One of the toughest parts about being an adult is dealing with constant exhaustion. There are the obvious reasons we’re perpetually tired — for starters, we’re all stressed and sleep-deprived — but in addition to some of the more obvious reasons, some of our more mindless habits may also be adding to our exhaustion in ways that we don’t even realise. These are a few of the unexpected ways that we wear ourselves down, and how you might avoid them.
Watching emotionally charged TV
High-intensity emotions — even the good ones — can wear us out, which can contribute to mental exhaustion and burnout if we’re already on the edge. Although many of us do recognise how tiring high-intensity emotions can be, we may not think about them in the context of the entertainment we consume, but we should. The next time you start reading a cliff-hanger or watching an intense new show, take a moment to think about whether you have the mental energy for it. If you do, great, binge away; if not, it can wait.
Being in a cluttered environment
Clutter can drain your energy, whether it’s working at a messy desk or sleeping in a messy room. All of the out-of-place items can pile up in your mental to-do list, not to mention you just can’t find what you need when you need it, which adds to an already-exhausting day. If you have a few minutes to clean up your desk in the morning, it can help you feel better throughout the rest of the day.
Having too many unfinished tasks
Having too many undone tasks is the mental equivalent of clutter. They’re the dozens of tiny things that distract you, draining your energy throughout the day until you get them done. If the tasks are small enough, try and get them out of the way. If there are just too many of them, you can also consider declaring a “to-do list bankruptcy” and wiping the slate clean.
Then, when you start over again, be mindful of priorities. Some to-do list items are important, some are moderately so, and some just aren’t worth your time. When you go to write out your to-do list, take a few moments to make sure they’re necessary.
Skipping your workout
When you’re exhausted, it’s all too easy to skip your workout. But although it might feel like the right decision in the moment, going ahead with your workout often helps improve your overall energy.
If you’re debating skipping your workout because you’re too tired, be sure to ask yourself what the impact of your decisions will be, both on your day, as well as your long-term goals. Chances are, you’ll be glad you made the extra effort to work out.
Having too many open tabs on your computer
When we have too many things on our mind, it can cause our brains to go into overdrive. And although all those open tabs may not feel like much, they’re still at the back of our mind, taking up extra energy that a lot of us just don’t have.
As Rana Mafee, a neurologist at Case Integrative Health told HuffPost, “Bouncing from tab to tab gives your ego the misconception you’re getting an incredible amount of work done. In reality, you’re not fully processing anything you’re trying to efficiently consume.”
If you tend to keep a lot of unnecessary tabs open, try to make it a habit to close the ones you’re not currently using. You already have enough on your mind, don’t let all of those extra tabs drain you even further.
Poor posture has the effect of putting extra stress and tension on parts of our body that weren’t designed for it. This can build up over time, causing fatigue and other issues like headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and poor circulation. The next time you find yourself slouching at your desk, be sure to sit up straight. Turns out your mother was right after all.
Having a glass of wine just before bed
Although having a drink just before bed may feel relaxing, alcohol actually makes it harder to fall asleep, and also makes what sleep we do get even less restful. In order to avoid disrupting your sleep, try to avoid drinking alcohol at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Sitting all day
Sitting all day has the effect of making us feel tired. It contributes to mental exhaustion, but you can counteract it with the obvious solution of moving a little more regularly throughout the day — whether that’s just stretching, going for a short walk, or fitting in a quick lunchtime workout.
If you work at home, but have an employer that still micromanages you, can we suggest these strategies for fooling your employer (and your computer) into thinking you are still working, even if you’ve actually gone for a walk? After all, if you’re getting all your work done, it’s nobody’s business what you do with your remaining time.
Spending too much time indoors
Going outside for fresh air and sunshine helps improve our mood and boost our energy levels. But when our days are spent shuttling from our cars to our offices and back again, getting outside can be tough. If you find yourself exhausted during the day, one way to counteract your fatigue is to head outside, even if just for a few minutes, in order to gain back a little energy. If you have the option, it can also help to open the window shades to let in some sunshine.