Everyone is familiar with feeling exhausted. We all have those days when no matter what exciting day we have planned, we just can’t psych ourselves up enough to go. Seemingly these days come without warning and stay longer than they are welcome. What you’re experiencing is a lack of “get up and go” for many of the things that would usually energize you.
This is what we call a low-grade energy drain. Oftentimes people who go through this drain do not necessarily feel the typical signs of exhaustion such as aching and weak muscles or dizziness. Instead you face issues like having more difficulty trying to focus on tasks, your patience growing thinner, and become easily frustrated especially when the tasks are seemingly simple. If this is starting to sound all too familiar, don't fret. There are plenty of things around us that can drain our energy and it’s not your fault. There is good news, there is a way around almost all of them, both the obvious and the more hidden.
When low energy hits you, candy bars, cups of coffee, and energy drinks are just a short term fix. Not to mention these methods of regaining energy are very unhealthy for your body in the long run. The sugar and caffeine may give you an immediate burst of newfound vigor, but after that initial high wears off, you will crash feeling even more tired than before.
What you need is a long term, lasting solution to keep lethargy at bay. We have compiled some of the best fatigue fighters that can bolster our energy reserves and leave you feeling revitalized and ready to take on anything on a more consistent basis.
Water is the universal life giver, playing an important role for every living thing on planet Earth. So it’s no surprise that water can help you lead a healthier, more refreshed lifestyle. We all learned it in grade school science class. Our bodies are made up of around 70% water. That's almost three fourths of your entire being! With water comprising so much of your body, it makes sense that staying hydrated is essential to being healthy. It might not seem too serious day to day but being dehydrated has more effect on your body than you would think.
During the day you lose a lot of water to urine, sweat and other natural body processes. But many of us don't drink enough water in a day to compensate for these losses. This leads to dehydration in many people which can leave them feeling drained and fatigued. Dehydration has a direct effect on your brain function, mood, and especially energy levels. One study demonstrated that men who lost 1-2 percent of their body fluid had a significantly poorer working memory function and developed increased feelings of fatigue and anxiety. It is important to note that a loss of 1 percent body fluid typically only occurs in individuals who sweat quite frequently, but the proof of the effect is still sound.
Now we're not saying you should be walking around with gallon jugs full of water every day, but you really do want to drink enough water to keep yourself well hydrated. While it may seem painfully obvious, a really good way to make sure you’re adequately hydrated is by making it a point to drink some water every time you feel thirsty. For those of you who are older, you may not always feel thirsty even when you need to drink, so a more conscious effort is needed. Try to walk to the water cooler for a refill every few hours. The walk there can also help wake you up.
You know you're well hydrated when you no longer feel thirsty and your urine is relatively light colored. All in all, if you feel tired and don’t think you are drinking enough H2O, try drinking some regularly throughout the day to stay hydrated. The results might surprise you.
Don’t Skip a Balanced Breakfast
It’s not called the most important meal of the day for nothing. People who eat breakfast everyday report notably less stress and less fatigue overall than those who choose to skip it. Some good choices to munch on in the morning are foods like hot oatmeal, avocados, and veggie smoothies with added peanut butter. The idea is that eating a mix of complex carbs, healthy fats, proteins, and high-fiber foods ensure that your energy is released slowly as your day goes on. This slow-release on your morning energy will keep you going much longer than a high sugar sweet pastry. While a breakfast full of simple carbs would give you a faster burst of energy in the morning, it will ultimately set you up for a crash. A more balanced approach will help keep you more alert and focused until lunchtime.
There really is no better time to pay attention to nutritional balance than first thing in the morning. Not only will it prevent you from getting hungry as the day wears on, but it will also help set the tone for the day. One healthy decision in the morning can lead to another which can only benefit you even further. Making a habit of eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast in the morning can be your gateway to leading a healthy eating lifestyle. If that sounds like a lifestyle change you would like to make, here’s an article dedicated on the subject.
Get More Sleep
Another seemingly obvious tip, but one often written off. Sleep is something that is usually one of the first things to go when you get really busy. From pushing past our bedtime in order to meet some deadlines to missing precious Z’s working overtime for some extra cash, plenty of people are missing out on hours that should be spent in our comfy beds.
It's estimated that around one in four people experience poor sleep. That's an upsettingly large portion of the general population missing out on vital rest time. This lack of sleep results in many feeling constantly lethargic, grumpy, and tired. If this sounds familiar to you, you may want to consider whether or not you are getting enough sleep.
Even if you think you’ve cracked the code on sleeping, getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep is not scientist approved. While yes there are those who say they can work on 4 hours of sleep a night, it doesn’t mean that you can or should do that. A panel of sleep experts have reviewed countless studies and have reached a consensus that, “seven hours is the recommended minimum an adult needs for optimal cognitive, emotional, and physical health. While some people may need a little more or a little less, basically seven hours is now the goal.
Look Away From the Screen
In this digital age, it's near impossible to escape our screens unless you go full survivor mode and live in the woods. As the majority of us are not at a Bear Grylls level of resourcefulness, odds are you're looking at a computer screen for a good part of the day. The problem is when you're staring at a computer all day, you blink almost half as frequently. Does this matter? Yes it does, and here's why. Staring at a computer screen all day causes eye fatigue, which leads to headaches, dizziness, and exhaustion overall.
A good remedy for this is to follow a rule of 20: Every 20 minutes, stare at a spot 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is a little hack to refresh your eyes, and therefore your body. Another good tip is to make sure your face is at least 20 inches away from your face. Grab a ruler, you’ll thank us later.
Sniff Some Spice
There are those that say a whiff of just the right scent can help reduce fatigue and perk you back up to a higher energy level. To get a jolt of alertness when you need it, grab a stick of cinnamon and take a deep breath of it in. Ok we understand that sticks of cinnamon aren't the most readily available, so peppermint works just as well. Its sweet aroma is another fatigue reducer that reportedly works!
It's not a stretch to say that people with very busy lives feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. This is significant because emotions induced by stress consume huge amounts of energy. Feelings of stress can lead to you struggling to concentrate and experiencing racing thoughts that you can't turn off. Over time this will all take a toll on your physical and mental health as feeling constantly stressed is often linked to tiredness.
In many cases, it's not completely possible to remove the sources of stress from your life. But with a little bit of effort, you can work to minimize lifestyle related stresses which will in turn increase your energy level.
There are also things you can do to mitigate the effects of stress. Talking with a trusted friend or relative, joining a support group, or even just taking a day to yourself can help diffuse the stress in your life. For a more in-depth guide, check out this article on self care. It's important to note that if none of these help, and your stress and anxiety is severe, you may need to seek professional psychological support.