Need Some Ideas to Stave Off Exhaustion

By now you probably know that I’m in college. I’m feeling absolutely exhausted. Perhaps drained physically and mentally would be the best way of expressing it. I think most of this is due to the brutal winter we, and many others in the country, have been experiencing.

My classload this semester is not burdensome and are all pretty much classes that I like and am good at. I just can’t shake this feeling of wanting to pass out on the floor for a good ten hours.

I’ve seen the doctor and am healthy and not depressed, even if I am feeling somewhat down sometimes. But nothing like clinical depression (and I’ve been there). I’m eating healthy, trying to sleep 5-6 hours a night (which is usual for me), and trying to take breaks throughout the day. But I can’t go outside much without risk of cold exposure, my lungs are sick of breathing in cold air, and my eyes are tired of artificial lights. I have exercise-induced asthma so I can’t exercise much on equipment indoors. I try to involve myself in my hobbies but then I feel guilt about not getting schoolwork done even though I always finish it well ahead of time and don’t procrastinate.

It’s really dragging down my mood and ability to concentrate. It’s also making it tough for me to want to talk with my friends, because even though I love them dearly and always love to hear from them and do things with them, I feel too wiped out to do so now. And that upsets me a lot. And with people I am less fond of, my patience is wearing thin. I’ve been putting off some of the praying I usually do which has not helped either, I imagine, because it feels like one more burdensome thing to check off a list.

I’m sure I can’t be the only one to feel this way. Anyone have any advice about what might have worked for them? I’m open to anything at this point. Maybe I just need a kick in the pants, but seriously, it’s troubling me.

I know that there can be variations in sleep needs, but it is possible that you are chronically sleep-deprived and it’s finally beginning to wear you out with the other stressors you have going on.

I would suggest that you give yourself at least 8-9 hours to sleep, with a good amount of time to wind down at night and then to get ready for the day in the morning. If you have time for a nap during the day, that would be good, too (I used to schedule as many classes as I could in the morning so I could take a short nap after lunch.) You can have a good social life and attend to your studies without keeping the stereotypical college kid schedule (I was almost always in bed by midnight and up by 8am).

Do you get in regular exercise? I find exercise to be physically stimulating but mentally relaxing. It was nice to not have to think for a while and got some endorphins going. :slight_smile:

I agree about trying to get more sleep. Start getting ready for bed 1/2 hour to an hour earlier and see how you feel (or get up later if you can).

Try to get as much natural light as you can. Even if you aren’t outdoors, sit by an uncurtained window in the mornings on sunny days. That will help your body clock set so you aren’t constantly half asleep.

Take your vitamins and make sure you are actually eating enough protein. You need more than most young woman eat.

Hope the semester goes well.

Sounds like depression to me. Also, have you had your thyroid checked? Drs. don’t usually check that.
good luck

alright, so the eyes are fatigued from the lights,(do you read alot?); moodiness (do you have sleep problems); these are symtoms of how the brain reacts to too much reading-book work/the reason i suggest this as evidence/ i had a college professor of psychology of whom mentioned this…i was in his last class, as he was retiring, very smart man/ he would only have mention something with evidence of research/ it made sense to me at the time/ if this information is helpful…i suppose the inquiry would be if to only cut back on reading…of course a dilemma brews as balance of time and necessity to get a good grade/ to conclude-
there might be a deal breaker…
there is a book to reference

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

the book was helpful to me to teach me time management,

i came back, after thinking, there is always need to suggest: what about prayer (after you get the problem under control) time management you see? priorities first…that is what the book is about, shifting paradigm…etc, so is prayer a shifting paradigm…there is so much waiting after college job and family…some call that challenges -yet american society can be rough-and so one semester will show achievement-the next to shift paradigms ( anew model) that God is central to one’s life…these might be in tension-but peace is most valuable thing to experience…

It seems that my doctor thinks that because I’ve always been getting that amount of sleep, that it’s normal. I believe that it isn’t necessarily what I should be getting just because I’ve always had a sub-standard amount of sleep. I like the idea of setting time aside to unwind which might help me a lot in that department. I am always thinking and my mind doesn’t shut itself off simply because it’s time to get to bed. The trouble is that I have to get up very early (5 am) so I will try to see if I can get to bed earlier.

I do ever so much better when I can exercise, but it’s hard to get much in during winter. I can’t do much outdoors and most indoor exercise equipment will set off my asthma. I do walk around inside the buildings and whatnot so I do get some.

Thanks for your input!

Will try! Thank you! (Fortunately, I love red meat, so that won’t be too tough to try out.)

I did ask for a thyroid check and it came back clear. I think it might be SAD, but I don’t think it’s too likely that it is clinical depression like I’ve experienced in the past. Nevertheless, I’ll re-mention it to the doc. Thanks!

Ooooh, cutting back reading will be hard even when it doesn’t count schoolwork, as I love to read. Perhaps I’ll try it in shorter bursts. I have the tendency to be hyperfocused on classes and such, maybe too organized about it. I think I could probably allow myself to relax a bit without fear of ramifications in my GPA. I will check out that book, for sure.

I do agree that getting back on track with prayer will help much. I used to pray the Rosary every day and even though it was hard some days, it made such a difference. I felt happier and calmer. I will try, even if it means get back on track slowly, to start such things again.

Many thanks!

Sounds to me like it could be a few issues. I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible.

It could be some adrenal (stress glands) fatigue coupled with some SAD. Adrenals can become fatigued due to stress, not enough sleep, poor diet, and lack of vitamins. You definitely need more sleep; you should try for at least seven hours per night. It is important to go to sleep by about 10 pm if you can. Eat a balanced diet with as many whole foods as possible. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar as they can tax the adrenals. Take a good multivitamin that contains some Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial especially in the winter! Manage your stress as best you can and don’t be too hard on yourself! Adrenal fatigue takes some time to heal from but it can be done if you care for yourself. Strenuous exercise is not recommended as it can tax the adrenals as well.

I really hope you feel better soon!

I was thinking SAD, too. I suggest taking short walks, for the sunshine, but also to get away **physically **from the school work. That way, you won’t be tempted to get back to it before getting your batteries recharged. If you really don’t want to walk, sit outside or near a sun-filled window. Worth a shot.

If you really have a problem with sleep, go to a pulmonologist–you probably see one already for your asthma. Many pulmonologists also specialize in sleep disorders, I guess because of sleep apnea. Also, my pulmonologist introduced me to a prescription product called Rozerem. It is not a narcotic or sleeping pill. It is a highly purified form of melatonin. OTC melatonin might help, but this is much better. Because it is not a narcotic, you won’t feel hungover the next morning. Also worth a try. HTH


This sounds like one of those situations where a second opinion wouldn’t hurt. Debilitating and chronic fatigue are not normal, even among the elderly. Sure depression can make a person feel tired, but that is different from a fatigue that just makes you feel like your going to drop in your tracks.

I had a sever problem with this kind of thing and after 7 years of searching for answers it was discovered I had sleep apnea and Fibromyalgia Syndrome. (FMS). Fatigue is something to keep an eye on and figure out what is wrong.

If you can I would try for 7 or 8 hours of sleep to help, but I know when in college that is sometimes hard to do.

Praying for you.

Just some more thoughts and suggestions.

  1. The Rosary always relaxes me, and makes me feel better.
  2. Do you have a microwave? They make some great herbal teas to relax you or pick you up.
  3. Full blood workup including ammonia levels if you have high triglycerides.
  4. Can you get away to some place really quiet for a weekend? You could still study, but oversleep and study in the quiet.
  5. When you sleep, do so in total darkness if possible. Light sources keep your body in “summer mode.” Winter is the rest cycle in nature. This comes from the book "Lights Out.’
  6. Avoid sugar and excess carbs. For many carbs and sugar put you through insulin spikes.
  7. Vitamins.
  8. Pray about it, if you have not already. College is stressful. Stress makes you sleepy and sleepless at the same time!

I am wondering if even using a treadmill or elliptical at a low speed might help (since you mentioned indoor equipment I’m guessing there are facilities for student use - seems pretty common at colleges these days.) If the asthma is set off by dust, you could try wiping down the machines first, or if it’s just the exertion, you might start at a low intensity and work up as your lungs get stronger (check with your doctor first to make sure this is safe). You could also look into intramural sports - would get some exercise in and social time, and they’re more focused on fun than competition.

(What about swimming? Is there an indoor pool open to students?)

I have a sense that the major problem might be the thinking constantly. Thinking, all by itself, can be exhausting - especially when you’re not skilled in turning it off. I don’t know how it is for you, but when my mind gets in that zone it’s like a hamster wheel - nothing really productive is happening, but the thoughts keep zooming and I can’t figure out how to stop it. I’ve had a counselor to help me with this, but I do a lot of practiced relaxation and prayerful meditation.

I have also found that purposefully engaging my other senses helps. I am very sensitive to scents and touch, so if I want to relax, I’ll have lavender or vanilla scented things nearby, and very soft blankets that I can run my fingers over - almost like an adult version of a security blanket. :o But even if I’m out and about, if I start feeling overwhelmed by my thinking, I can take a minute, breathe in, notice what’s going on around me, and it helps a LOT. I am not sure if this is the case for you, but maybe my experience will be helpful to you. :slight_smile:

Aim for 8 hrs sleep EVERY night

Make sure you are eating enough and that you are eating healthy and nutritious meals

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water every day

Take a multi vitamin suppliment (you can buy them at the store )

Cut back on candy, junk food, fizzy drinks and caffeine drinks like
energy drinks and coffee. It may give you a quick burst of energy but it will wear off then your energy levels will slump and you will feel exhausted and terrible again.

I would suggest that you may need more sleep. 5-6 hours does not seem to be enough. If you let yourself sleep one day as long as it took to wake up naturally, without waking up to an alarm, how long would you naturally sleep? That’s probably how much you really need.

Years ago, I found my exhaustion was caused by low blood pressure. When I start feeling fatigued, salt and water usually do it for me.

Perhaps it is more of an issue of anxiety? People with anxiety issues can have trouble sleeping, over-thinking, over-focusing etc. It’s also really exhausting to worry all the time. You may be doing it and not realizing it. As a college student, you probably have free access to a counseling department on campus. Give it a shot. It never hurts to talk to someone and see about ruling that in or out. It would not be at all surprising for a college student to struggle with anxiety at times.

This is the problem right here. 5 to 6 hours is nowhere near enought sleep. I know it’s tempting to skimp on sleep when you are in college and busy (I used to do it myself), but you’ve just got to make time to get your 8 hours every night. That will make a big difference in how much energy you have.

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