, holistic practitioner such as a naturopath for testing & an appropriate gut protocol for your individual needs.
#4 Thyroid dysfunction
The solution: Support your thyroid function!
Hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of symptoms and one of the big ones is fatigue. It is estimated that 12% of people either have low thyroid or sub optimal thyroid function yet 60% of these cases go undiagnosed.
Its often undetected because doctors only check Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) when they are assessing thyroid function, this is the messenger hormone from the brain telling the thyroid to produce more hormones. But the reference range for TSH is quite broad and it is possible to have normal TSH but low T4 and low T3 which is the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. To get the accurate testing booking in with a naturopath is a great option.
#5 Too much or too little activity
The solution: Exercise in sync with your cycle!
Physical activity can work to improve your energy levels, or it can deplete your energy levels. Regular exercise at lease 4 times per week for 60 minutes is essential for hormonal balance and energy production.
However, if you're exercising at high levels of intensity throughout the entire month (regardless of where you are in your cycle), this can lead to adrenal dysfunction, burn out and hormonal imbalances that may present as PMS, missing, irregular or light periods.
This is why exercising in sync with your menstrual cycle is a game changer when it comes to supporting your adrenal health & energy levels.
Every day, make time to do a cycle check-in and ask yourself, "where am I in my cycle? How am I feeling energetically, physically and emotionally? And how can I meet myself there?." Then choose the level of intensity and form of exercise that honours where you are at. Release expectations to show up at the same level of energy every day - you are a cyclic being and its completely normal for your energy levels to naturally fluctuate as your hormones do throughout different phases of your cycle.
#6 Poor Sleep
The solution: Create a night-time routine!
Adequate sleep is crucial for energy, weight management, wellbeing, mood, hormonal regulation and vitality.
It may seem like an obvious one but it’s amazing how many people don’t get enough sleep or unknowingly have poor quality sleep. Sleep is essential for energy production.
A few sleep tips:
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
Avoid watching TV/looking at screens before bed.
Don’t drink coffee after 12pm, have a Luna’s Matcha Latte instead to avoid cortisol spike
Sleep in a dark room, blocking out light with a high quality silk sleep mask like Moon Mask to support melatonin production for deeper sleep
Spray Moon Boost magnesium onto the soles of your feet before bed to relax and calm your muscles and nervous system
#7 Food allergies and intolerances
The solution: Don’t eat foods you're allergic or intolerant to
Reactions to foods, whether that is a true food allergy like celiac disease or a nut allergy, or an intolerance to dairy, gluten or other foods can lead to fatigue. There are food allergy testing you can do, or following an elimination diet is an effective way to discover your intolerances. If you know you’re intolerant to gluten and dairy, yet you’re eating it regularly then this will cause fatigue, and other imbalances within your body.
#8 HPA dysfunction (adrenal fatigue)
The solution: Support your nervous system by your stress levels!
Chronic stress leads to HPA dysfunction, otherwise known as adrenal fatigue. Actively working to manage your stress levels is vitally important to support your adrenal glands and in turn your energy levels.
This could look like regular exercise, breath work, meditation, walks in nature, yoga, pilates etc.
Also, incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your daily life to help build resilience to stress in a GAME CHANGER. My favourites are ashwagandha & reishi mushroom, which you’ll find in Luna’s Lover Latte - the perfect blend for supporting your nervous system, stress, adrenals and in turn your energy.
#9 Toxin Exposure
The solution: Reduce your exposure to toxins.
We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis - air, water, skincare, make-up, moulds, plastic containers & water bottles, heavy metals etc.
Aim to limit your exposure to toxins by switching skin care and household products to natural, non-toxic alternatives. If you are drinking or eating out of plastic containers, it’s crucial to buy reusable options that are not plastic as plastics contain hormone disrupting chemicals that add burden to the body. Same goes for the water you drink. Where possible drink filtered water to avoid heavy metals and toxins in tap water. If you suspect your have toxins from moulds or heavy metals I highly recommend testing and being treated appropriately by a practitioner such as a naturopath.
#10 Impaired liver function
The solution: Support your liver!
When your liver is sluggish you’re going to feel sluggish!
You can support your liver with powerful herbs by drinking Half Moon Tea daily.
Avoid exposure to toxins.
Limit alcohol & caffeine consumption.
Eat lots of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables with each meal to promote detoxification.
#11 Lack of boundary setting
The solution: remove barriers to energy
It’s also essential that you consider things that worsen your state of tiredness or increase feelings of depletion. These can be people, places, occasions, food choices, meals or portions of certain meals.
Write these down if need be.
E.g. I saw Caitlin today, I felt really tired after and took a nap.
If the following week you see Caitlin again and it is the same story; maybe take a little break from seeing Caitlin and see what happens – some people are little energy thieves and it only creates more chaos when energy is already at an all-time low.
I’ve known plenty of Caitlin’s in my lifetime. Choosing to surround myself with people that leave me feeling happy, content and energised after our time together has been a game changer in increasing my energy.
Energy doesn’t lie.
Consider foods and meals that also make you feel tired.
Write these foods down too if you find this to be helpful.
We should not require a nap following meals or food choices. If you find that this is happening to you, a few things may be occurring. Potentially you have over consumed during this meal or snack, or this particular meal is not suitable for your individual needs and body system. We are all unique and so too are our nutritional and food requirements.
Solution: Drink more filtered water!
Water is required for almost every biological and physiological process within your body.
Important ones include excretion of toxins and waste, to assist in regulating body temperature, to prevent infections, for organ function and most importantly for energy.
I have never worked with a client and not had to adjust their water intake in some way.
Hydration and water intake is a very commonly overlooked area when it comes to symptom presentation and wellbeing and something that when implemented can offer a fairly rapid positive response.
A few tips I have for you to assist you in your water journey:
Invest in a drink bottle. Sounds simple but it is a fantastic reminder and a great way to help bring awareness to your intake or lack of intake. I take my drink bottle everywhere with me – to work, in the car, in my handbag.
Start the day with at least 1 -2 glasses of water before you do anything else. Before you eat, have a coffee or leave the house. The morning is the best time of the day to hydrate and this is a great way to get a head start on water intake for the day.
If you are suffering from any kind of digestive of tummy complaint, I would encourage you to switch to room temperature water and minimize or avoid cold water where possible. Warm or room temperature water is gentler on the gut.
If water is not your thing and you are avoiding it because you simply do not like the taste or find it boring, consider ways to make it more appealing or exciting.
Add fresh fruit- I love citrus lemons, limes and oranges or cucumbers, strawberries and mint. I hear pineapple is quite the game changer too. You can also add bubbles from something like a soda stream or a herbal tea bag for iced or warm tea.
#13 Want to feel vibrant? Make your plate vibrant!
If we want to feel vibrant, our plate also needs to reflect this!
Too often I see clients making ‘beige’ food choices that lack colour or vibrancy. Foods such as cereals, cheese, pasta, rice, bread - these aren’t very colourful or nutrient dense foods!
If we want to feel vibrant, our plate needs to be vibrant too!
When we expose our bodies to an array of different colours on our plate, not only do we increase the vibrancy and frequency of the meal but we also increase the amount of vitamins and minerals we are getting from our food, we increase the variety within our meals and the fibre content. All very important factors for energy.
Instead of worrying about measuring vegetable intake in portions when building meals; I encourage my clients to aim to include 3 different colours with every meal.
This may look like strawberries, blueberries and banana on top of your oats with breakfast.
Purple cabbage, baby spinach and carrot in your wrap at lunch.
Sweet potato, broccoli and tomato with dinner.
If you exceed the 3 or more different colours, well done!! You are not restricted to only 3, this is simply a goal for those finding that their meals do tend to lack colour.
Are your meals serving YOU?
Are your meals serving you and your individual needs?
I touched on this above when I spoke about how you feel following a meal and this is something to consider within our food choices.
If we feel bloated, yucky, hungry, experience pain, need to nap or feel foggy soon after consuming a meal, chances are, this meal is not serving you!
I get asked a lot if certain meals or foods are ‘healthy’ and that is always a hard question to answer. For some a certain food may serve them well, they may feel satisfied, have long lasting energy, not feel hungry soon after and enjoy the meal. For others, the same meal may make them hungry soon after, lead them to crave sugar, need to take a nap, experience symptoms or not be overly appealing.
No two people are the same when it comes to nutritional needs and fuelling your body. This area can be difficult to navigate and it can be beneficial to book a consultation with a professional (Hi) to help you determine foods and meals that work best with your body and provide you with energy.
#14 Lack of boundaries, over giving and being a "yes" person!
Do the above words resonate with you?
The emotional component to energy deficiency or depletion is over giving.
Saying yes when we really want to say no.
Not setting clear boundaries.
Not honouring what we really wish to do or say and struggling with low self-worth.
Do you completely fill free spaces, weekends, calendars? Do you say “YES” to seeing a friend or going to a party even when deep down, you’re a “no”?
If someone hurts or frustrates you, do you tell them? Or bury it and mull over the hurt and frustration without letting the other person know how you are truly feeling?
Swallowing, squashing, not expressing, not leaning into gut feelings and authentic responses is an incredibly quick way to burn through and deplete energy.
Self-expression can be challenging. Learning to find your voice and a firm no can feel totally foreign when you have spent most of your life giving a frustrated yes and dealing with an internal battle following.
But, becoming a queen at communication & setting boundaries will not only support & protect your energy but it will literally change your life.
Wellbeing is never really just about focussing on one distinct area.
If we ignored the emotional block to energy and simply made dietary alterations or vice versa, we may be missing an important component that needs to be addressed.
What to do next to reclaim your energy?
If you'd like step by step guidance to balancing your hormones and getting to the root cause of your symptoms such as low energy, PMS, anxiety, mood swings and other period problems, check out my new course Master Your Cycle.
Another recommended option is to see a naturopath to seek adequate testing and guidance and rule out any imbalances, deficiencies or undiagnosed conditions.
Please do not accept fatigue as ‘normal’ and just push through. There are answers and treatment options available for you. Vibrant, abundant energy is your birthright!