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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days

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7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days

How do you deal with low-energy days? We all have our highs and lows, but very often we expect too much from ourselves. Our own standards seem to demand that we are on top of things all day, every day.

Low energy can be the result of working too hard, not putting enough time toward self-care, or going through a period of depression or grief. In order to get through these days, we need to find strategies that work for the situation we find ourselves in and that match our unique personalities. Some people will find that spending time with friends helps to raise energy levels, while others will find that an hour walking alone in the forest is the best remedy.

In order to deal with low energy, you need a combination of short-term relief and long-term strategies to help you deal with these off days. Here are 7 things to help you get started.

1. Be Compassionate With Yourself

Forget about all the things you have not yet achieved or even finished. Stop beating yourself up and being so judgmental, and instead try incorporating positive self-talk into your thought processes.

Let go of the “should” and the “must,” settle in to where you are, and accept that while you may be going through a hard time, that does not make you a bad or unworthy person[1].

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Practicing Self-compassion to improve your energy

    Low energy often occurs when we waste time and energy attacking our own minds, as it can leave you feeling tired. Instead, refocus your energy toward acknowledging the positive things about yourself. This will increase your ability to focus and get your tasks done.

    2. Stop Dwelling on Your Emotions

    In addition to the low energy, there are also feelings of lack of motivation, hurt, resentment, frustration, and anger. We love to talk to ourselves about these emotions in our head. We talk, rationalize, and explain it all to ourselves for the hundredth time, even though it is not helping us get closer to a solution.

    Instead of trying to justify your emotions, take a moment to welcome them into your mind, acknowledge why they have arrived, and treat them with a sense of empathy. This will help you stop wasting energy on going around in circles when confronting difficult emotions.

    Instead, you’ll be able to be frank about what these emotions are saying and how you can overcome them without feelings of anger or resentment.

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    3. Acknowledge That You’re Tired

    Tell yourself that this is going to be a low-energy day instead of fighting it. Many times, when we feel like we are low on energy and motivation, we push through and try to maintain the same routine. Unfortunately, this dwindles our energy reserves even more, which means the low-energy day may turn into a low-energy week or month.

    When you acknowledge that you’re tired and need to boost energy levels, you can take the time to recuperate, which will help you in the long term.

    4. Limit Bad News

    We are surrounded by bad news on all forms of media, from TV to smartphones. It seems that there are endless news stories that cause anger, frustration, and sadness. If you’re experiencing low energy, it’s time to limit the bad news you’re taking in as it will eat away at any positive energy that you have left.

    Instead of watching or reading the news, put on a podcast, make a healthy meal, or do some exercise. Do anything that will help you stop doomscrolling.

    5. Keep an Eye on What You Eat

    Diet plays a huge role in our energy levels. When we have low energy or are experiencing a great deal of stress, we often turn to sugary foods, caffeine, and foods high in fat. This is because the stress hormone cortisol tells the body to take in these kinds of foods[2].

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    When you’re low on energy, consider the following:

    • Ramp up on protein (eggs, cheese) at breakfast.
    • Reduce simple carbs so that blood sugar crashes mid-morning are less frequent.
    • Aim for smaller, frequent mini meals/snacks[3] rather than a large meal. The energy you need to digest a large meal can make you feel very lethargic.
    • Eat fruits like watermelon, bananas, kiwi, and pineapples, which are rich in potassium and magnesium.

    6. Pamper Yourself

    We talked about being kind to yourself, so let us put this into action with one or two of the following:

    • Cuddle up with a relaxing book.
    • Take a long bath or shower to promote relaxation.
    • Go for a walk in a pleasant neighborhood with trees and flowers.
    • Listen to your favorite music, and sing along if you want to.
    • Practice mindfulness by enjoying the smells, sounds, and sights around you.
    • Do some stretches or any physical activity you enjoy.

    Any of these will help raise your energy levels.

    7. Kick That Mood

    Fatigue and bad moods often go hand in hand. Think about why this bad mood is a recurring episode. It could be due to stress or conflicts in relationships and at work. It could be simply that you are overworking.

    Think about how you react to your workload and people at work or close to you. This is often the key to understanding our moods.

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    One of the best ways of lifting your mood in the short-term is to practice gratitude. Do a reality check and repeat the things that you are so blessed to have.

    Final Thoughts

    We all experience low-energy days. The problem arises when these low-energy days become more frequent and begin affecting our quality of life. If you find that your overall energy levels have taken a hit recently and you feel exhausted, it’s time to slow down and see where the problem lies.

    Once you get your energy back up, you’ll be more productive and ready to tackle your next tasks, so get started with one or two of the tips above.

    More Tips on Overcoming Low Energy

    Featured photo credit: Adrian Swancar via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Medium: Practicing Self-compassion
    [2] Harvard Health Publishing: Why stress causes people to overeat
    [3] WebMD: Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy

    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

    10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 12 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder to Be More Productive 10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2021

    7 Daily Stress-Management Rituals that Improve Your Productivity

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    7 Daily Stress-Management Rituals that Improve Your Productivity

    If you’re trying to be as productive as possible, stress will always be your biggest obstacle—and it’s not an easy one to overcome. To do it, you’ll need to develop a plan to make stress management a core component of your daily routine, but doing that takes commitment. The good news is that if you succeed in learning how to manage stress, you’ll unlock your potential and be well on your way to peak performance. But first, you need to learn how to make it happen.

    The best way to do that is to learn about and integrate some stress management rituals into your daily routine. To help you get started, here are seven tips on how to manage stress and improve your productivity.

    1. Give Yourself an Extra Hour in the Morning

    If you were to do some research on some of the world’s most successful—and productive—people, you’d notice that many of them have one thing in common: they tend to be early risers. Apple’s Tim Cook gets out of bed before 4 AM each day.[1] Michelle Obama is already getting in her daily workout at 4:30 AM.[2] Richard Branson gets up at 5:45 AM each day, even when he’s vacationing on his private island.

    There’s a good reason why they all do it—once you reach the point in your day that your work schedule kicks in, you no longer have control of your time. That means you have a limited opportunity every morning to reduce your stress by taking care of the things you need to do without anyone making other demands on your time.

    What’s important about this isn’t the time you get up. The important part is getting up early enough to start your day without feeling rushed. For most people, getting up an hour earlier than you normally would is sufficient. This should give you ample time to complete your morning tasks without having to hurry or fall behind.

    But when you implement this ritual, be careful. Don’t do it at the cost of getting the right amount of sleep each night. If you do, you might increase your stress instead of relieving it. Sticking to a proper sleep schedule and getting enough sleep is, in itself, a critical part of stress management.[3]

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    2. Determine and Review Your Most Important Tasks Each Day

    If there’s one productivity tip that almost all experts agree on, it’s that you should spend some time before bed each night to write down your three most important tasks for the following day. But if you want to maximize that practice and turn it into a stress-buster, you should turn that notion on its head.

    Instead, you should do this as a part of your morning routine. There’s a couple of reasons for this. First, it’s that our always-on, always-connected business world means your priorities can change overnight, literally. You may list your top priorities, go to sleep, and wake up to find them woefully out of date. That means the best time to set your priorities for the day is in the morning. This will keep those priorities up to date and let you think about them before the distractions of the day begin. But don’t stop there. You should take some time before bed each night to review that day’s priorities.

    Ideally, you’ll be able to check them off as accomplished. If not, though, think about what prevented you from getting to them. This is your chance to figure out some of the common daily interruptions that get in your way. Chances are, these also cause some of your stress. So, spend the time before bed game-planning how to remove those interruptions and stressors from your day. If you make this a habit, you’ll be more productive and far less stressed out in no time.

    3. Save Your Emails for Later in the Morning

    Another tip on how to manage stress is to save your emails for later. One of the key causes of stress comes from our inability to cope with the unexpected. If you stop to think about it, what is your most prominent source of near-constant unexpected information every day? You guessed it—it’s your email.

    Now, you can’t simply ignore your email. The only thing you can do about your email is to learn how to manage it most effectively. But no matter what you do, it’s going to remain a source of daily stress and distraction. That’s why you should make a habit out of giving yourself an email-free hour or two at the beginning of each day’s schedule.

    In that time, try to tackle one of your daily priorities and get it taken care of. Your email will still be there when you’re done. And when you do get to it, you’ll do so in a much better frame of mind knowing that you’ve already gotten some real work done before having to deal with anything unexpected. That alone will improve your mood and reduce the amount of stress you’ll feel—no matter what’s waiting for you in your inbox.

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    4. Take a Walk After Email Time

    Since you’ll have to deal with your email sooner or later, there’s no way to completely avoid the stress that will come with it. Although you’ll be in a better frame of mind after putting off your email to get some real work done, you’ll still feel some stress when you get to it. That’s why you should make a post-email walk a part of your daily routine.

    Taking a walk is one of the best ways you can relieve stress. It’s a form of meditation that will put you back into the right condition to be productive, and there’s no better time to do it each day than after taking care of your emails.

    Ideally, you’ll want to take a walk outdoors, and preferably in the most natural setting possible. If you’re in an urban environment, a nearby park will suffice. Studies have demonstrated that walking in such environments for as little as 20 minutes per day leads to an overall reduction in the body’s cortisol level.[4]

    Cortisol, if you’re not aware, is your body’s main stress hormone. It helps regulate your blood pressure, energy levels, and even your sleep cycle. Every time your stress goes up, cortisol production also increases, throwing your body into chaos. So, taking a walk right after dealing with your email will help you to relax, reset, and get ready to be productive for the rest of the day.

    5. Reserve Time to Research and Plan a Vacation

    By now, everybody knows that taking vacations every now and then can improve your productivity and lower your stress level. But did you know that even thinking about a vacation can help you to reduce your stress? It may sound strange, but it’s true.

    A Cornell University study in 2012 found that the anticipation of a positive experience—like a vacation—can reduce stress and make you measurably happier. It logically follows, then, that adding to that anticipation each day can maximize the stress-relieving effects of a vacation.[5]

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    To do it, set aside at least a half-hour each day to research or plan an upcoming vacation. You can read about destinations. You can research airfares. You can even look at places to stay in locations you’re interested in visiting. And if you’ve already got a vacation booked, use the time to take a deep dive into what your destination has to offer.

    This is an especially important daily ritual to observe right now, while the COVID-19 pandemic may be limiting your vacation options. If it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take a trip, the act of planning your next vacation will have a therapeutic effect. With vacation rental bookings still hovering below 50% in most major markets, there’s no doubt that the vast majority of people are in desperate need of their next stress-relieving vacation.[6]

    6. Create a Shutdown Ritual to End Your Day

    Another simple yet effective way to manage stress is to create a shutdown ritual. Just as it’s important to get your day off to a stress-free, unhurried start, you’ll want to do the same when the day is through. It’s because after spending each day in a reactive mode—dealing with the unexpected—you need to get back into a proactive mode to relax.

    Studies have shown that having the perception of control over what you’re going through acts as a buffer against negative stress.[7] In other words, feeling like you can manage even a small chunk of your own time counteracts the stress from the parts of your day when you can’t.

    This also means that your shutdown ritual can be whatever you want it to be. You might write in a journal, get in a quick light workout, or prepare your outfit for the following day. As long as you’re the one in complete control over what you’re doing, anything goes. Just make sure that you include the aforementioned review of your daily priorities somewhere in your routine!

    7. Set a No-Screens Rule to End Your Day

    Even though your shutdown routine is important, there’s one more ritual to include before bedtime that will help you manage stress. Spend the last 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to go to sleep observing a strict no-screens rule. Not only will this give you time to disconnect from the stresses of your day, but it will also allow your body to make a transition into a proper sleep mode.

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    The screens we use—smartphones, tablets, laptops—all emit a wavelength of blue light that disrupts our sleep patterns. It’s the same type of light that our bodies recognize as daytime, so seeing it is like telling your brain that it’s the wrong time to be asleep.[8]

    By eliminating all sources of this type of light before bedtime, you’ll increase your odds of getting restful, deep sleep. And since getting proper sleep is one of the best ways to manage your stress, this is the perfect way for you to end each day.

    Final Thoughts

    Although a totally stress-free lifestyle would lend itself to achieving maximum productivity, not many people will ever manage to live that way. So, the next best thing is to work some or all of these daily stress-busting rituals into your day to minimize the inevitable stress instead. Doing so will put you in the best possible position to succeed. And there’s no better antidote for stress than to make the most out of every day no matter what it has to throw at you.

    More Tips on How to Manage Stress

    Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

    Reference

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