What can be done to combat fatigue? You need good food, sleep, fresh air, some idle moments, some fun to give you a lift. With these, you can’t go wrong.
We of the present generation have to build ourselves a healthy new way of life – to give body and mind a chance to relax and replace the energy that 21st-century civilization drains away.
A healthy life should be within most people’s reach. It costs nothing – just a little thought and wisdom, a little determination.
First in importance is an anti-fatigue diet.
Some 200 years ago most nations were periodically on the verge of famine – and a big proportion of the population rarely had enough of the right things to eat. This was one reason why infectious diseases could sometimes get such a hold on whole districts.
Here are three important types of fatigue and three ways you can combat them with diet.
Include in your breakfast: eggs, cheese, bacon or ham, or yogurt. In this way you will avoid that “sinking feeling” in the middle of the morning. Don’t be satisfied any longer with just one serving of meat or similar protein in a whole day. Try two. And you should eat fish and poultry.
FATIGUE AFTER EATING
This comes from difficulty indigestion, most likely due either to insufficient mastication of your food or to taking too much fluid during the meal, or from eating dishes that are too rich.
This is very often due to eating too much. If you suffer from it, be very careful with family meals, with appetizers and rich desserts. Concentrate as much as possible on green things: salads, fruits, fruit juice, lemon tea. Get rid of the toxins which are making you tired.
Today we eat too much. And all too often we eat the wrong things.
Consequently, while our food gives us enough energy to get by, it fails to give us the deep reserves of energy to meet any crisis – and so fatigue develops.
A curious but important fact about fatigue is that it may be caused by eating either too much or too little. Too much makes the system sluggish, causes overweight, which in turn adds to the body’s burdens.
A person who eats too little, on the other hand, condemns himself to a life of nervous troubles and constant minor miseries, if nothing worse.
This applies to people who go on unsupervised crash diets – and housewives who “can’t be bothered” to eat when they’re alone, husbands who skip the energy-giving top-grade proteins such as meat, fish, and cheese to fill up with beer.
Protein is life – our bodies depend on it, and it’s no use thinking you can get through the day’s work on a slice of bread and butter and a cup of tea. The key to an energy-giving diet is balance.
You hear this phrase “a balanced diet” over and over again. So what does it mean?
The principle is that the body should have, each day, certain essential substances. Some of these cannot be stored in the system – so while the odd day with slightly less to eat won’t hurt, an “on-again-off-again” way of eating won’t get you anywhere.
Ideally, the body should receive a certain quantity of these essential substances each day – no more, no less. This ideal quantity depends on the weight of the individual and his state of health.
Now, this is all very well in theory – but you probably have neither the time nor the patience to fuss around with kitchen scales and separate calorie charts for each member of the family. And as eating should be a pleasure, not a chore, it’s perhaps just as well that you haven’t. This might become altogether too burdensome.
You can, however, follow some general, sensible rules – and if you want to go into the whole business more thoroughly get a detailed diet from your doctor.
The medical profession is extremely wide awake to the importance of diet these days, so you don’t need to feel you’ll be wasting his time. He’ll be glad to advise you since his aim is to keep you healthy, not just to cure you of sickness. And keeping you healthy is just what good food can do.
Here is a list of the essentials that you and your family should eat each day. Probably you already do, but the list will bear repeating.
These are the very substances of which the body is made, and which repair and restore our cells and tissues.
They supply the enzymes necessary for the manufacture of energy, and we rely on them for our daily fuel and our reserves.
Proteins are obtained mainly from meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk – and from some vegetables, including beans, peas, potatoes, and nuts.
This is indispensable for fighting fatigue. It occurs richly in the liver, wholemeal bread, wheat germ, brown rice, yogurt, yeast extract.
Vitamin C is important for vitality. It occurs in greatest concentrations in oranges, lemons, grapefruit, green peppers, tomatoes. Among the very pleasant ways to take vitamin C:
- orange juice for breakfast
- grapefruit as an hors d’oeuvre at dinner
- green salad dressed with lemon juice
- tomatoes sliced as a lunchtime salad, or cut in halves, topped with a slice of cheese, and popped under the grill for a few seconds to brown the cheese – or taken as tomato juice.
Mineral salts, and calcium in particular, are needed for bones and teeth to maintain the nervous system and muscular apparatus in good order. From milk products in general, including cheese.
For the body to obtain full value from calcium foods it is essential that vitamin D should be present. This comes from oily fish, cod liver oil. The body manufactures vitamin D when it has plenty of sunshine – therefore cod-liver oil is usually regarded as a winter supplement in cold climates.
Diet is important, but diet alone is not enough.
Rules to ensure a healthier, happier life
Here are five major rules to ensure a healthier, happier life, without undue fatigue.
It may not be possible to stick to them all the time. There’s reason in everything, and no one wants to fuss about rules from morning to night. But they are rules stemming from sound commonsense, and if they are followed as a general basis, health will improve – sometimes quite spectacularly.
Try to get sufficient sleep
Lack of sleep causes symptoms similar to those of fatigue. There is a significant diminution of iron in the blood and a change in the cholesterol level. Certain acids increase and there are numerous other bodily chemical changes.
These days we have to learn all over again how to sleep – and sleep enough. This is sometimes particularly difficult for an exhausted person, as nervous fatigue militates against sleep. This means that sleep, the primary remedy for fatigue, no longer comes naturally, but must be helped.
It is better to have sleep induced by sleeping tablets than to have no sleep at all. This again is a question for your doctor if the problem is serious and there is real insomnia.
Learn how to breathe properly
The oxygen carried in the bloodstream retards the formation of lactic acid, which causes fatigue. The better our breathing, and the better the air we breathe, the less tired we shall be.
This simply means getting some good fresh air into our lungs as often as possible in the course of a day.
If possible, do a few deep-breathing exercises at intervals – in front of an open window when you get up, or when you leave the house to go to work; again in the evening before going to bed.
Try to remember to take a few deep breaths whenever possible. It will become a habit – and one that will keep you younger.
It may be helpful to remember that the important thing in deep breaching is to breathe OUT properly. Concentrate on expelling all the air you can more air will rush back in again to fill the lungs and you’ll find you are breathing deeply Whether you want to or not.
Eliminate poisons from the body properly
To eliminate, we must perspire, and to perspire we must work at it.
Nowadays, people do not want to work at it. They imagine that fitness comes by itself – as a result of swallowing pills. To work at it – quite literally to sweat it out – is to build up, little by little, vital reserves of energy.
In other words, healthy exercise will do for all forms of elimination what no amount of drugs will do – make them healthy in the way that nature intended.
Learn to guard against “poisons” from outside sources
The “poisons” doctors have in mind in this rule are tobacco, alcohol, and certain drugs. These may temporarily aid relaxation. Used to excess, they are serious causes of fatigue.
An authority on nutrition and fatigue, Dr. Deutche, explains: “Heavy smoking destroys a large part of the vitamin C in the body. It causes anoxemia, that is a slight and permanent diminution of oxygen, which can lead to anemia and fatigue.”
Similarly, alcohol in large quantities, he says, destroys the nutritional balance and works as a “poison.”
Rediscover the joys of leisure – and even of idleness
Our civilization has “invented” leisure for all. Leisure can be a remedy for fatigue. But it is, in reality, a fatiguing thing for most people – though they don’t often admit it.
Leisure is paid for by extra work. So, on the whole, society is more tired because it has the right to relax.
Sociologists like Alfred Sauvy have advanced the theory that shorter annual holidays would allow a shorter, easier, better-paid working week.
Would such a scheme be less tiring than the present system of several weeks’ leave in a year and a 40-hour working week?
Holidays, as everyone knows, can be utterly exhausting. So can weekends particularly for mothers of large families.
On the other hand, holidays are “a change,” and whether shorter holidays would be popular, even with the compensation of a shorter working week, is very much open to question.
Some psychologists say that true leisure must be “reinvented” within the existing social framework. This, they say, would be leisure without tensions, with pleasing occupations for mind and body.
But this question requires careful examination by an individual in the light of his own preferences.
True leisure is not inertia. It is an activity. For some people, it is a change of job. And happily, most people are far too sensible to be afraid of expending energy.
What’s energy for if it’s not to be used?
These people confirm the school of psychological thought which says that a good remedy for nervous fatigue is some form of training leading to increased intellectual activity.
Intellectual work then becomes relaxation.
So what’s the answer for you? Should you learn to be idle? Or should you train for yet more activity – perhaps contrasting with your work?
It all depends on the kind of person you are.
Rest and solitude will be the answer for one, a second “job” and a crowd of friends for another. Each finds his own solution.
But for some people, the exhausted ones, a solution to the problem sometimes requires the intervention of a doctor or psychiatrist.
For most people, including those who are overstrained, the happiest answer probably lies in a mixture of several different kinds of leisure – idleness, gaiety, sport, friends, and an interesting occupation which may be a job to someone else.