We live in a fast-paced world where everything is quicker and more urgent.
In leadership, in business, and in life, it seems we're always behind: It needed to be done yesterday! It needs to be done now! Why isn't it already done?
Our days are hectic and our nights are busy. We constantly have to be on and available.
Unsurprisingly, the side effects of this constant rush include an epidemic of fatigue. But help is within reach--here are ten simple steps that will help you feel more rested and alert.
1. Take a deep breath. Breathing is our most elemental and immediate need, and when you feel fatigued the first thing you can do is to take a deep breath. Deep breathing helps deliver oxygen to your cells and nutrients to your bloodstream. A few deep breaths can help you become more energized and more relaxed in a few minutes. Consciously breathe and feel the rewards.
2. Get active. Exercise has consistently been linked to improved energy and overall quality of life. When you exercise it improves the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles throughout your body. Just as good driving habits help your car's fuel efficiency, exercise of the body improves the fuel for the brain.
3. Drink plenty of water. Sufficient hydration is a main source of energy for the body. Waiting until you get thirsty to drink is a mistake, because thirst is a sign that your energy is already becoming depleted. Dehydration zaps energy and creates fatigue by reducing your blood volume. When you are dehydrated you feel tired, run down, and weary.
4. Eat small frequent meals. Where energy is the issue, it's better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. Eating smaller meals more regularly will help regulate your blood glucose levels, as well as releasing energy gradually instead of in one big hit.
5. Listen to music. Boredom leads to fatigue, so changing things up can bring a release of energy. Turn up the music, let go and dance, sing along at the top of your lungs. Make it energizing and enjoyable.
6. Speak up and out. When you have something on your mind, speak up. When you have something to say, speak out. Holding in emotions causes fatigue, and sometimes the antidote to fatigue is speaking your mind.
7. Take a power nap. If you cannot get all the sleep you need at night or if you get an afternoon slump, try a quick power nap--no more than 20 minutes--in the middle of the day. It can be a great way to revitalize yourself and boost your energy.
8. Embrace optimism. A negative outlook is a huge energy drain and is often associated with poor levels of productivity. Negative thoughts are exhausting. Turn them loose and gain the energy of positivism.
9. Go to bed earlier. Insufficient sleep presents an enormous energy drain, and science tells us more and more bad side effects of sleep deprivation. Go to bed early enough to get the sleep you need. If you are a workaholic and you ignore the signs of fatigue and keep going and going, it can be extremely stressful and exhausting--and eventually dangerous.
10. Shut down the information overload. Our media culture offers up sensory experiences that don't nourish us even when they seem pleasurable. Too much information can leave you feeling depleted and fatigued. Try shutting down the screens and do something that will nourish your body and spirit. Think of things that make you feel good but have nothing to do with technology.
Fatigue robs us of our skills and judgment. It blinds us to our own creativity. And it seems to strike when we most need to be at our best. Don't wait for the crisis to hit, but use these techniques to put yourself ahead of fatigue now.