Are you tired of being tired?

Hope and Happiness

When people ask me for help, one of the most frequent complaints is of being tired and not having enough energy to do the things they want to do. They also may complain of being overwhelmed and confused. Some use the expression “brain fog” and complain of not being able to think clearly.

The origins of low-energy can be physical, emotional or spiritual. I won’t deal with the spiritual here, except to say the phrase that comes to mind is “dark night of the soul.” 

Let’s look at physical origins first. 

Low-energy following surgery is your body’s way of holding you back to give itself time to heal. Low-energy usually accompanies flu and other short-term illnesses. Low-energy is a major symptom of some poorly understood chronic ailments such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

On a personal note, a few years ago I went through a period of being overly tired and lacking energy. I was also feeling cold all the time. I asked my doctor to refer me to a specialist. It turned out that I had atypical hypothyroidism. 

With meds I got back my ability to regulate heat, and my energy bounced back to its normally enthusiastic level.

On the psychological front, low-energy and tiredness follow loss; it’s a normal part of grieving. Low energy is a symptom of untreated trauma, whether or not the trauma meets the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Low-energy almost always accompanies depression, including depression that may have been self-induced by drinking too much. I’m sure you’ve heard the latter type of tiredness called “sleeping it off.”

The physical or emotional (or spiritual) origins of chronic tiredness are often unclear. 

If you experience tiredness day after day, it can be very worrisome. And worry itself is a form of emotional stress that can lead only to more tiredness. Without intervention you could be in a downward spiral.

In the end the origins of your low energy don’t really matter, because by the time your tiredness becomes a serious problem, it is certainly both a physical and emotional problem and perhaps even a spiritual one.

However, before you jump to the conclusion that you should see a psychologist, it would be prudent to see your doctor to rule out possible physical reasons for your fatigue. 

Your doctor may prescribe medication to help you sleep or to treat other medical conditions.

In any case, however, look after the emotional healing too. 

If the origins are physical, the physical problems will heal faster when you regain some peace and optimism. 

Worry only slows down physical healing. 

If the origins are psychological, such as untreated trauma, finding and treating those origins will almost certainly help you to regain energy and clarity. That reduces worry and leads to more optimism. You get to turn the downward spiral into an upward spiral towards a healthy energy level.

So if a friend or family member is in an energy funk, persuade them to see their doctor. The doctor may be able to help them reverse the problem and may recommend they get emotional help as well.

You can reach Registered Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill for an appointment at 250-752-8684 or through his website:



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Members of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. set up the tube where rainbow trout were released into Spider Lake on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Michael Briones photo)
Fishing time: 1,800 rainbow trout released into Spider Lake

Society records spike in fishing licences during pandemic

A map showing where the new developments for affordable housing will be located on Moilliet Street in Parksville. (submitted photo)
Parksville city council approves development permit for 87 housing units

Development to include four-storey apartment and eight townhouses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read