Are you tired of being tired? Do you notice that you’re constantly busy and yet you feel like you’re barely treading water? Have you, at the end of each day, used up every last bit of mental energy you had?
gotten older grown in wisdom and experience, I’ve found myself a bit better able to say “no”. Busy just wasn’t fun anymore. I was tired! Then I got tired of being tired! It dawned on me, as I encouraged colleagues, friends and team members to take time for themselves that I should maybe listen to my own advice.
This is harder than it should be. Why are we so darn hard on ourselves? Why do we push others to take something we won’t take for ourselves?
Experts have been telling us for years that self-care is important.
It’s not all about being productive
As you work on prioritizing your life, both professional and personal, figure out what your brain needs in order to pay attention to what really matters to you. Do this according to your goals and priorities.
If you want to read more on maximising your productivity, read the following post: How to become a productivity master (a step-by-step guide)
You’ll notice that not only do you get more done, but you feel energized and happier.
Many of the tips below involve physical care. Take care of your body, because when your body feels good your whole self feels good. I spend a good portion of my days fighting pain, so I know what I’m talking about!
Here are a few universal things to do:
Get enough sleep
That’s a good one!
If you’re nursing a baby, have toddlers, kids, teenagers or elderly parents living with you – I feel you.
If you’re under stress at work, worried about something, have a partner that tosses & turns or snores like a stuffy grizzly – I feel you.
There are a few things you can do, such as:
- Turn do-not-disturb on at a set time on your phone. This will turn off all notifications except the ones you need and do the blue-light thing. I’ve set mine at 9:30 and only enabled notifications from my kids, who are teens and out way later than me lately. This way I hear it if they’re out and need to get in touch with me.
- Make sure your bedroom and bed are comfy. Get rid of clutter, and of anything that bugs you or nags you to take care of it, like laundry or work. Make sure the room is dark enough and the temperature feels right.
- Don’t drink too much! I’m not talking about just alcohol. Too much water or tea (anything, really!) before bed can be
sooooannoying when you’re just about asleep.
- Eat and exercise early enough so you’re not uncomfortable or still wired by bedtime.
- Do not bring work to bed. Just don’t.
Eat (reasonably) healthy
I’m not asking you to become a model of healthy eating. I’m just saying that you know how you feel when you eat crap all the time, so stop doing it! Eat reasonably healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals. The skipping lunch or breakfast habit you’re developed has to end. It’s not good for you! Overeating is just as bad as skipping a meal.
Notice when you feel weird, off or uncomfortable. Pace yourself! Eat well and eat regularly.
Get some exercise
I’m not asking you to join a gym or to become anything you’re not. Be active. Whatever that means for you. Get up every 30 minutes or so if you sit all day at work. Stretch, walk to the bathroom or around the office. When I’m not giving workshops I work from home, so this means I get up and walk around at home. I might change the bed, or put in a load of laundry.
It’s funny how doing something that spends energy gives us energy.
I like to combine “get exercise” with this one. I love walking outside, no matter the weather. Since I live in Eastern Canada, that’s saying something!
Fresh air + movement = energy!
Even if you live in a big city, go outside and feel energised.
Seriously though, many studies have shown that spending time outside recharges our batteries like nothing else. It doesn’t have to be for a whole weekend! My goal is 30 minutes a day. That’s it. You can do that too, right?
Drink lots of water
I’m not going to quote a study since I’m sure you’ve heard them all. This is a simple reminder: water makes your body feel good, so get enough of it! No other liquid you drink can have the same effect as pure simple water.
I’m usually pretty good with drinking water, but when I notice that I’m slipping I add it to my planner.
Spend time with family and with friends regularly. Volunteer somewhere that supports a cause close to your heart. I believe that making connections with others feeds our souls.
Do something fun, something useful or just hang out and chat.
Being social doesn’t necessarily mean going out and painting the town. I’m an introvert so crowds exhaust me, but I do love hanging out with a few friends or with my family.
If social time doesn’t come naturally or ends up falling to the wayside, schedule it in! Make plans with your people and put it in your planner or on your calendar.
Good ol’ mindset. It counts for so much. Put a positive spin on things, please!
When we’re down on ourselves or feeling negative, we lose all our energy. We also lose all motivation to do anything else! Stress and depression can take hold and everything becomes overwhelming.
Put things into perspective. Generally, when we do that, we discover that things aren’t all that bad, especially in the grand scheme of things.
Think positive and you will feel happier and more content with your life. You’ll not be wasting energy on negative feelings, leaving you more for the good stuff.
Go on, have some fun! Laugh, enjoy yourself. Do something that makes you feel good for no reason other than the fun of it. This plays into your mindset. Fun experiences can change your whole outlook. Try it!
Once again, this is a schedule-it-in kinda thing. Plug it into your schedule and make sure you do it.
Being present means putting all your focus, attention, thoughts and feelings onto whatever you are doing at the moment. Live in the moment.
Be there, with all you are.
This is true mindfulness and it will bring you renewed energy because nothing will interfere with the present. All your energy will be focused on what matters in each moment.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reading the same bedtime story for the umpteenth time, if you’re walking the dog or having a cup of coffee. Try it. Trust me, you’ll notice all kinds of things you didn’t before.