Do you relate to those days when you don’t feel like getting up, ignoring the continuous blare of the alarm clock? Or do you remember that time when you desperately wanted to cancel that dinner party with your friends? Yes, all of us can easily think of a day or two when all we wanted was to be left alone, to doze off to sleep again, and to not be bothered to take that bath. This lazy, laid back attitude is due to a bout of lethargy which sets in some time in our daily routine.
We’re not talking about the chronic lethargy and sense of fatigue which one can have but, of an episodic bout. The former, if present, may underline a chronic disorder like anemia to a more serious one like a chronic kidney disease. Today, we’re talking about a sudden onset of lethargy without any rhyme or reason. You’re not working late nights, you don’t have excessive mental or physical work, but you still feel low and lazy. Most of the time, it may simply mean that your body and mind need to break free from the monotonous daily routine and want a change. On the other hand, it could also mark an imbalance which has taken place in your body due to some faulty diet or lifestyle which you’ve been following for the past few days.
Ayurveda describes any disorder in the language of the three humors which control our physiology- Vata (controlling all the movements in our body, like nerve impulse, circulation, locomotion etc), Pitta (responsible for digestion and metabolism) and Kapha (which marks the structural integrity, lubrication etc). These humors, if in their natural state, do their work as mentioned above, but if by any chance, they get imbalanced due to various causative factors, they cause certain changes in the functioning and structure (at a much later stage) of the various organs/parts of the body which manifest as various disorders.
Lethargy is a manifestation of a deranged Kapha humor. Each humor has certain properties. The humors Vata and Kapha, have an almost opposing set of properties, apart from the feature of coldness. Vata is dynamic and denotes speed and movement, whereas Kapha is static and denotes slowness, firmness, and rigidity. So in lethargy, there is either a comparative depletion of the properties of Vata (like that happens in a sedentary job), increase in the properties of Kapha (like that happens in people habitual of sleeping during the day and/or consuming too much dairy) or both (as happens in obese people).
What can you do if you’re feeling lethargic?
Please see your primary care physician if the lethargy episodes you are facing are either very chronic or are occurring very frequently to rule out any underlying disease.
Choose to eat light, cooked and easy to digest meals. Yogurt and cheese increase Kapha, so avoid these.
Avoid sugary foods and foods made from refined flours as they increase Kapha. Instead, include whole grains, white meats and lots of leafy greens and other vegetables in your meals.
Do regular exercises (which decrease Kapha and increases Vata), and avoid sleeping during the day (which increases Kapha). Be active at work and take walking breaks every hour. Walk over to your colleague’s desk to ask them a question rather than emailing or calling them.
Follow an early to bed and early to rise regimen.
Lose weight if you are overweight. For an easy 21-day weight loss plan, check out our online course.
Instead of depending on caffeine for that kick, try drinking a Kapha balancing tea 2-3 times a day till you get relief. Here’s the recipe:
Kapha Balancing Tea
1/4 teaspoon dry ginger
1/4 teaspoon dill seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
A pinch of cinnamon powder
1 cup boiling water
Mix the ginger, clove, dill seed, cinnamon and fenugreek seed together.
Add the boiling water to the herb and spice mixture.
Steep for 5 minutes, covered
Strain and discard the herb and spice mixture and serve hot.
Caution – It is bitter and may take some time for you to get accustomed to the taste.
Take a few days off work and go on a vacation if the work routine is getting monotonous. Try going on an adventurous vacation! You could go explore nature or go on a cycling trip.