Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fight Fatigue

Is there an energy crisis in your body? Want to know what's causing it?

An article in identifies the top eight causes of fatigue and how to fight back.
What I find especially interesting about this article is that it's not the usual list of energy-busting suspects like: Your job, your kids, over-eating, hover-parenting, consuming nutritionally-void foods and not getting enough sleep.

So, keep reading to find out what else could be secretly sabotaging your energy because, as Vince Lombardi once said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all."

Energy drain #1: Dehydration

This one's easy: Drink more water; at least 8-10 cups per day.

Energy drain #2: Skipping Breakfast

If you've heard this once, you've heard it a million times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Step away from the bagel and cream cheese and honor your body by refueling in the morning with whole grains, protein and fruit for breakfast.

Energy drain #3: Boredom

Interesting. I don't know about you, but I'm never bored. In fact, I view boredom as a luxury. I only wish I had enough time on my hands to be bored.

But, for those of you out there who manage to squeeze a little boredom into your day, just quit it already. Find ways to entertain yourself, challenge yourself and nurture your natural curiosity. In other words, carpe diem! Make plans, right now, to try something new and banish the boredom that's weighing you down.

Energy drain #4: Toxic relationships

Put some distance between you and that person who emanates negative energy. If you must have toxins in your life to feel complete, get them from other sources, say, beer, wine, or liquor. You're guaranteed to have more fun and you won't be bored. (See energy drain #3)

Energy drain #5: Unfinished projects

A-ha! Maybe the last time I felt worn down and tired I'd just walked past the the overflowing basket(s) of laundry in the hall or risked my life climbing over the pile of long-discarded toddler toys in our unfinished basement to find the wrapping paper. Or it could have been spying the dirty dishes in the sink or ignoring the clean ones in the dishwasher waiting to be put away.

Put simply, I don't start new projects because there are countless, mindless little ongoing projects that weigh me down daily.

My survival strategy is to ignore the on-going projects for as long as possible and to simply avoid starting any new projects. Which is why my garden is still not planted and my house is still 70% unpainted. If I get tempted to dive into a new, time-consuming project all I have to do is look at my "organized mess" of an office or the pile of recipes I've clipped and still haven't put into a binder or my children's baby books that are only half finished (my youngest has really gotten gyped!)

Energy drain #6: Gadget overload

Being constantly plugged in is exhausting and creates a false sense of urgency.

No worries for me on this one. For the most part, I hate gadgets. I still have my old flip-top, non-texting cell phone from eons ago. I read real books made of paper. I have only basic television reception with no fancy DVR or on-demand capabilities. Until just a few years ago, I even toted my bright yellow Walkman (yes, walkman!) with cassettes (remember those?) with me while I ran until, one day, I walked into a gym and someone told me it looked like I was carrying a bomb! My husband took mercy on my poor anti-techie soul and bought me an iPod shuffle for Christmas (which, by now, is probably also way outdated but I don't care; my shuffle is one the few gadget I do love, along with my Garmin GPS watch). For the rest of you gadget-geeks out there, for goodness sakes, unplug once in a while. The earth will keep turning.

Energy drain #7: Decision-making

According to Dr. John R. Sharp, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, "Decisions are mental exercises that literally burn calories; you expend energy to make them."

To lessen the mental drain, Sharp recommends making decisions in the morning when energy levels are highest, and to rely on intuition.

"Rational analysis takes the most energy, but intuition takes little," Sharp explains, going on to recommend finding a quiet spot in which to tune into your inner guide and let go of the noise in your rational mind through meditation , yoga or prayer.

Om, I'm totally on-board with this one. Decision-making hasn't always been my strong suit, but it's one I have worked on and believe I've achieved some measure of success. The key was in realizing that the consequences of a "wrong" decision were rarely as dire as I'd feared. Sometimes there is no right or wrong decision, just, simply, a choice and, no matter what you decide, things usually have a way of working themselves out. So, just roll with it. Go with the flow and stop agonizing. Everything will be okay. Really.

Energy drain #8: Living in the past

Supposedly ruminating on the past takes away your ideas about moving forward.

I agree this is true if one is lamenting about negative past events, feelings or experiences.

Otherwise, I believe that reminiscing about good things and happy times can be an uplifting and positive pursuit. We can learn from the past and apply it towards future endeavors. Plus, it never hurts to look back and see how far you've come. Your past is what makes you who you are today and who you will become in the future.

So, go ahead; look back and laugh every now and again. I believe it is good for the soul.

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