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A Follow-Up To “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life”

A Follow-Up To “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life”

A Follow-up to "Change the Way You See Work"

    I’ve received so many e-mails and comments about my “Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life” article that I decided to write a follow-up article to talk more about the specifics of what some call “non-traditional work” but what I call “business in blue jeans”: why do it, how can you do it, and how can it transform your life? You’ll find a few more nuts and bolts here.

    Why Do It?

    I believe in a life that’s filled with four things: love, joy, passion, and freedom. If your life doesn’t have all four of these things in it, I think something needs to change!

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    First and foremost, I believe you should love what you do. Confucious said, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Thomas Edison said, “I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.” Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” So first, love what you do, be passionate about sharing it with others, and success will come.

    Second, I believe that work doesn’t have to consume the majority of your day. If you’re working in the corporate world, you’re spending at least eight hours a day at work, but often more. Figure you’re sleeping seven or eight hours at night, then spending an hour each on things like commuting, household chores, getting ready to leave the house in the morning, exercising, and by the end of the day, you’re lucky if you’ve got three or four hours left for eating meals, enjoying your family, relaxing — and how much of that time do you spend watching TV? I just don’t think this is how life has to be.

    Third, I believe that work is what makes the rest of life possible. I love what I do — I’m deeply passionate about helping people design their lives and create a business that makes that life possible. But I’m also deeply passionate about experiencing all that life has to offer. I spend time reading so I can learn about new things. I try new hobbies all the time. I bake bread, I garden, I travel the world. And I do this because my work makes those things possible… because I’ve designed it that way. I determined what I wanted my life to look like and then I designed a business that would support that life. And you can, too.

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    So let’s get down to some nuts and bolts stuff.

    How Can You Do It?

    I’m going to put this on the table right now: the lifestyle I describe isn’t for everyone. Working in this fashion requires a certain skill set and a specific mindset. Virtually anyone can learn the skills needed. We’re talking things like self-discipline and a strong work ethic (yes, really!). But not everyone can manage the mindset. Some people feel very guilty when everyone they know is working and they’re not. Some people have been raised to believe in a very specific type of work and anything outside that is “wrong.” And some people are still operating in a mindset that’s focused on a lack of self-worth. These are hard to change. But if you can be open-minded and allow yourself to truly own your life and believe that you are worth it and you deserve it, this kind of lifestyle might be for you.

    I’ve received a lot of e-mail from people saying, “That’s great for YOU, but I can’t just go freelance and not work full-time.” Well, that’s probably true. But since I’m not talking about “going freelance,” it’s also probably not very relevant.

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    First of all, I’m not talking about NOT working. Sometimes I work a very full week. Sometimes I work more than I would ever work in a corporate setting. This is especially true when I’m working with a client to set up a new venture. You almost always work harder in the beginning when you’re building your brand and gaining visibility than you do once you’re more established. For example, I work far less now than I did when I first started. Some days I just work for a few hours and I can take vacations when I want, knowing my business will continue to run. But the point is, you love what you do, so when you are working a lot of hours, you actually enjoy it.

    Second, this isn’t taking what you do in a corporate setting and transplanting it to home. Do that and you’ll work just as hard as you did before. Instead, this type of business is centered around taking what you know and love, turning it into a system, and then finding ways to present that system to others.

    For example, say you’re a writer. You’re passionate about writing, you’re good at it, and you know how to get freelance writing gigs. In my system, you’d do freelance writing, sure, but you’d also figure out the steps you use to make a living as a writer, turn that into a system and share that system with others in a variety of ways (and of course you’d market to writers looking for gigs that didn’t necessarily compete with the kind of gigs you seek). This is just one example of where you could start. You’d also add a few other types of streams of income as well, all of which would also be similarly passive (what I call “passive(ish)”).

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    At first, building any business takes time as you get everything set up and start your marketing process. But over time, this type of “business in blue jeans” can grow into a serious, passive(ish) business, especially if you utilize outsourcing to its best postential. You get to do what you love, help others, and experience a great deal of freedom.

    How Can This Transform Your Life?

    From the start, if you’re doing work you love, your life will be transformed just by that alone. But beyond that, as you build this style of business, you also free up your time to experience the richness of life. How many times have you gone to work when it’s still dark out, worked inside all day, then left after dark, never once seeing the sunlight that day? How many times have you thought about things you’d like to do but don’t have the time for? How tired are you at the end of the day, after working under flourescent lights? How crushed is your spirit after working in a tiny cubicle?

    Now imagine how alive you’d feel if you could work in the sunlight, or if you could choose and design any workspace you wanted? How alive would you feel if you knew you could work from a cafe in Paris or a bar in Spain? What if you could just relax at home, in front of a cozy fire and work while the bread you made that morning baked in the oven, filling the house with its heavenly scent (that was my day yesterday)?

    Just imagine your dream life. Imagine every possibility- what you could do if you had more time, if you had more flexibility. Imagine what each day would look like if you could design it especially for you. You’d have more time to spend with your family. You’d have more energy to give to your work AND your family.

    The point I’m making, the point I’m almost always making, is that your life belongs to you. You really do get to choose if you want to work for someone else. You get to choose where you work and when. Most of us just don’t believe it because we can’t see “how.” But this is your life and you can choose. Whether or not you actually do, well, that’s up to you.

    More by this author

    Susan Baroncini-Moe

    Susan Baroncini-Moe is an executive coach and business leader with over sixteen years’ experience.

    How to Find Your Entrepreneurial Passion and Purpose How to Hire A Web Design Firm Are You Having A Scarcity Conversation? 5 Topics To Address When Talking With Your Partner About Starting A Business How to Stay Motivated and On-Track When You’re Struggling

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    Last Updated on November 12, 2020

    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

    Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

    If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

    If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

    In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

    What Happens When You’re Too Tired

    If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

    Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

    • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
    • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
    • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
    • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
    • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
    • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
    • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

    Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

    Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

    Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

    1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
    2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
    3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

    The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

    Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

    You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

    Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

    If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

    Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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    Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

    Symptoms of fatigue include:

    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Low stamina
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Anxiety
    • Low motivation

    These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

    Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

    How Much Sleep Is Enough?

    The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

    Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

    Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

      The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

      Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

      Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

      If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

      It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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      4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

      Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

      1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
      2. Exercising regularly
      3. Using stressbusters
      4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

      After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

      I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

      Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

      • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
      • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
      • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
      • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

      The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

      Living Healthy

      Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

      In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

      As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

      Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

      1. Unplug

      Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

      Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

      2. Unwind

      Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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      3. Get Comfortable

      Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

      Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

      Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

      This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

      Exercise

      Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

      That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

      I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

      If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

      Attitude

      Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

      When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

      But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

      Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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      1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
      2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
      3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
      4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
      5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
      6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

      This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

      When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

      Nutrition

      Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

      If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

      Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

      Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

      1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
      2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
      3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
      4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
      5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
      6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
      7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
      8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
      9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

      Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

      That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

      Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

      The Bottom Line

      If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

      If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

      Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

      More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

      Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
      [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
      [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
      [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
      [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
      [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
      [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
      [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
      [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
      [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
      [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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