Are you feeling tired all the time, or do you wish you had more energy to get through the day?
The demands of motherhood are constant and taking a break is difficult for many women practically, emotionally, and mentally. Especially in the early years, or in other stages when your sleep is constantly interrupted, it can be hard to feel rested enough. However, there are definitely things you can do to boost your energy and address the constant tiredness you are experiencing and naturopathy is one (excellent) option you can explore.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Naturopath Toni Clancey, from Lift Naturopathy. Toni loves working with mums to help them lift themselves, their health, their energy, and their ability to deal with demands, pressures, and stress. After working with her, clients often say they haven’t felt so good for a long time! She gave them their lift!
I asked Toni to share how Naturopathy can help you and specifically increase your energy. Here’s what she had to say…
Hi Toni, can you explain what a Naturopath does, and the benefits of naturopathy for women?
I often get asked this question, and to be honest, I used to struggle at answering it because there is so much!
My main priority is to view the person holistically to identify and eliminate illness and restore their health. I take into consideration your individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors to develop your personalised treatment plan. Naturopathy does not want you to be on medications or supplements for your whole life. We want to treat the underlying cause of your illness and symptoms while encouraging the body to selfheal.
During a consult (online or via telehealth) we assess all your body systems, through questioning, a detailed history of you, your health and life, physical assessments (my favourites are iridology, tongue and nail analysis), nutritional assessment, body composition and referrals for functional pathology if needed. I may also refer you to another natural health practitioner to complement my treatment or if I feel I am not the right fit for you and your health goals.
The main benefit of naturopathy is that disease can be successfully treated with the use of natural medicines. We look at the cause, rather than just treating your symptoms. Your body tells you it is out of balance by the symptoms you experience. We want to identify and heal that imbalance.
Naturopathy also focuses on disease prevention based on an understanding of your family’s medical history, your risk factors, and your susceptibility to disease. I want you to achieve full wellness.
I also use a technique called Naturopathic Emotional Release (NER). This psycho-emotional therapy helps us identify and clear emotional blocks or underlying stress which may be contributing to disharmony in the body, causing your symptoms or undesirable patterns of behaviour.
Women come to you because they are struggling with being constantly tired. What are the most common causes of this?
We all know that times have changed. Women are achieving greatness in the world, which comes with skyrocketing pressure in their paid work and other commitments, while their household and family duties have not changed. The pressure of maintaining a house, cooking nutritious meals, taking the kids to all their activities, as well as keeping fit and active, and maintaining social connections is a lot. This takes its toll on our bodies and we fall in a heap at the end of the day.
Our eating habits, including what and when we eat, have a huge impact on energy. It is hard to know what food is right for you with so many different diets to choose from and various advice from ‘the experts’ or your friends and family. This can be overwhelming, but getting it right can be so very rewarding.
Women often say to me “I went to the doctors to tell them I am tired all the time, they ran bloods and told me I am fine.” But this is not fine. You should not be tired all the time and your body is telling you something is out of balance.
Other common causes of constant tiredness are trying to keep up with the Jones’ and doing all the things, alcohol use, stress, lack of restful sleep, and gut issues.
Interestingly grief can also cause a lack of energy. When we bottle up grief to “get on with things” (for example, after a miscarriage) it can cause the body stress (including adrenal stress) which over time impacts our energy levels. It’s important to feel the pain and work through it with friends and family or a practitioner.
What are the common mistakes you see women making in terms of managing their energy?
The most common mistakes I see are:
Boot camp – Sorry to all the Personal Trainers, however, high-intensity training is detrimental to the health of a peri-menopausal, exhausted woman. Especially if you throw in adrenal fatigue, and thyroid and hormonal issues. Gentle, weight-bearing exercise might be a better option for some.
(Note: Peri-menopause is the period before menopause when your body gradually begins to make less estrogen. It lasts for several years, usually commencing in your 40s, but some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s.)
Needing Red Bull and sugary foods, especially around 3pm – Everyone deserves to snack, however, when it is used to keep you functioning, to stop you from falling asleep at your desk or when you pick the kids up at the end of the day, your body is trying to tell you something.
Coffee and wine – If you’re all about coffee, coffee, coffee throughout the day, and then wine at night to wind down a fully wired brain after a tough day, this could be contributing to your lack of energy.
Not taking time for yourself – Often when women have kids they stop caring for themselves. They can’t find the time to focus on their own health when they have the responsibility of everyone else in the household. We all need and deserve a break and therefore need to find some time. On average women spend almost one hour each day on social media so one option is to halve that time to do something more beneficial for your health, which may increase your overall energy such as going for a walk, meeting a friend, or meditating.
Guilt – Women experience so much guilt for not being the greatest mum, the adoring attentive wife, and the most productive person in the office. Guilt can drain your energy and also stop you from taking a break. You are most likely doing a lot better than what you give yourself credit for, but you also deserve a break, which will increase your energy!
What is your best advice for women who want and need to increase their energy?
Here are my top 10 tips to increase your energy:
1. Eat three main nutritious meals each day
Each meal should consist of a carb (from fruits and veg), protein, and a fat. This doesn’t need to be difficult, even 10 minutes three times a day allows you to quickly prepare a meal that will increase your energy.
2. Have a great night’s sleep, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
A good routine is key to being energised. When your body has a routine it is easier to shut off at the regular time. If you have trouble sleeping, set a schedule, read a book (not on a phone or tablet) or listen to relaxing music.
3. Look at your stress levels
Is there anything you can change to reduce stress? What are the things that are causing you stress and can they be removed from your life?
4. Don’t be a cactus, drink more water
Your body cells need water to function. Dehydration can impact your mood, energy, and brain function. So, stay hydrated by drinking 35ml per kilo of weight to a max of 4 litres per day.
5. Choose the right exercise for your body
Even a 10-minute stretch, walk, cycle, or workout a few times a day can significantly increase your energy. Try some type of regular exercise each day to suit you, your body, and your lifestyle. An expert can help you determine the right type and amount of exercise for you.
6. Limit alcohol
A drink at the end of a hard day can feel helpful in getting you to relax and fall asleep, but it can also affect your sleep quality. Enjoy in moderation and make sure you don’t drink close to your bedtime.
7. Limit sugar and highly processed foods
Although sugar makes you feel like you have more energy immediately after eating it, it is spiking your blood glucose levels which will soon come crashing down. This will definitely have a huge impact on your energy levels. Eating a lot of highly processed foods eventually leads to weight gain, inflammation and health issues, all of which impact our energy levels.
8. Review your social media use
Social media can be fun and connecting, but it may be stealing your attention from things that would help increase your energy. It can also negatively impact your self-esteem and your emotional state. How much time do you spend on social media? Do you need to cut back?
9. Quit smoking
Smoking reduces your likelihood of being able to engage in exercise and increases the risk of other health issues that may impact your energy levels.
10. Connect with others
Getting out and about with people can improve energy and your mood. Some days it might feel like the last thing you could manage, however it might just be the right thing for you to do to lift that energy. We get the most significant energy boost from spending time with people we love and who help us shine and live our best lives.
What do you wish all women knew about managing their energy?
I want you to know that your exhaustion may not be your fault. Your body systems can be letting you down if they have stopped functioning properly and there are ways to manage this. If you are feeling constantly tired beyond what you think is reasonable at your stage of life and motherhood, your body is trying to tell you something isn’t quite right.
I also wish more women know about adrenal fatigue. If you experience low energy, brain fog, vagueness, body aches, low mood, light-headedness, and sugar cravings that can never be fulfilled, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue. It can be caused by chronic, prolonged stress. The body’s natural fight or flight response triggers a stress response, releasing hormones (including cortisol) that prepare the body to stay and fight or run away from the danger. It’s a fantastic system to help keep you alive, however, it becomes a problem when it is constantly triggered (especially when there is no actual threat to your life) and your adrenal glands can’t keep up with the cortisol production required. This is detrimental to your health! The good news is, that we can do something about it. Tune into your body, identify what triggers you, and then we can work out what you need before it gets to boiling point.
If you’d like to know more about Naturopathy or if you are interested in working with Toni to increase your energy, you can contact her via her website.
About Toni Clancy
Toni is a mum of two girls, 7 and 10. Her husband, Brad, is a carpenter, and their family of four, and the dog, are currently travelling around Australia in a caravan while they work in various locations. Toni’s wonderful business as a Naturopath allows her to treat people via telehealth or when she’s in a town long enough, the locals can see her face to face.
Toni is qualified in Disability and Aged Care Support, Psychology, Naturopathy, and Counselling. She is a Metabolic Balance Practitioner and a Naturopathic Emotional Release (NER) Practitioner. This combination of education and experience allows her to thoroughly treat and support individuals who want to enhance their health and alleviate a wide range of conditions.