Don’t you just hate when you get up just dragging? I know I do. It makes me angry, actually. Because, like you, I don’t have time for it.
But I also know that being angry will just deplete my energy further. Causing a vicious cycle that, well, none of us have time for.
And sometimes when feeling tired, it’s tough to find the motivation to get un-tired. Sometimes you just feel like you’re banging your head against the wall of motivation to begin with, no?
Or is it just me.
At least according to the folks I know well, we’ve all been there. If you haven’t, I’d love to hear from you!
The CDC reported that women were more likely than men to feel very tired, or even exhausted, regularly. Women ages 18-44 were nearly twice as likely as men to feel very tired or exhausted. Interestingly (and I bet we can figure out why!), this gap lessens as we age, and no differences by sex were seen in persons aged 64-74 or those over age 75.
Yes, it’s true. But before we think we’re out of luck, ways exist to get us out of that cycle and back to feeling better.
Of course, we’re starting from the standpoint that nothing physical is wrong with you. We all know getting good sleep, eating right, drinking enough water, etc., are the foundations, so that’s not what I’m talking about, per se. We take those as givens 🙂
So how can we find more energy? Let’s dive in.
- First of all, dissect the problem. This can be as simple as having a lot of lingering to-dos on your list. You know, the toilet keeps running or the sink leaking (which mine is now!).
“A one-time stressful event can impact energy short-term, but it’s all those little nagging unfinished tasks – I call them ‘NUTS’ – that hang around that wear you out over time,” explains Michael Roizen, M.D., author of You: The Owner’s Manual.
Who knew that low-grade chronic stress can cause your body to constantly produce stress hormones, such as cortisol, that increase blood pressure, age your arteries, and weaken your immune system, and age you by 32 years, Roizen’s research shows.
The Solution to this is easy, no? Call the plumber.
But more to the point, take that to-do list, prioritize it, and start crossing off the tasks that are bringing you the most stress.
- Next, examine whether you’re scattering your energies throughout the day.
We hear about this a lot these days, no? How by being “super-connected,” we’re actually just multi-tasking, which we know dramatically decreases productivity.
But a new study at the University of Sussex really hit me between the eyes. The constant interruption of multi-tasking brings on higher levels of stress as well. Apparently, the cognitive overload dulls our brains and reaction times. This study showed that it actually damages our brains! Yikes. They found that people who regularly do so have lower brain density in the area of the brain responsible for empathy, cognitive control, and emotional control.
The Solution is clear, right? Stop the multi-tasking. Take one task at a time and finish it to your best ability. Then go on to something else. The energy rewards are huge. And your brain will certainly thank you!
- But what if you need a quick fix right now? It’s easier than you think.
The Solution: Pop a mint. The aroma of mint ups alertness by stimulating your trigeminal nerve. Which is “the same nerve that’s activated by smelling salts,” says Alan Hirsch, M.D., director of Chicago’s Smell and Taste and Research Foundation.
What I like even better is taking a deep whiff of my peppermint essential oil. The effect truly is immediate. And I’m instantly more energetic.
Another quick fix is to eat a banana. Bananas provide potassium, which is a key mineral to converting blood sugar to energy, says Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
- In case of yes, we have no bananas! Or mints. Or any other ingestible but healthy items, you’re not home to meet the repairman, the phone keeps ringing, emails keep coming in, you’re running ragged . . .
The Solution: Stop. Turn everything off. Lock the door. (I promise, the world won’t go to hell in a handbasket if you take a few minutes.) And do a mini-meditation. Breathe slow and deeply.
Bruce O’Hara, associate professor of biology at the University of Kentucky, said,
“We found that meditation was the only intervention that immediately led to superior performance, even though none of the volunteers were experienced at meditation. Every single student who meditated showed improvement. Why it improves performance, we don’t know.”
It sounds simple. And it is.
- But what if you have a lot of problems staring at you? I don’t mean the plumbing kind here, but those that go to our cores, such as with spouses, children, family, and friends. Or losing weight. Or any those chronic issues that just bug us.
We all have conflicts, no? And those are usually the biggest energy drains of all.
So what’s a person to do?
The Solution: Walk away. No, not from your family! But from the non-decision part of the equation.
If you’re constantly in a push/pull of what to do or not to do, the result of the back and forth is absolutely exhausting. And obsessing about it will drain you to the core. As my friends can tell you, this is a demon I know 🙂
At this point, any decision will release you—even the decision to not make a decision! Sometimes tabling a problem is the best path. And funny thing, you’ll come back to it later with much more energy—and the best solution will rise like cream to the top.
- Quit beating yourself up.
Man, women are just the world champions at this. “If I’da only done this . . .” “If I wouldn’t have done that.” “This is where I failed . . .”
I hear this every day. And while yes, if you miss the mark, dissecting why is a good way to change your behavior in the future.
But only if you come to that understanding, and then stop the self-flaggalation. Just don’t go there.
The Solution: Do your best and let it go. Sing the silly Disney song—it’s a great way to make yourself laugh, and to remember to do just that. And oh, all the energy that’s freed up!
- Assuring energy for tomorrow. How can we best do that?
You know, the funniest thing—I hear from women literally all the time who have had amazing days. Gotten an enormous amount done. Been truly wonderful women in their worlds.
And often, they’re stuck on # 5! But we’ve already dealt with that.
So, what’s the best way to wake up energized?
The Solution: Pat yourself on the back before going to sleep.
In other words, instead of going over that litany of ills from the day, of the things you didn’t get accomplished, of the outrageous to-do list for tomorrow, instead, remember the good deeds you did this day. What you did accomplish (even if it was remaining upright!).
You—even you!—got something good done this day.
Remind yourself of that. Focus on what worked. Give yourself credit for a job well done.
I’m so fond of this anonymous quote: “No one but you knows how hard you work, how many hours you put in the behind the scenes. Rely on yourself for approval, not the outside world.”
These are just a few ways for how to be energetic. I’d love to know what works for you!