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Women's Health

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Fighting Fatigue? Get a Better Life

Take Stock, Set Priorities, Take Care of Yourself

Tame Anxiety, Depression

For many people -- especially women in their 30s and 40s -- severe anxiety and depression are leading causes of fatigue, says Horesh. "Anxiety puts your body into overdrive and wears down the immune system. Some people even have medical symptoms like chest pain, racing heart, heart palpitations because their bodies are in overdrive. They're getting shots of adrenaline all the time."

Depression sets up a vicious cycle. "A lot of people don't see a doctor until they're really, really sick, because they don't want to take care of themselves, can't concentrate, can't get pleasure. They become completely withdrawn, sometimes suicidal, unable to help themselves," she says.

An imbalance of hormone levels could be causing these mood disturbances, she tells WebMD. Antidepressants, psychotherapy, meditation, or yoga can help reduce stress and restore emotional balance. "Different things work for different people," she says.

Exercise -- It's Soul-Satisfying

Exercise is a great stress-relief aide -- even if you're too tired for it, says Mack. "If you're feeling overwhelmed, tired for whatever reason, exercise might be the last thing you feel like doing. But moderate amounts of exercise can actually help your mood. You will have more energy and require less sleep. Exercise will make you more tired at night, and you will fall into a deeper sleep, get better rest."

Despite your busy life, push yourself to do this one extra thing, Mack says. "You just have to get yourself going. It does make a difference. It's worthwhile adding on that one extra thing. It can make a big difference -- not just in fatigue, but in your overall outlook, and can act as a very good stress reliever."

Get Plenty of Protein

Even if you're trying to eat right, you may be doing it wrong. "Diet is important," says Horesh. Fruits and vegetables fill you up with fewer calories. But they won't give you the long-lasting energy that you get from proteins and complex, starchy carbohydrates like whole-grain breads, pasta, rice, and beans.

"A diet that is very heavy in sugars -- too many sweets, junk food, cookies -- is going to give you surges in energy," she says. "But you're also going to have a sudden drop in energy.

"For energy, you need a diet that is better balanced -- higher in protein, higher in complex carbohydrates, but low in sugars and, of course, fats," she tells WebMD.

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