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Why Am I So Damn Tired All Of The Time?

Drained no matter what you do? If so, this is for you.

Wellness

Sometimes, it really is crazy that no matter how much sleep I get (I pretty much make it a priority to get no less than six hours every night), I can still end up feeling mad tired. Sometimes, it's right when I wake up, other times it's around lunchtime. I work from home, so while I do know that it can ever hurt a sistah get a catnap in on the regular, I've gotta admit that sometimes, even that isn't enough. Since I don't wanna walk around feeling worn out and weary all of the time, I decided to do a little research.

If you read the title of this article and was like, "Yeah. Why is that?", while I don't promise to provide all of the answers, I'm hoping that this will at least point you into the direction of connecting some dots, so that you can go throughout your day feeling energized instead of drained (because feeling drained sucks).

Some Pretty Common Causes of Fatigue

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So, what exactly is fatigue? It's when you are constantly feeling tired or exhausted, sometimes with no clear understanding of why. When it comes to what causes this to happen, there are a variety of things. Sometimes it's due to not getting enough rest (if you're getting less than six on the regular, that's not good, wise or healthy; try and make sleep a top priority). If you are anemic or borderline anemic, this can sho 'nuf zap your energy. Allergy season is a huge fatigue trigger. Depression or anxiety is another one (because it's hard to relax and rest when you're feeling low or your mind is working into overtime).

Heart disease is yet another cause of fatigue. Did you know that food allergies are as well? That actually makes a lot of sense because, since food is designed to fuel us, if your body rejects it for some reason, how do you get the nutrients that you need? An underactive thyroid, diabetes and a poor diet are also things that can lead to you feeling tired all of the time. Oh—so can a lack of exercise because when your body becomes lethargic, that can also fatigue you.

When Should You See a Doctor?

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The reason why it's so important to know the various (main) causes of fatigue is so you can decipher what you can do on your own vs. when you need the help of a medical professional. In a sec, I will share some energy restoration hacks that can help you to get closer to your goal of feeling revived again.

However, if after a couple of weeks, none of those things work and/or you've got symptoms like unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, body inflammation, numbness, blurry vision, nonstop headaches or migraines, constant muscle weakness or cramping—all of these point to indications that there could be an underlying health issue that you may not be aware of.

Make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible, so that they can run tests and let you know for sure what is going on. Also, if your doctor does offer up a clean bill of health, it can't hurt to schedule a session or two with a reputable therapist/counselor/coach. Sometimes physicians aren't able to pick up on emotional stress or trauma and that also could be a reason why you are feeling the way that you do.

Mental health is vital when it comes to feeling energized too. Make it a priority as well. Now for the DIY hacks.

10 Quick Hacks for Restoring Your Energy Levels

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1. Pay attention to your posture. Here's something that's interesting. Did you know that if you slouch it can make you tired? The reality is that when your bones are in alignment, it makes your muscles do much less work which means that your body, overall, is less weary. So, sit up straight in that office and chair. Watch the burst of energy that this one shift in your daily routine is able to provide.

2. Watch your sugar and caffeine intake. If sugar and caffeine are the two things that you rely on in order to get the energy boosts that you need, they actually could be working against you rather than for you, long-term. The reality is that sugar causes your blood sugar level to spike and then tank (which is why you can be hyper one moment and exhausted the next). As far as caffeine goes, while it has the ability to temporarily suppress your body's sleeping mechanism, it doesn't actually "produce" energy at all. This is one of the reasons why, if you're tired, you can oftentimes find yourself needing more and more of it throughout the day. Sugar and caffeine are "fixes", not a real solution. You'd be better off checking out our article, "In A Bad Mood? These Foods Will Lift Your Spirits!" and snacking on something from there instead.

3. Sniff some citrus essential oil. Sometimes, we underestimate our sense of smell. That said, if you're looking for an immediate midday pick-me-up, something that you might want to try doing is putting some citrus (sweet orange or lemon) essential oil on a pressure point like your temples or your wrists. It's the kind of oil that can enhance your mood and invigorate you. Just make sure that if you put it on your face that you dilute it a bit with a carrier oil like sweet almond or grapeseed; sometimes essential oils are a little on the strong side.

4. Take several online breaks. I semi-recently checked out an article that said "infomania" can actually cause our IQ level to drop.

The reality is that constantly checking emails and being on social media can overwhelm our mental circuits and totally zap our energy. This is why it's a good idea to take several online breaks throughout the day and to set firm "off hours" at night.

Whatever is happening out in cyberspace will be there when you return. Trust me.

5. Chew some gum. A lot of us chew gum simply because we like the taste of it. But there are actual benefits that come with putting a piece of it into your mouth. Gum has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress levels, increase your alertness, help you to focus better and, because a minty flavor has the ability to stimulate blood flow as well as your senses, chewing something like peppermint or wintergreen gum can actually make you more alert too.

6. Spend some time outside. First up, indoor air pollution is oftentimes 3-5 times worse than the pollution that is outside. Taking in too much "yuck" can drain you, off top. Also, there is a pretty common connection between low energy levels and Vitamin D deficiency. Since the sun is a great source of Vitamin D, that's why spending some time outdoors, perhaps during your lunch break, is such a good idea.

7. Turn the temperature up a bit. This might be an ah-ha moment for you.

Did you know that when the temperature drops around us, that causes our body temperature to fall as well which sends our system a cue that it's time to go to sleep (that actually provides good insight into why bears hibernate)?

At nighttime, this doesn't matter much but if you're feeling chilly throughout the day, turning the thermostat up a degree or two might help you to yawn a little less.

8. Eat some honey. I'm a big fan of honey for a lot of reasons (check out "Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find"). The reason why it's a stellar energy hack is because honey is an unrefined sugar that can be easily absorbed into your system. And since carbs are what cultivate energy, it can only benefit you to take in a teaspoon of honey on the days when you feel super out of it.

9. Don't suppress your feelings. Last fall, when I wrote the article, "You're Tired AF. But What Kind Of Rest Do You Need?", it explored some of the kinds of rest we need in order to feel our best selves. Well, something that I discovered about myself was that during my own fatigue moments, oftentimes it was emotionally related. Because I used to be somewhat codependent, I would sometimes stress over relationships and that would be draining.

While there is definitely something to be said for being polite, respectful and using good timing in sharing what's on your mind, if you feel weighed down on the mental tip, this too could be the cause of your tiredness. Get that ish off of your chest. You'll sleep so much soundly if/once you do.

10. Have a set bedtime. OK, raise your hand if you've got a scheduled bedtime. If you don't, that could be another reason why you're tired all of the time. By going to bed at the same time every night, it keeps your body's internal clock in great shape. This, in turn, makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up the next morning. I get that if you've got a work deadline or children, this may not always be possible. However, if you're sacrificing sleep for Netflix or Black Twitter, it's really not worth it. Create a schedule, read a book for about 20 minutes before the time you decide to go to sleep (reading poetry, non-dramatic non-fiction, Scripture, etc. has a way of settling the spirit) and watch how much better you feel. It's a proven hack that can give you a boost of energy. I can vouch for it personally.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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