Where Did My Energy Go?
Not too long ago, a friend told me how tired she was. She was battling fatigue and like most women I know, juggling a lot of things in her life.
I remember thinking, I know how you feel. I always need more energy.
It’s not uncommon to feel fatigue when we have stayed up too late or worked too hard. It’s normal for our bodies to feel tired when we’re overworked or running on too little sleep.
But for women specifically, there is the toll that multitasking takes on us. We run a taxi service for our kids’ events, while working part or full-time. We make healthy (or even not-so-healthy) breakfasts, lunches and dinners, while trying to keep up with all the cleaning and piles of laundry every week (something I am currently failing at!)
Add to that any emotional stress that may be in your life (husband, kids, in-laws, mother, friends) and it’s no wonder you feel exhausted. Emotional stress can run down what is left of your energy reserves.
Something’s gotta give, and that something is your health.
So what’s a girl to do when she faces her own energy crisis? Is there a way to beat fatigue without spending a fortune or moving to a deserted island where you can do nothing but soak up the rays all day?
How I Beat Fatigue
After my son died, I struggled with fatigue. I knew this was primarily due to grief, because grief is not just emotionally tiring, but physically exhausting. And it’s not just a regular kind of tired, but an overwhelming tired-to-the-bone kind of exhaustion that just sucks all your energy and motivation for life. At the beginning stage of grief, I knew I had to ride the wave of fatigue until things got better.
Over time as the grief lessened, I did start feeling better, but I still noticed certain times of day were still hard for me–namely the 3-6 time slot when life seems to hit a boiling point. That time of day is often called the witching hour and for good reason: Everybody is hungry and tired, and yet bedtime is still hours away. The day is mostly done, but the evening is slammed with dinner and cleanup and activities and bedtime routines. It’s a sprint to the end..
So I started researching what I could do to fight back against the fatigue. I knew there had to be a few simple, everyday ways to boost my energy without drinking five cups of coffee a day.
I started taking wise advice from several people whose lives were changed by new health habits. In sticking with these habits over time, they’ve made a huge difference in my energy level.
Although I could give you a much longer list of things that all have helped, these three have helped the most.
3 Health Habits to Boost Energy
This is the one you don’t want to hear about because you already know it’s hard. But don’t scroll past it until you read what I have to say.
I used to be an exercise-hater until a few years ago. I hated pretty much every form of exercise, whether it was group sports, exercise machines, classes or anything that involved running. But I didn’t really have a choice. I had to get back to the gym. Because I had neglected my health while Silas was alive, my health needed some major TLC. So I started to workout with a friend who asked me to take walks and do exercise videos. I expected the results to be slimmer thighs and more toned body, but that’s not where I saw real results. Instead the major result was my energy level and mood. It took a while to achieve but eventually exercise became the one thing that helped me break through my late afternoon fatigue and have more energy for the whole day.
I really didn’t believe that drinking more water would help fatigue. my husband was seeing a vocal teacher who was helping him work through the after effects of a bad cold, which greatly affected his singing voice. Since Sam earns a living through singing this was important. This teacher recommended that he drink a lot more water in general, but especially when he sang. She explained how as we get older, we get drier, and need more to drink to lubricate everything in our body, including our vocal cords. After he started drinking more, the results were phenomenal. He stopped losing his voice when he had colds. He suffered less from vocal fatigue and he felt better.
After seeing his results, I thought, why not give it a try? Although I can’t say I notice the same sort of lift that I get from caffeine, I do notice that when I don’t drink enough water (and am slightly dehydrated) I’m typically more tired. After an hour after drinking a large glass of water, it hits me: I do feel less tired! Now maybe it’s all a mind game , but I’ve done this enough to know that being hydrated has made a difference for me. It’s not a magic energy bullet like coffee, but when you combine exercise with hydration, it has nearly eliminated my late afternoon energy plunge.
Spending Time Alone or With People: The Introvert/Extrovert Strategy
First, you need to know if you’re an introvert who loves her alone time or an extrovert who loves a party, because this is key in determining whether people give you energy or drain you. I’m an introvert and always feel refreshed if I’ve spent some time by myself.
Spending time writing, thinking or praying is a definite energy booster and when I don’t get time alone, I’m usually one tired mama. Even 15 minutes alone makes a huge difference for me.
So what makes a difference in your energy level during the day? Any good habits that are energy-boosters for you?