Fatigue

Have you felt tired, extremely tired and left with no energy to get up and move about. How do you get yourself out of it? Sharing some tips that have worked for me over years.

How do experts define “Fatigue”

Fatigue is a term used to describe an overall feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. It isn’t the same as simply feeling drowsy or sleepy. When you’re fatigued, you have no motivation and no energy. Being sleepy may be a symptom of fatigue

When one is constantly working on something, they figure out efficient ways of doing it and pile on more stuff into their things to do. For example, someone who cooks meals every day, knows when they have some time while cooking the meal and fit in other chores like loading the dishwasher, clearing the refrigerator, cleaning the countertops, washing and storing vegetables etc. Efficiency starts driving the thought process. On the work front, we do not realize when we need to say No, and end up taking up more and more work. Be it small tasks or activities and not necessarily huge projects, they still need to get done and it adds into our time.

Now, work and cooking are only some part of our daily chores. Imagine we keep taking in more and more work into every part of our life and keep pushing ourselves, just a little bit – every day, in all the activities, we would have become someone who multitasks effectively and efficiently, can get much more done compared to our peers, feel the world on our shoulders in the zones we are operating or supporting and it gives us a sense of satisfaction and pride.

We might not be doing it for any kind of appreciation from anyone else.

However, there will come a day, when one of the activities gets dropped or spills over, or gets left undone – be it work, or lunch, or home chores, or anything. Although your body and mind would have been feeling tired, that day you will feel exhausted, fatigue sets in and you start feeling it. That day, the feelings that would cross your mind would any of the below

  • Wish I had asked for help
  • Wish I did not take up so many activities
  • Wish I had left some time for myself
  • What am I doing? Why?
  • Whom am I trying to please?
  • Can I ever get out of this mess I have set myself up in?
  • What went wrong? Why?
  • Did no one ever notice I was doing all these …………..
  • and many more such questions…

Some tips that have helped me get out of Fatigue are as below:

  1. Sleep – Like you have never slept before. Any work can wait.
    1. Take time off from office work, or use your weekends and have the family order food if need be
    2. Get a support system or baby sitter to help take care of children if need be
    3. I ended up sleeping for 16-20 hours straight for 2-3 weeks to get out of my zone! There is no right answer on how much sleep you need.. let your body drive you to the answer and learn to listen to it! It makes a big difference!
  2. Activities – Share your list of things you do with someone
    1. Chop off tall orders that have less return on investment of your time
    2. Make sure there is someone at work or home who knows all the stuff you are doing and understands the effort you are putting in. It makes a BIG difference from a motivation standpoint
  3. Dispensable – Understand and realize that the world will not fall apart if you are not doing one of those tasks in your list
    1. And if it does, you need not be the only one working on it. Seek help from others around
  4. Time for yourself – Do you have items on the list that you do just-for-yourself?
    1. Revisit your daily chores and activities to see how you can build time for yourself into it. You need to be a priority for yourself as well. Maybe now is the time to start!
  5. Self healing – Eating, Sleeping and being well rested – helps your body get into the self-recovery mode
    1. Ensure you have time and a support system for this

Once you start sleeping and getting good rest, you will not want to get out of bed and lethargy sets in. At that juncture, you need motivation to get out of bed and get back into doing stuff.

  1. Set one goal (just one – dont have to overdo it by setting up a full day 24 hour plan for yourself) 🙂
    1. Key is to keep is simple, doable and slowly increase it over a period of time
    2. Plan for 15 minutes activities – time box it and set an alarm.
      1. Write 5 things you would want to do that day and put it up on your refrigerator. Every time you get up – set a 15 minute timer and get something done
      2. You can increase this over a period of time
  2. Buddy up – Compete with another person – physically or virtually on some goal
    1. Making a meal, studying a subject, completing 1 homework topic, cleaning one place
    2. Make sure you share your progress with your buddy
    3. Some days you might win and some days you might not – but you would be getting back into the mode of being motivated to do something that day and the next and so on
  3. Revisit and re-plan your daily routine
    1. Plan time for yourself – Something that makes you happy (not for your friends or family – but for yourself)
    2. Do not make the same mistake and load yourself up again.. else, the loop will only continue!
  4. Learning to let-go is a big part of getting out of fatigue
    1. Accept that people around you want to see a happy-you, than a perfect-you 🙂
    2. If people around you expect a perfect-you, for which you need to be ending up feeling fatigued, think about whether you are in the right circle or should you expand your circle of influence!

Physical fatigue – Body needs rest and sleep. Eat proper meals and get good rest. Drink plenty of water and fluids. Electrolytes or Gatorade helps. Introduce short stretches of physical activity while getting back to form a new routine.

Mental fatigue – Mind needs rest and sleep. Watch a different genre of movies or read a different genre of books to get out of the normal routine. Laughter acts as a very good medicine. Increase your endorphins in your body through meditation, prayer, comedy movies/books and a walk in nature. Revisit your task list. Talk to a friend or someone who can help you revisit your daily routine.

While there are many medical reasons for fatigue, and you might be working with your physician for the same, taking these measures above help you in the path to self-healing and recovery!

Find something worth getting excited about every day, even if it is only the fact that you are waking up to a new sunrise!

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