One of the toughest things about staying on top of your health is knowing whether or not you are ill at any given time. We tend to assume that being ill should be instantly obvious and that if it isn’t, well, then there can’t be anything all that wrong with us… right?
But the problem is that many of us feel far less than optimal a lot of the time. A great number of us struggle to wake up in the mornings, drag ourselves through the day and generally feel low on energy, motivation and mood.
So how do we know whether this is illness, or whether it may just be us feeling tired?
The Difference Between Illness and Tiredness?
There is no definitive answer to this question. You know your body better than anyone and in short, if you think there may be a problem, then you should always speak with your GP at the earliest possible convenience.
However, one of the biggest clues as to whether you are ill or tired is to test whether or not rest and relaxation helps you to recover. If you are truly just tired rather than ill, then taking a day off and making sure that you get a good 8 hours of sleep should help you to feel back to normal. If it does not, then there’s a high chance that you are actually suffering from CFS – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
(While no one is certain as to the precise cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, it is thought that refusing to take time off when poorly may be one of the key contributing factors. So, make sure that you aren’t being a hero at your workplace!)
Another potential issue is that you might be struggling to get into a rhythm. Our bodies are designed to work best when we stick to a consistent and predictable rhythm of activity and rest. If your sleep schedule is erratic and you often end up working late, try changing this habit to see if it improves your ongoing tiredness.
Finally, if you still suspect that you might be suffering from something more than general tiredness, then look for additional symptoms that might point to a bigger problem. Symptoms you should look out for include:
- Muscle pains
- Memory loss
It’s also important to look out for signs of general illness, which might include stomach pain, a temperature or bleeding.
The simple take home? Get some rest and take some time out. If your body is tired, then that’s its way of telling you it needs it. If that doesn’t help: see your doctor.