6 Foods to Avoid to Fight Daytime Fatigue and Other Things I Should Be Doing

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Anyone who has a depressive disorder knows the agony of bone-deep, stuck-in-molasses, ever relentless fatigue.  Day in and day out, dragging yourself around with that hundred pound weight chained to your ankle; barely being able to make it out of bed to use the bathroom let alone eat.

Or maybe your fatigue is not that extreme.  Maybe it is more of an annoyance; decreasing your motivation; making everything seem like more of an effort.  Either way, there are several foods that actually increase sleepiness that you may want to avoid during the day.

6 Foods to Avoid To Fight Daytime Fatigue

  1. Bananas because they are high in magnesium – a muscle relaxant that will make you tired
  2. Red meat because a lot of energy goes into digesting its high fat content, thereby making you feel tired
  3. Cherries because they are high in melatonin, a natural sleep aid
  4. White bread, including pastries, white rice, pasta, muffins, and processed foods because all of the flour and sugar in them causes drowsiness, and their lack of fiber causes them to break down too quickly to offer a constant flow of energy
  5. Fish like salmon, halibut, and tuna because the body uses the Vitamin B6 in them to make melatonin (the sleep hormone)
  6. Turkey because it is high in tryptophan, which is an amino acid that increases serotonin levels, a relaxing brain neurotransmitter

These foods shouldn’t be avoided all together.  Consuming them in the evening just might be a better idea.

 

Another way to combat fatigue is to maintain a healthy weight, which is something I struggle with.  I’d be happy to lose about 15 pounds.  I’d be ecstatic to lose 20.  Something that came across my mailbox today caught my attention, and I wanted to pass it along because its suggestions for weight loss are, in general, I think, good for overall mental health, too.

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7 Ayurvedic Secrets for Weight Loss

Ayurvedic Medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems, originating in India more than three thousand years ago.  The idea behind these “secrets” is that as you become healthier over all, the weight will naturally come off.

  1. Sleep from 10pm to 6am every night
  2. Exercise for 45-60 minutes vigorously, sometime between 6-10am each morning
  3. No snacking; three meals a day only
  4. Include all six tastes at each meal (sweet, sour, salt, spice, bitter, astringent. See resource link below for food examples.)
  5. Eat your largest meal at noon; finish your last meal 2-3 hours before bed
  6. Sip hot water or tea throughout the day
  7. Practice meditation

I think I could do some of these.  I am darn close to a few – sleeping from 11pm-6:30am already; having only one snack, at night after dinner, which I am planning on cutting out starting tonight.  I do hot coffee throughout the day, does that count?  I practice meditation, but not regularly.  Could easily change that.  Largest meal at noon won’t happen because family dinner is in the evening.  However, by cutting out the nighttime snack I will have finished my last meal well before the three hour mark before bed.

I think including all six tastes at each meal will be a huge challenge because I eat so little for breakfast and lunch.  Literally, for breakfast I have a bowl of Cheerios. That is a sweet food, according to the list.  This morning, however, I did have a swallow of citrus juice, which is a sour taste, and I do have my coffee every morning, which is a bitter taste.  I could have popped a few grapes in my mouth for an astringent taste.  Maybe this will be easier than I thought.  The hard one is the exercising.  I have a huge aversion to it.  Sigh.  Baby steps.

What do you think of these secrets?  If you try them and they help you lose weight or just make you feel better, let me know.

Resource links:
https://chopra.com/ccl/7-ayurvedic-secrets-for-weight-loss

Psychiatric Medication and Heat Illness

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There are many medications that affect the way your body cools itself during extremely high temperatures that could put you at risk for developing heat-related illnesses. Beta-blockers and amphetamines are examples. Many of these medications are ones taken by psychiatric patients, yet rarely do we hear warnings on the news to check on this population along with the elderly and children during extreme heat like I think we should.

I am on propranolol (beta-blocker), Adderall (amphetamine), Cymbalta (antidepressant), Risperdal (antipsychotic), Ativan (antianxiety), and Topamax (anticonvulsant), all of which increase my sensitivity to heat.

So, when we were boating last weekend in the 95F degree weather and stopped for lunch to which the group “leader” thought it would be a great idea to sit outside and eat, I said, “Are you crazy?!”

I didn’t really say that, but I did ask if everyone would rather eat indoors, to which the leader responded, “No way!” and everyone else followed suit by sheepishly smiling. So, I got up, recruited my husband to walk with me into the restaurant and we sat in the air-conditioning until our food was served. By this time, I was cooled off and probably saved myself from the beginnings of some heat exhaustion.

Even though my friends know I am on psych meds, they don’t get the seriousness of the side effects. It’s up to me to be assertive enough to take care of myself, and that’s what I did.

The next morning we went on a hike, and while the morning temperatures were cooler, the steep hills got my heart pumping and pores sweating. We took a 15-minute rest break on a bench by the lake.

After our rest break, I noticed my friends’ faces were no longer perspiring or flushed. I, on the other hand, felt like I was running a fever and was feeling light-headed and nauseous. I decided it would be best to call my husband to come pick me up rather than continue on the rest of the hike with them, so that is what I did.

It bums me out that I can’t keep up with my friends in the heat, but without my medications I wouldn’t be able to do anything with them regardless of the weather.

Here’s a brochure by the Ohio Dept. of MH which includes a list of some of the medications that can impair the heat response, as well as what to look for and do in the case of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

RxList is a comprehensive drug index that provides in-depth information on probably every drug you are on. Search the medications you are currently taking to see if they make you sensitive to the sun or heat, or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Heat illness is very serious. Make sure you know if your medication is putting you at risk. Let’s keep summer safe!

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Are People with Bipolar Disorder Lazy?

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A recent study reported that those of us with bipolar disorder are significantly more sedentary than those who do not have the disorder. Health professionals recommend 150 minutes of moderate to rigorous physical activity per week. Apparently, we of the bipolar persuasion sit on our duffs for 78% of the day while “nonusers of mental health services” are sedentary for only 59% of the day.

I get it…the numbers don’t lie. But, I’d like to let those researchers in on a little secret: we aren’t sitting around in a completely dulled state. More often than not, our minds are going 250,000 miles per minute thinking of project after project; worrying about the past; projecting into the future, and wishing more than anything that the pesky hamster taking speed, who continuously runs on the wheel inside our heads, would take a friggin’ nap already!

Wouldn’t it be great if mental activity burned as many calories as physical activity? Although, then we’d all have to be treated for anorexia, now, wouldn’t we?

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Or maybe we are in a dulled state. Why? Oh gee, could it be the multitude of medications we are on, or are we really just lazy? Don’t get me wrong – the researchers did NOT say we were lazy. That is my inference alone; I take 100% responsibility for it. They did however conclude that:

“From public health and clinical perspectives, these findings justify physical activity interventions targeting adults with [bipolar disorder],” ~ Janney et al.

I just have one question for Janney et al: Do you et al want me to vigorously workout before or after I take my daily dose of Seroquel? In other words, give me a medication regime that doesn’t include fatigue as a major side effect, and I’ll race you to the gym!

Can anyone relate?

Check out more posts on Bipolar Disorder:
Bipolar Disorder and Memory Problems
Impulsive Behavior and Substance Abuse in Bipolar Disorder
Jealousy and Poor Sense of Identity in Bipolar Borderline
Boredom – Is It Depression or Mania?

Are you newly diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder? Check out these videos from fellow peers with Bipolar as they give words of encouragement to let you know you are not alone even though “you’ve got this!” (a Healthline campaign.)

Lastly, subscribe to my blog to receive more fun, fact-filled bipolar posts by using the ‘follow by email button’ or fill out the contact form below.