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Fatigue is a natural alarm signal that indicates that you need to take it easy. The body indicates that it needs recovery, physically or psychologically.

Extraordinary or prolonged exertion is usually the cause of fatigue. With the necessary rest and sleep, the phenomenon usually disappears quickly. Yet fatigue is not always harmless. Being tired for a long time can seriously disrupt your daily activities.

What is the cause?

For psychological fatigue (lifelessness)

  • stress and emotional overload;
  • major events;
  • dejection and depression;
  • fear;
  • eating disorders.

In case of physical fatigue (not feeling fit)

  • poor general fitness (unhealthy diet, little exercise, poor sleep hygiene, too high or too low weight);
  • stimulants: smoking, alcohol, drugs;
  • side effects of medicines;
  • infectious diseases;
  • anemia;
  • pain;
  • chronic diseases (e.g. asthma, hormonal disorders, metabolic, digestive, cardiac, or respiratory diseases);
  • cancer;
  • sleep disorders.

It is not always easy to detect the reason for fatigue. Often several causes will contribute to your fatigue. Sometimes there is no clearly identifiable cause. Moreover, it happens that the underlying problem is not recognized.

What can you do yourself?

  • Try to correct a hectic lifestyle and break unhealthy patterns:
    • get enough rest and take care of your sleeping habits ;
    • exercise for half an hour daily or at least five times a week;
    • eat healthy ;
    • stop smoking ;
    • limit alcohol and coffee ;
    • provide sufficient time to relax every day;
    • limit your screen time (television, computer, smartphone).
  • The importance of exercise in particular cannot be overemphasized. Being active for half an hour every day (e.g. walking, cycling, gardening) is the best remedy against lethargy. It releases substances in the body that combat stress, depression and fatigue.
  • Try to resolve tensions at work or at home by talking about them. If you are overstressed, take a period of rest in time. Make agreements about your workload. Take plenty of breaks. Respect your days off. Set aside enough time for yourself.
  • Never take nutritional supplements on your own . These are chemicals that can disrupt your metabolism. As a result, they can even cause fatigue instead of combating it. In addition, they can cause insomnia, diarrhea and other conditions such as liver damage and sensory disturbances. Fruits and vegetables are the best source of vitamins and minerals. Food supplements are only indicated for certain physical conditions, after a blood test and on prescription by a doctor.

When should you see a doctor?  

Consult your doctor:  

  • if you are suddenly very tired and you have no idea what the cause is, or if you cannot tackle the cause yourself;
  • in case of prolonged fatigue, especially if rest does not bring relief;
  • in case of stress, depressive feelings and fears;
  • if the fatigue is accompanied by:
    • chest pain, headache, muscle stiffness or muscle cramps;
    • palpitations, sweating or a feeling of illness;
    • prolonged coughing;
    • weight loss or loss of appetite;
    • sleep disorders;
    • tinnitus or dizziness;
    • confusion;
    • drowsiness;
    • concentration disorders, memory disorders;
    • loss of self-confidence.