10 Fatigue Fighters

When you're feeling run-down and exhausted, try one of these methods for an energy -- or attitude -- boost.
A Well-Rounded You
You know you haven't run a marathon, climbed a mountain, or even done much more than slog through a giant stack of paperwork -- so why do you feel exhausted at the end of every day? That's the tricky thing about stress: it can make you feel mentally and physically exhausted. If you're so pooped you can't socialize, enjoy hobbies, or participate in activities that make you happy, it's time to reassess. Find the fatigue fighter that leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and invigorated.

1. Exercise. It may seem counterintuitive -- you're so tired you can barely drag yourself home at the end of the day, so why would running a few miles help? The fact is, exercise is one of the best ways to combat fatigue. More movement, not less, boosts energy levels. And you can exercise without leaving the comfort of your own home. Invest in some 8- or 10-pound weights and do some work on your arms while you're watching TV or talking on the phone. Or buy an aerobic workout video and do 20 minutes in the morning for a before-work cardio-boost.

2. Sleep. It sounds simple, but how often are you getting a good night's sleep? If you actually keep a log of your sleep habits, you may find that your late-night puttering is robbing you of precious hours of shut-eye. Set a bedtime for yourself, and stick to it.

3. Healthy diet. Stick to a healthy diet. While sugary snacks and caffeine-laden soft drinks may give you a short-term boost, they will quickly dump you into a low-energy slump. So what should you eat instead? Try dried apricots along with one ounce of almonds for a low-fat energy boost -- this combo snack gives you up to 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, and 20 percent of your daily iron allowance. Raisins and yogurt, or a fresh peach are some other nutrition-packed snacks that can help you boost your energy levels.

4. Cooling eye mask. Okay, you may feel a little silly, but who cares how you look? These eye masks typically contain a cold-retaining gel. Keep a few in the fridge and pop them on at the end of the day when your eyes are burning from computer glare or throbbing with tension. Look a little funny, feel fantastic.

5. Pounding beat. Put on some music that gets you going. Remember when you could dance until dawn and watch the sun rise? Those days may be long gone, but your old AC/DC album may give you just enough energy to clean the kitchen. Or try an energizing yoga workout to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Wash Your Fatigue Away

6. Astringent. Whether they contain herbal extracts, essential oils, or pore-tightening alcohol, astringents are a slightly tart face wash that are meant to be invigorating and refreshing. Choose your favorite and give it a try. At the very least, you'll smell nice and have squeaky-clean skin.

7. Just say no. To too many commitments, that is. Are you feeling exhausted because you're trying to do too much? It may be time to say no every once in a while. And if the negative is super-hard for you to say, then practice with a qualified yes. As in, "Yes I can serve on the PTA committee, but I can't do it this month. How about next month?"

8. Soak your fatigue away. Take a hot bath -- the warm water loosens tight muscles and cuts stress, leaving you with more energy. A hot soak can erase the day's tensions and leave you ready to face the rest of your evening with a little bit of pep. Plus, it will help you sleep better.

9. See a doctor. If your fatigue is persistent, and you have other symptoms, such as trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, or a loss of interest in your usual activities, you may want to talk to your doctor. Such symptoms can be a sign of depression.

10. Take a walk. Take a break at work or at home. Some fresh air can help clear your mind and fight that foggy feeling. Believe it or not, walking can help you fight off the blues. A recent Duke University Medical Center study found that a quick 10-minute walk may be enough to make clinically depressed people feel better. The study involved a group of inactive, depressed people who were 50 and older. After just eight minutes of walking, 82 percent of them said they felt less tense, tired, and angry.