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7 Tips to Function Better When You’re Tired

7 Tips to Function Better When You’re Tired

It seems like there’s an epidemic of sleepiness in the world today. Whether you’re a parent of young kids who don’t sleep well, a frenzied college student, or a person who suffers from insomnia, being tired is really common these days. But a strong cup of coffee isn’t the only way to wake up: the next time you find yourself hitting an afternoon (or morning) slump, try these tips to help you function more effectively when tired.

1. Get Moving

I know it seems counterproductive, but exercise actually can give you a boost of energy. A morning workout can help you get through the first part of your day more easily, as can a workout when your afternoon slump hits instead of an energy drink. Some studies suggest that taking a break from work to exercise will give you a productivity boost that will help counteract the time you spent away from the office.

If you can’t get away for a real workout, just jumping up and down at your desk or doing a little stretching can get your blood flowing enough to make you function better and feel a little more energized.

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What’s more, if you are tired because you’re not sleeping well, regular exercise can help you sleep better. Check out my article on How to Fall Asleep Fast for more on that.

2. Get Some Sun

If you can’t get out into fresh air and sunlight, find some bright light indoors. Either way you’ll get an energy boost, but natural light is better, because increasing your levels of vitamin D—which you’ll do if you step outside for 15 minutes—can make you feel more energetic and less moody and stressed. You could even combine these two tips and take a walk in the sunshine for a double boost of focus and improved energy.

3. Drink Some Water

You might think that drinking coffee is the best way to fuel your brain when you’re not feeling up to working, but water is what your body really needs when you’re tired. Being dehydrated makes your body work harder, which can make you feel even more fatigued. So drink up, and keep drinking so you’ll stay hydrated through hard days.

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While you’re at it, splash a little water on your face or jump in the shower to feel invigorated in a hurry.

4. Eat the Good Stuff

If you’re low on energy most of the time, changing what you eat can make a big difference. Eating breakfast literally fuels your brain so you can start the day with more energy. Likewise, eating every three or four hours and sticking to healthy foods keeps your body fueled properly.

What’s should you? A smallish meal of healthy carbs, some protein—particularly those with healthy fats like Omega 3s, which are great for the brain—and fiber would be the best choice. The fiber helps give you sustained energy as opposed to a high and crash cycle you’d get on if you ate processed foods and sugary drinks for your snacks.

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5. Take Some Deep Breaths

When we’re stressed we tend to breathe more shallowly, which can make us feel tired and sluggish. Pay attention to your breathing and take a minute or two to take some big, deep breaths. Do what the yogis call “belly breathing,” which means you should really see your stomach move out and in as you inhale and exhale. Try inhaling to a count of five, holding your breath for a couple of seconds, and exhaling to a count of five as well. Breathe through your nose and out through your mouth.

For bonus points, visualize a calming scene (or keep a picture of your “happy place” on your desk to look at while you’re breathing) or imagine good energy entering your body as you inhale and stress leaving your body on the exhale.

6. Listen to Some Music

If you can do so where you are, listen to some music that makes you feel good. Even better if you can dance around and literally get your blood pumping. Of course just taking a little mental break and maybe feeling a little silly does wonders for your attitude and can make you feel more energetic as well.

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7. Write it Down and Let it Go

If something in particular is draining your energy and you can’t deal with it right away, write down what’s bothering you. Acknowledge that you can’t deal with the problem right now, or if you can, do so. If it’s something completely beyond your control, recognize that. Then let go of the problem by tearing up what you wrote, sealing it in an envelope and throwing it away. Getting that thing off your mind and your chest will make it easier to focus on what you can do and what you need to be doing, which will make you feel more energetic.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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