Sleep deprivation is not the only circumstance that takes away our vitality. Many seemingly insignificant things we do can lead us to exhaustion both physically and mentally.
Researchers have identified the most common bad habits that make us feel tired and have come up with simple solutions to help us recharge our batteries and increase our level of satisfaction with life. Surely, each of us will find our own “little” sins on this list.
Skipping a workout when you feel a little tired
Many of us succumb to the misconception that we can save some strength if we lighten the load. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia, people with sedentary lifestyles begin to feel a surge of energy just 6 weeks after playing any sport. What’s more, it only takes a 20-minute workout three times a week. Physical exertion increases stamina and endurance, stimulates heart rate, and contributes to more efficient oxygen and nutrient enrichment. So, the next time you don’t find the strength to visit the gym, at least force yourself to take a short walk. You will certainly not regret it.
2. you’re a perfectionist
Perfectionism is worse than fascism, how much truth in that… “The constant pursuit of perfection, which, it should be noted, is impossible, makes us force ourselves to work much harder and longer than necessary. We set for ourselves extremely unrealistic goals, which are very hard to achieve, and sometimes even impossible, so we are unable to feel satisfaction from work”. – notes Irene Levine, Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine of New York University. She recommends changing your approach by limiting the amount of time you work on a project and sticking to a predetermined schedule. You’ll find that the extra hours don’t affect the quality of your work at all, and you’ll have a moment to indulge yourself.
3. you make a needle out of a needle
If every time your boss unexpectedly calls you in, you feel tightness in your throat and expect to be fired, it means that you tend to be dramatic and constantly expect the worst. No wonder anxiety literally paralyzes and mentally exhausts your body. Or maybe all you need to do is change the way you view reality and the next time you feel a surge of negative thoughts, take a deep breath and then ask yourself how likely it is that the worst case scenario will happen. A walk in the fresh air, meditation, exercise and some friendly advice (or a vest) will help you face your fears and teach you to look at things in a more realistic way.
4. not being able to say no
The desire to please everyone around you leads to a waste of your energy. Worse, over time, a sense of resentment and even bitterness can develop against the backdrop of such behavior. Remember, if your child’s coach asks you to bake cookies for the team or your supervisor asks you to come to work on Sunday, it doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to accept it. Learn to say “NO! For the more resistant, psychologist Susan Albers recommends practicing such a situation with the performance of a simple psychological trick. Try saying “no” out loud when you are alone in a room, for example. If you can hear yourself saying the word, you’ll find it much easier to say it when the need arises.
5. work even when you’re on vacation
We live faster and faster, and in fact we work extremely long hours, bring home bulky binders in the hope of finishing a project or a task… And so it goes, day after day, until the long-awaited vacation arrives. Not for everyone, however, this moment is longed-for and sometimes even stressful. Checking your incoming mail instead of relaxing by the pool can rob you of the last of your strength and lead to complete mental exhaustion. During your vacation, try to forget about work and allow yourself a well-deserved rest with a clear conscience. This will enable your brain to work properly and your body to function more efficiently. As a result, you will return to your duties full of enthusiasm and energy. After a successful vacation you will become more creative, productive and efficient.
6. cluttering up your workspace
There’s nothing wrong with taking out your other half on your desk or your mug of still steaming tea. After all, if your computer screen is barely visible from behind a pile of junk mail and reminders, with remnants of your week-old second breakfast scattered here and there, and unspecified organisms moving around in your cup, it’s the ultimate sign that you need to tackle this intricately arranged structure before it becomes a threat to you. Less a sense of aesthetics when that monster can create a serious risk of losing your job. Well, researchers at Princeton University found that a cluttered desk is mentally exhausting, slows down the brain’s ability to process information, and therefore prevents you from focusing on your current tasks. So at the end of the work day, put everything back in its place, take out the dirty dishes, which will help you start the next day with a positive attitude.
7. not eating breakfast
Food – it is the fuel for our body. How many times have we heard this slogan when our parents packed us hated sandwiches in our school bags, which later landed in the school waste garbage can. Now that we’re adults, we can indulge in not only the lack of a second breakfast, but also the first one, and what the heck… Anyway, skipping the first meal, we’ll quickly realize that we’re simply exhausted. In the words of nutritionist Amy Goodson: “Breakfast is the spark that ignites the metabolism. So he recommends whole grain bread, clean proteins and healthy fats. This could be, for example, a fruit smoothie on skimmed milk, oatmeal with peanut butter or yogurt.
8. fast food as the basis of the menu
You’re on the go, you don’t have the time or you just don’t feel like standing at the stove and making up something to eat. In such cases, and probably a few more, reaching for fast, but not very healthy food, is quite justified and even salutary, but when fries, hamburgers with tons of sauce land in your stomach several times a week, or even every day, you should be careful. Products high in sugars and simple carbohydrates have a high glycemic index, which in turn contributes to a significant increase in blood glucose levels. Frequent spikes in this indicator become the cause of fatigue and sluggishness, not to mention weight oscillations. So keep your blood sugar under control and reach for whole grains, fruits or nuts instead.
9. caffeine keeps you alive
What could be better than a cup of stimulating drink to start your day? What’s more, according to studies, we can indulge in up to three a day without compromising our health. Incidentally, caffeine abuse can seriously disturb our sleep because it blocks adenosine, which helps us fall asleep. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine confirmed that even coffee consumed 6 hours before going to bed can negatively affect this process. Therefore, try to finish enjoying this drink after dinner at the latest.
10. drink a glass of wine before going to bed
Some people consume several glasses of wine before going to bed, convinced that this will help them relax. In reality, however, this habit often has the opposite effect. Scientists say that initially alcohol quiets the central nervous system and really has a sedative effect, while eventually it disrupts our sleep. As it assimilates, it leads to a spike in adrenaline, so there is a good chance that you may suddenly wake up in the middle of the night after having a few glasses. To avoid sleep problems, just refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages for at least 3-4 hours before going to bed.
11. checking email at bedtime
More and more of us work late at night or spend our evenings bouncing on the internet, watching movies etc. Unfortunately, it should be remembered that the flickering (blue) light of smartphones, tablets or laptops disturbs the natural circadian rhythm of our bodies, suppressing the level of melatonin, responsible for the cyclic nature of sleep and wakefulness periods. While each person’s susceptibility to light is an individual issue, doctors recommend putting away digital devices at least an hour or two before bedtime. If you can’t go to bed without checking your incoming messages, move the screen at least 35cm away from your eyes.
12. sleep on weekends
If, for example, you go to bed well into the morning on Saturday and then sleep until noon on Sunday, it’s easy to predict that you’ll find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep and get up for work. In this way, a circle of notorious fatigue is set in motion, which sooner or later leads to mental exhaustion. If for some reason you have to or want to spend the night over the weekend, then at least set yourself a reasonable time to wake up. You can always take a post-lunch nap. 20 minutes will help you recover without falling into a deep sleep phase, after which it is usually much harder to wake up.