Wired But Tired?
Throughout my 15 year career, I have gained many insights - about the neuromusculoskeletal system, the many facets and specialties of physical therapy, work-life balance, how to optimize our health, fertility and infertility, healing, recovery, about myself, my personal strength, the strength that we all possess when we’re faced with limitations, grief, and the recovery process.
There are so many people out there that are searching for something to help themselves…they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. They have pain, stress, functional limitations, and are just not leading the healthy life that they so desire. This blog post has been created for YOU! You are the reason, motivation, and inspiration for me opening up about myself. Thank you for allowing me to be a positive influence in your life and journey. Please share my blogs with your social media networks so we can reach as many people as we can. One click, one like on facebook, can change someone’s life. It’s that simple.
As a busy Physical Therapist and professional, I had never heard of the phrase “wired but tired” before. Last year, I participated in the Women’s Wellness Collaborative Hormone Summit where I was introduced to this term. For one week, The Hormone Summit presented 35 experts in various healthcare fields who covered topics that particularly effect women throughout their life from puberty, to peri-menopause, through menopause and beyond. Throughout our life, our hormones fluctuate; our adrenal system easily gets taxed and out of whack. Throw in a busy job, being a mother, aches and pains, an autoimmune disease, a surgery, a sick child, taking care of the home, being the bread-winner, and staying current in your profession, and you wonder why we are stressed and our systems go haywire. The concept of “wired but tired” is nothing new to these women…but it’s NOT normal.
Here are a few tips to help restore your system if you think you are “wired but tired”:
Food is medicine. Eating nutrient dense foods can heal your system. Optimal nutrition and hydration are vital to feeling energetic, healing your body’s aches and pains, and stabilizing your hormones and blood sugar to avoid the dreaded afternoon crash. There was a point I was so tired I would drive to work in a “car coma”. Well not anymore! With the right breakfast combination of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and vegetables, I am alert and awake and ready to face the day full of other people’s aches and pains. Eat for health.
Supplementation matters. Most Americans have nutrient deficiencies. Three common deficiencies are Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Vitamin B. Many of us also carry gene mutations that can affect our overall health and system function without even knowing it. For example, the MTHFR gene mutation affects methylation. Methylation is a process that helps with cellular repair of our DNA and RNA, helps to detoxify our system of toxic chemicals, and supports immune function. The use of appropriate supplementation can support methylation. It is important to be aware of where you get your supplements. Read your labels to ensure that your supplements are pure and without fillers. Consult with your primary care physician or a Functional Medicine Physician or Integrative MD to assess for some of the basic deficiencies like Vitamin B and D. If you are having symptoms of fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, joint pain, brain fog to name a few, you can consult a functional or integrative medicine physician to run more in depth blood tests to evaluate if you have any other hidden deficiencies that may be the root cause of your symptoms. It’s amazing what you will find with a more in-depth blood and hormone testing from a functional/integrative perspective. You can learn what your body actually needs to function optimally. Based on your symptoms and blood tests, they can advise you about which supplements you may need. In my case, my functional medicine MD prescribed a compounded methylated vitamin B complex that was made just for me. She also gave me a vitamin B12 injection to help jump start my system. Following the injection, I felt like I could run a marathon! It was amazing to realize how good you could feel with the optimal supplementation. Supplement for health.
Sleep is vital. Ensuring that you get your 7-9 hours is as vital to your health as food, water and shelter. Without adequate sleep, your physical health is jeopardized and mental health suffers. I didn’t realize how important this actually is as I too was on my phone or laptop til wee hours into the night. It is important to start winding down about one hour before your actual bedtime. Epsom salt baths are very soothing and calming to do prior to sleep. The magnesium in the salts is absorbed into your muscles and soothes them. Magnesium is a powerful inhibitor of the nervous system and assists with sleep. Power down your I-phones, I-pads, I-watches, Mac books and televisions. Recent research identified that the blue light in the phones keeps your brain awake. Set the mood and shut the lights! Being in the dark, your cortisol levels drop and melatonin increases getting you ready for sleep. A lack of adequate sleep can keep on those extra pounds that you are trying to lose. When you are sleep deprived, your cortisol levels stay elevated causing your brain to think it needs food. Healthy sleep is restorative for the mind and body; allows the brain to build and strengthen neuropathways and rebalances hormones. Sacrificing sleep affects mental acuity, reflexes, mood, stamina, immunity and even appearance. In order to prepare for sleep, develop a good bedtime routine. So, whether you opt for an Epsom salt bath or warm shower, or get down with a good book or your honey, create a consistent sleep cycle and routine…your health depends on it! Sleep for health.
Meditation heals. Stress is damaging and it comes in many forms. High cortisol levels are indicative of high stress in your life and will negatively affect your health. Meditation helps heal your system, it helps you manage your stress, stabilizes your mood, decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, and slows the aging process. It’s a no brainer! Start with 10-15 minutes. At the advice of my life coach, I added a 15-minute meditation session to my lunch hour. It is amazing how that short a time affects the rest of my day. I am way calmer and I feel like I think clearer. As I meditate, my mind does wander, this is normal but gets better with practice. Repeat a mantra to yourself when you feel like your mind wanders. You can also use a guided meditation to keep you on track. I subscribe to several YouTube channels with calming music and the sounds of the ocean to help keep me focused. Meditate for health.
Movement is medicine. Exercise and movement is just as important to your health as the food you put into your body. Incorporating a combination or high intense and lower intense exercise into your week can be a nice balance for your body. High Intense Interval Training (HIIT Training) is very beneficial for your body as it builds strength and endurance. Many people are afraid to perform at a high intense level, but with a good coach, you can be very successful in building the optimal strength that your body needs to minimize the aches and pains and to keep strong as you age. Yoga and Pilates are other exercise forms that are less intense and focus on deep core strength, flexibility, and mobility. Yoga incorporates stretching which can help you relax the muscles that you worked during your high intense training. If you play a specific sport like tennis or golf, consider adding in some cross training to help progress your game and performance. Move for health.
Boundaries are necessary. So, if you are a new PT practicing out there or really anyone in the workforce, my advice is to set those boundaries early in your career. Make sure that you schedule your time to exercise and meditate and don’t fill that time with patients or clients. Eat during your lunch hour, don’t fill it with clients. I don’t advice working through your lunch hour. You need to eat! See above…nutrition is vital to your optimal health! Learn to say “No”! This was and still can be challenging for me. I will often work late to get more patients in. I know people are hurting and that can be tough for me because I feel for them, but ultimately, if I don’t do what is right for me to be healthy, this may affect how I can help others.
If you feel like you are “wired but tired”, perhaps consider seeking care from a Functional Medicine Physician or an Integrative MD, or nutrition or life coach to help you manage your nutrition, minimize stress, and put the systems in place that you need to help refresh, restore and renourish your mind and body. Who doesn’t want more energy, to feel more calm, more rested, and resilient? It’s a no brainer.
Dr. Melissa Baudo Marchetti, PT, DPT, SCS, MTC is a Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist and Physical Therapist at One on One Physical Therapy, a multidisciplinary private practice in Atlanta. For nearly five years she was a full-time sports physiotherapist for the WTA Tour and is a tennis medicine expert. She teaches within the Division of Physical Therapy at Emory University. Learn more by visiting www.onetherapy.com and www.melissabaudopt.com.