When you bump into an acquaintance, the answer to their "how are you?" must always be on the scale of "fine" to "freaking fantastic." That's just the unwritten social rule. The truth for me right now, though, is more like, "I feel like a soggy, soapy washcloth left at the bottom of the tub." I'm drained--and it's only the morning. And as I'm sure you know, when you're feeling wrung out and tired, it's not particularly easy to jump up and improve the situation.

So, what can you do to get some energy back so you can get back into your groove? If tired isn't your normal morning state--and you don't want it to become your default--you have to take some action.

Here's my list in order of tiniest action to heftier lift. The idea is that if you can do the first one, you can do the second one. Build momentum as you go, and the items toward the bottom of the list won't seem so impossible.

  1. Get a cup of coffee. Stimulants work. I love black coffee. If you don't drink coffee, fine. Fill the biggest glass you have in your house with water and drink 2 of them. There is some science behind why water effectively boosts your energy. There's apparently more to it then just making you get up to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes.

  2. Do 10 pushups. I like pushups because they require a couple major muscle groups to work. Doing something like jumping jacks or sun salutations would work, as well. The idea is to make your body do a little cardio that, oddly, generates a bump of energy.

  3. Vow to stay off social media--at least until lunch. What seems so simple and innocuous is incredibly draining. Just scrolling through your Facebook feed is an emotional rollercoaster of bad news, cute baby photos, political rants, and mindless chatter. There's no way to stay on task when you have that endless feed open.

  4. Make a list. Not a list of the things you need to do--right now, that'd be too much. Instead, make a list of all the things you completed yesterday. Reflect for one minute on everything you got accomplished without feeling frustrated, incompetent, or overwhelmed with what's on your plate today.

  5. Now, knock two quick and easy items off your list for the day. These should each take one minute or less. We're not moving mountains yet--just trying to get a little steam building. Once those small things are done, you'll feel better about yourself and more able to tackle the bigger items.

  6. Next, think forward to your day. Of the many things you have to do, if you could only do 3 what would they be? Write those down. That's all that's allowed on your "to do" list today. Seriously. Focus on those 3 things.

  7. Last, look at your calendar. Is it packed with obligations and appointments? My guess is that there is little or no "you" time built-in. This is the single greatest cause of energy drain for me. When I'm feeling down, it's usually because I've spent too many days in a row focused on other people's priorities. Mine are feeling neglected. Find a minimum of 15 minutes in your day to further one of your personal or business goals. Use this time to work out, network, write, reflect, plan, prepare, learn, or anything else that's just for you.

Feeling drained is relatable. It's also relative. When your normal energy level is out of whack, you just don't feel like yourself. You want to get back to being "you" as quickly as possible. Having a go-to list of actions helps you build some momentum in your day and get back to normal--or perhaps even better than normal.

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Published on: Feb 28, 2018