Always feeling fatigued? A lack of sleep isn’t the only thing that can drain your energy. Little habits you do – and don’t do – can wear you down mentally and physically, making you a zombie throughout the work day.
Experts revealed the bad habits they commonly encounter, and the adjustments that can be made if you’re sapping your energy though one of the things on the list.
Skipping Exercise When You’re Tired
Skipping your workout because you’re tired seems logical – but it actually works against you. Even exercising for as little as 20 minutes a day, three times a week, will have you feeling energized after just six weeks.
Strength and endurance improves with regular exercise, improving your cardiovascular system’s efficiency. Physical activity gets oxygen and nutrients to tissues, revitalizing your system. So if you’re feeling extra tired, opt for a brisk walk over lying on the couch – you’ll feel a lot better.
You Stay Up Late on Weekends
It’s the weekend special: stay up late Saturday, enjoying as much free time as you can, then having a godly sleep-in Sunday morning. That’s well and good at the time, but when Monday rolls around, that sleep schedule is especially punishing.
Dr. Towfigh suggests waking up near your usual get-up time (even if you stay up late Saturday), and throwing in a nap in the afternoon.
“Napping for 20 minutes or so allows the body to recharge without entering the deeper stages of sleep, which can cause you to wake up more tired,” he says.
You Have Trouble Saying ‘No’
Making others happy comes with the expense of your own (plus energy exhausted). Not to mention the built up anger and resentment over time, which is a detriment to your mental health.
Train yourself to say ‘no’ to menial things, and you’ll be happier overall. The best way to start is saying it out loud, explained Susan Albers, a licensed clinical psychologist with Cleveland Clinic.
“Try it alone in your car,” she says. “Hearing yourself say the word aloud makes it easier to say it when the next opportunity calls for it.”
You Live on Junk Food
Junk food is loaded with sugar and simple carbs, ranking it high on the glycemic index. The index scales how rapidly carbs increase blood sugar, and when you eat junk food, there’s a large spike in blood sugar. Constant spikes throughout the day eventually results in fatigue.
You can keep your blood sugar steady by having a lean protein along with a whole grain at every meal. Ideas you can try include baked chicken with brown rice, salmon and sweet potatoes, or salad with chicken and fruit.
You’re a Perfectionist
Striving towards perfection – which let’s be serious, is impossible – makes your work much harder and longer than you really need to.
“You set goals that are so unrealistic that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, and in the end, there is no sense of self-satisfaction” says Irene S. Levine, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.
Levine’s solution to perfectionists is allotting a time frame for your extracurricular projects; always stop when time’s done. You’ll realize all the extra time you would’ve put into the project wasn’t actually improving anything.