When you feel exhausted, life seems like a burden. Day to day activities feel taxing and nothing looks very interesting through tired eyes. You make silly mistakes and are accident prone. You’re in a bad mood. It can be heroic just to get through the day.
When you feel energetic, the world opens up. You’re more motivated and joyful. You have enthusiasm for life and all that it has to offer. You’re calmer and better able to deal with challenges. You feel better about yourself and the world.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced both states. Who wouldn’t prefer to feel energetic and full of life? Yet so many of us regularly drag ourselves through the day, barely hanging on as we’re running on empty. How can we maintain a level of energy that allows us to live the life that we want?
The essentials to good health and energy are no secret: eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise moderately, and incorporate relaxation and recreation in your life. But in today’s world full of demands and distractions, these elements don’t come easily. Sometimes things out of our control rob us of time to exercise. Other times, we’re simply unable to pull ourselves away from a bright screen to get adequate rest. In what ways are you undermining your own health and energy level?
If you do take good care of yourself most of the time and you still feel chronically tired, consult a medical professional to see if you have an underlying condition that is robbing you of energy. Physical and mental problems such as anemia, hormonal imbalance, depression, and anxiety can all keep you from functioning at your best.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, we feel awful. Whether a sick child kept us up all night or we had an urgent deadline to meet at work, taking care of our needs often take a back seat. Our first impulse may be to reach for a stimulant: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or tobacco. While these things do make you feel better in the short term, they leave you feeling even worse once they wear off. Then you need more stimulant to keep going thus creating an addiction.
It’s best to avoid these artificial energy boosts. Having some healthier ways to recharge up your sleeve will help you do that. Below are some ideas. Try a few of them the next time you’re feeling exhausted.
- Take a nap if possible. Even a short 15 minute snooze can recharge your batteries for a few more hours.
- Drink a big glass of water. Sometimes we’re simply dehydrated and that leads to fatigue.
- Take a few minutes to do some deep breathing, preferably in fresh air. Slowly breath through your nose. Focus on your abdomen and its expansion and contraction with the breath. When we’re under stress, our breathing becomes shallow and we don’t get enough oxygen. Slow, deep breaths also helps us relax.
- Move your body. Walk around or do some stretching. Really get your blood moving and circulating. Adjust your posture and make sure you’re sitting and standing upright to avoid muscle fatigue and strain.
- Eat a healthy snack. You could have low blood sugar from skipping meals or from crashing from a sugar high.
- Do something relaxing. Release tension by taking a warm bath or doing a quick self massage of your hands or scalp.
- Wash your face or take a quick shower. You’ll feel better, more awake.
- Do something enjoyable for a short time. If you’re feeling stressed out, worried, or upset, shift your mood by focusing on an activity that will lift your spirits. Perhaps listen to up beat music or play with a pet. This puts you in a better frame of mind to deal with the cause of your tension later on.
What else can you think of that will help you feel better when you’re really tired? Jot down whatever techniques you’re willing to try and put the list in easy reach. Hopefully by tending to your need for healthy food, exercise, sleep and R&R, you’ll minimize days of exhaustion. But when those times do come, you’ll have some good ways to cope.