When you’re truly fatigued, you know it. You can’t even pretend that “tired” is the right word to describe how you feel. What you may have failed to realize is that you may be doing it to yourself.
Did you hear me? You are doing this to YOURSELF. Often times, we get into a routine that breeds fatigue. Same old habits, same old outcome. You may be doing some of the right things to build a routine that breeds energy, positivity and strength. But if you’re fatigued, may you don’t know how not to be.
More than likely, you are familiar with these very simple steps to increase energy. When you read through them, it sounds like a “how to” for 5 ways to accomplish your ideal self. But these simple how-to’s will hopefully engage you in a new way. Let’s break them down until they mean something.
1. Eat a substantial breakfast.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what does “substantial” even mean? Making breakfast a daily habit allows for a decreased risk of unhealthy weight-gain, reduces hunger, and increases energy through the day. It also helps to jump-start a series of healthy and positive choices for yourself.
What does this mean? It means that when you make it a priority to make the smoothie or scramble those eggs EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO, you will have made the first of many positive choices for that day. When we begin the day by dismissing ourselves and our needs we fall into a pattern of self-dismissal. When you forget about yourself in the small ways, you forget about yourself in the big ones, too.
2) Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
According to the American Psychological Association (2015), nearly 40 million American suffer from sleep disorders. What an outrageous number! Many Americans also over calculate their own sleep because they include the bedtime rituals as part of the sleeping process. And more, during an average night’s sleep, only a portion of that sleep is deep REM sleep. Perhaps your room is too hot, too cold, you have too much on your mind. You have a new-born who is impacting your sleep patterns. Maybe your partner snores. Whatever the case may be, seek solutions! If insomnia is an ongoing symptom, you may also be at risk of major depressive disorder, postpartum blues, dysthymia, SAD or bipolar disorder, just to name a few. (APA, 2015). Psychotherapy and medications are two solid solutions to inadequate sleep. For more about how a lack of sleep can negative impact your quality of life, check out Without Sleep.
3) Engage in physical activity 2-3 days/week
Before you go to the next point because you’re thinking, “No Way. Can’t. Next.” Reconsider with me for a moment: what do I mean by physical activity? I can tell you what I don’t mean. I don’t mean getting up at 5 a.m to run in the cold. I don’t mean joining a CrossFit gym. I don’t mean taking up pole dancing classes. I mean moving. Get up. When you can choose to get up over sitting down, do it!
Try these simple tips provided by the American Heart Association.
- Do not take the stairs for granted. Walk the extra few parking spaces into work.
- Go for a short walk after dinner with the family.
- Pace while you are on the phone
- Ask co-workers to take walking meetings with you.
- Find someone (therapist, personal trainer, or friend) to hold you accountable for your (reasonable!) fitness goals.
4) Eliminate screen time before bed
Did you know that multiple studies have liked screen time to atrophy in gray matter as well as white matter which is responsible for internal communications in the brain? Additionally, screen time can reduce and impair cognitive function and create cravings (Psychology Today, 2014). Over-stimulation weakens one’s ability to achieve optimal rest. Think twice before you pick up that remote!
5) Practice mindful meditation daily
Remember before when we said that ALL of this is done in an effort to breed energy? Mindfulness practice and meditation helps us to envision a life worth living. It was Winston Churchill who said, “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” This practice allows us to approach the world from a more positive disposition. When you awake in the morning, begin by asking yourself, why? If you can begin each day with your why you can begin to conform mundane into a masterpiece, fear into freedom, and fatigue into feisty.
Why sleep is important (APA, 2015). Retrieved from here.
Get Moving: Easy Tips to Get Active (2013). Retrieved from here.
Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain. (2014). Retrieved from here.