Lori Bernstein dreams about spending her after-work hours hiking with her dog, or taking a cooking or ballroom dancing class with her partner, Jeff. In reality, Bernstein is so physically and mentally exhausted by 6 p.m. each day that she isn’t able to enjoy any of these activities. “I am never very active in the evenings,” the 43-year-old says. “That’s a problem, because the evenings are when Jeff and I are together. He often wants to go out at night, but I never have enough energy.”
For Bernstein, the average workday begins at 5 a.m., when she pulls herself out of bed and gets ready for her job as a courier. After six hours of sorting, hauling, and delivering packages, Bernstein hits the gym, where she does one hour of aerobic exercise and lifts weights. “When I’m in the car on the way to the gym, I never feel like working out,” says Bernstein, who goes there at least four times a week. “But I always feel so much better when I do.”
Bernstein’s courier job, which she’s had for 20 years, is taxing—both physically and mentally. Along with walking a lot, lifting heavy boxes, and sorting through mounds of packages each day, Bernstein must work—and drive—under constant deadline pressure. “The job is stressful, particularly when I have to drive in the snow,” she says.
Making matters worse, Bernstein suffers from allergies triggered by dust, mold, ragweed, grass, and trees. Her allergy symptoms include clogged sinuses, impaired breathing, and itchy and watery eyes. The allergies also seem to drain her energy levels.
Bernstein has tried to combat her fatigue (and the effects of her allergies) by drinking plenty of water—downing at least two glasses first thing each morning. She also eats a balanced diet of mostly natural and organic foods, including fruits, vegetables, hummus, yogurt, brown rice, poultry, and soy. Although she doesn’t drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages and limits her sugar intake, Bernstein does indulge in a little dark chocolate almost every day. Rather than eating three big meals, Bernstein nibbles on smaller snacks throughout the day. “My work is very physical, and I feel hungry all of the time,” she says.
Bernstein’s daily vitamin and supplement regime includes calcium and vitamin B. She also takes nettles and quercetin, both natural allergy remedies, and antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E with selenium, Co-Q10, and a green-source multivitamin.
Although Bernstein tries to get at least eight hours of sleep each night, she often wakes up feeling tired in the morning. “I always seem to want more sleep.”