Fiona Bruce health: Presenter on her ‘wake-up call’ illness – symptoms of exhaustion

Tonight (Thursday, March 24) Bruce is back, hosting Question Time from Reading, just one of her main presenting roles that she took on back in 2019. In May 2020, Bruce stated that Question Time is the hardest job she has ever done ” without doubt ”, and just before her first live broadcast, she was“ as nervous as [she has] ever been “. But having expertly taken on the challenge, Bruce remains content with her current presenting jobs, having learned the hard way that sometimes taking on too many projects can start to seriously affect an individual’s health.

In an interview with The Sunday Post back in 2019, Bruce recalled a time where she “tried to cram more things in” with disastrous consequences.

Bruce said: “I have had years when I’ve tried to cram more things in. I had one year, five or six years ago, where I just became ill.

“Physically, I just couldn’t do it all. I wasn’t seriously ill but it was a bit of a wake-up call.

“I remember thinking that I just felt too tired so I became more judicious about what I chose to do and not do.

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“Part of it is work, but there are a number of charities I’m closely associated with.

“I get asked by several other charities a week and there is a never-ending list of things you could do.

“I feel that someone in my position should do as much of that as they can.

“I think I’ve slightly over-stretched myself on that front along with my BBC work, so I’m trying to be more sensible on both fronts about managing my time.”

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Having made herself physically ill with her hectic work schedule, the 57-year-old managed to find time to become “more Zen” during the COVID-19 national lockdown.

Talking to the Radio Times, Bruce said: “In the first week or so I was very anxious, and fearful and worried for my family.

“But then I got used to it and as time went on I forced myself to become more Zen.

“I cleared out every cupboard in the house, got the sticking key on the piano mended – by my husband …

“But all the things I meant to do, like getting my piano playing up to scratch or learning another language, just didn’t happen.

“I did work out a lot, did a lot of running and dog walking.”

The NHS explains that feeling tired “all the time” is relatively common and can be put down to too many late nights, long hours spent at work or a newborn baby keeping you up at night. But tiredness and exhaustion that lingers for a long period of time can affect your ability to enjoy life.

Tiredness and exhaustion can be down to physical, psychological and lifestyle factors, and before seeking advice from a GP it is advised that individuals think about what parts of their lives may be causing them to feel exhausted.

Psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes. This can include stress, emotional shock, depression and anxiety.

In comparison, physical causes of exhaustion and tiredness can include the following:

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Sleep apnea.

As well as this, certain things in an individual’s lifestyle can also contribute to tiredness, including drinking too much alcohol, too little or too much exercise, too much caffeine, working night shifts, eating sugary high-fat snacks and having daytime naps.

Women’s Health provides the 10 most common signs of exhaustion that people should be aware of. If you have been feeling these symptoms for four weeks or more, it is a good idea to see your GP:

  1. You can’t think straight – or at all
  2. You are more than stressed out
  3. Your usual healthy go-to’s have been replaced by chocolate bars and crisps
  4. You find yourself counting sheep one too many nights in a row
  5. Your lips are constantly cracked and dry
  6. You can’t bear the thought of the gym – and when you do manage to drag yourself there, your “personal bests” have significantly dropped
  7. Your mood is tumultuous to say the least
  8. You feel short of breath – even when you’re doing nothing at all
  9. You seem to permanently have the office cold
  10. Your sofa is fast becoming your new BFF.

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