The 365 Commitment

Day 167 – 5 Quick Recommendations When Tired

There are days when you just do not feel like taking on the world. On these days, just getting out of bed is hard enough. There is not a lot of content on this subject, and since today I was feeling like this, I thought I would write about it and see if I could uncover some helpful ideas. Keep reading for what I came up with.

The Search for Answers

I read and listen to quite a few blogs, podcasts, and books on various subjects surrounding the art of improving oneself. My bookcase is full of various books, some of them awesome, and some have been collecting dust for many years. Honestly, any one of these authors is good enough, meaning that if you were to implement what they are teaching, you would probably make some serious improvements to your life. However, despite all this good advice, I never read much about what to do when things are just not feeling right. Meaning you hit a low point and everything just feels sluggish. What do you do then?

Facing the Unspoken Challenge

My theory is that self-help gurus do not like to talk about this problem because they deal with this themselves and they are deathly afraid of it. This is the ancient nemesis lurking around every corner and ready to strike. You never know when, it could be over the weekend or on the Wednesday after a long travel day. Everything is fine and then, bam, you wake up in the morning and you are just feeling slow. Nothing comes easy, you are not on fire anymore; in fact, just getting up and going is hard enough. What do you suppose these self-help gurus do in this situation?

Just Gut it Out

I think many use this option. They just, by sheer force of will, make themselves go through their routines and just sweat out the tough days. I suspect this only works some of the time and probably only with a certain type of person, usually the type that were in the Marines and learned to relish an abusive relationship with their daily routine. I think there is an element of this on occasion. Sometimes when you are feeling bad, you just need to push yourself a little harder to get through the initial resistance. Then it gets easier, and it was not as bad as your mind was making it out to be. However, I do not know if I am alone in this, but when things get slow for me, it is usually not just brushing the cobwebs off; it is usually a drastic situation that lasts for a few days. So “soldiering up” may not always be effective. So you are still feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, now what? If gutting it out is not the best option for you, then I have a few recommendations.

Strategies for Sluggish Days

Recommendation #1 – Stick to the Core

The most helpful bit of advice that I follow is to stick to the core, no matter what. Even on the worst of days, and I have quite a few of those, I keep to my core. This is essentially 7 must-do things that I do every day, no matter what. Now, I do not do these 7 things very well, or at the level that I like to do them, but at least I get them done. That way, if all I can do after I am done is to crawl into bed and sleep off my troubles then I know in my heart that I at least did something. I got the core done. This prevents me from slipping from tired to despair. If I can keep up with my basic core routine and the absolute essentials that I have identified, then I know that I am at least maintaining and feel less guilt about being tired for a few days. So if you can do nothing other than wait it out, then my first helpful tip is to stick to the core. However, often I cannot afford to do just the bare minimum. So what tactic can I take when I need more out of myself?

Recommendation #2 – Sleep. I Really Mean It, Sleep.

Do not watch TV. Do not scroll on your electronic device. Do not read. Just go to sleep early for several days. You could be suffering from a lack of sleep or reduced sleep quality which has come to finally hit you hard enough where you cannot function well anymore. Some call this a sleep debt, and I do not know if that is a thing or not, but I definitely know the symptoms. My tactic when this happens is to get as much extra sleep as possible for several days in a row. This is usually by going to bed early. Shut everything down, including the lights, and just sleep for as long as you can. I always get up at the same time, 5 am, but get the extra sleep by hitting the sack earlier than usual. Here is a striking thought: We could be feeling tired because we are tired. So when this symptom comes, perhaps it is best to get in some extra sleep for a few days

and see how that improves the situation. I have noticed that it takes 2 – 3 nights of extra sleep to catch up.

Recommendation #3 – Dehydration

If you are hiking in the desert, you will face the consequences of dehydration rapidly. Those effects will feel much like you do on a day when things are feeling sluggish. You may not think you have a problem, however, when you are home. That is because you are indoors most of the time and you are getting some liquids. However, you may not be getting enough. Your body will make do with what it can pull from various areas of your body. If you continue to run at a deficit, then slowly you will enter into a state of dehydration. That will have disastrous consequences on your ability to stay energized and have access to the stamina that you need to be thriving throughout the day. The statistics on the number of people walking around each day in a state of dehydration are quite staggering. I have heard statistics saying that 75% of the people will experience dehydration in a year, but I think the more realistic statistic is that about 15 – 30% of people are experiencing dehydration right now, and it is the cause of a large percentage of hospital visits. You can feel wiped out, exhausted, and sluggish for one of the most simple reasons – you are dehydrated. When I suspect this, I start drinking more water with electrolytes and do so for 2 – 3 days. It usually takes 3 days of consistent drinking of fluids to recuperate from being in that state. If you feel better after 2 days of drinking lots of fluids, well, you now know the source.

Recommendation #4 – Nutrition

What you are eating is the single largest culprit to how you feel. I know that is not what we want to hear when we are feeling tired. I know when I feel that way, the only thing I think will help me is sugar, usually in the form of chocolate or some near substitute. Quick energy is what my body is craving, and I will have a hard fight to resist. So I have gone through several phases of fasting and low-calorie consumption diets. This requires eating really lean, plain whole foods for a period of time. When finished, I can slowly add regular foods back into my diet. Recently, I was trying one of these diets where I narrowed my diet down to a few basic foods. When I started re-introducing foods, I learned quickly that some cheese products are not good for me. I was feeling great, and then a few days after introducing cheese, I started feeling poorly. It seems to take 2 – 3 days to notice the impact. I also noticed the same thing with spinach leaves. Clearly, there are some foods, for a variety of reasons, may not agree with you. You may need to build up a tolerance, or perhaps they are just not great for you at all. Having too much of something or not enough of something is often a culprit to feeling sluggish and slow. My advice is to cut things out for a few days and see if you start to improve. Also, you may need to add something for a few days to see how that works. The point is that understanding how your diet impacts how you feel is a really important consideration. Often, that sluggish feeling you get is nothing more than the fact that you should not have eaten the 10 slices of pizza last night. So on the day you are feeling really tired, create a quick 3-day plan to clean up your diet and see how that helps you.

Recommendation #5 – Check Your Stress and That Includes Caffeine

I am putting these two together. The reason is that 5 is a good number to end with, and the second is that I am convinced that caffeine and stress are first cousins. Too much caffeine intake and a dependency on caffeine is just not good. If you are feeling wiped out, there is a good chance that you are all out of whack because of your overindulgence in caffeine. I think many people function just fine on a regular routine of caffeine consumption, in moderation. However, no one functions well over a long period of time on an ever-increasing dosage of caffeine throughout the day and the evening. Having said that, I think caffeine artificially signals the brain and body to be in high alert mode. The other thing that does that is our body’s natural reaction to stressful situations. If you are constantly stressed, or constantly artificially creating the stress condition, then you will eventually wear thin. Too much stress over a prolonged period will have a detrimental impact on you. That will manifest physically, and you will feel it. Every muscle will be sore, and you will feel sluggish and wiped out just getting out of bed in the morning. You were designed to handle stress and react quickly. You were not designed to be stressed all the time, constantly. My suggestion is to find the greatest source of stress and deal with it right away and as fast as possible. Reduce stress and watch your fatigue melt away.

The reality is that I am usually feeling fatigued for obvious reasons. I do not want to admit this to myself; I would rather imagine something else is going on when, in reality, a lot of this is self-inflicted by not eating right, not drinking enough water, not sleeping enough, allowing myself to get discouraged, and being way too stressed out. By checking in on these 5 things first, I can avoid a lot of consternation on the topic by getting myself to correct the thing that is causing the greatest impact on my energy level quickly.

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Marjorie Pezzoli
Marjorie Pezzoli
28 days ago

Great advice – stuff I knew, but yet forgot or ignored 🙄🙃🙂 Thank you for the reminder 😊

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