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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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