Fighting Fatigue

head down

Lately, I’ve had a real lack of energy. I just feel tired and no amount of sleep seems to help. Fatigue can normally be traced to one or more of your habits or routine. In my case, I think it’s work stress and the increase in exercise I’ve been doing lately. I’m assuming my body will get used to the extra exercise eventually (even though it has been a month already!!), but there’s not much I can do about the psychological fatigue from work stress. Research is research after all. I’m sick of dragging myself around, so I’m looking for ways to help myself. Here are the tips I’ve come across to reduce fatigue.

  1. Drink Water. Dehydration zaps energy, compromises physical performance and decreases alertness and concentration. I think I drink enough when I am working from home, but not at work. At work, I’m busy, I just don’t think about it. I also hate public bathrooms. If I were drinking the right amount at work, I’d have to make a lot more trips to the bathroom…yuck!
  2. Limit Caffeine. One to two caffeinated drinks boosts energy while excessive consumption leads to anxiety, irritability and reduced performance. I’m usually pretty good at this. I have one or two coffees in the morning and switch to decaf if I decide I want one in the afternoon. I wish caffeine information for coffee was more readily available. I guess in the end, I have no idea how much I’m really having.
  3. Don’t skip meals. especially breakfast. I like food too much to skip meals, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. The brain and body relies on glucose for fuel. If you don’t eat, the body has no fuel. Breakfast is especially important because you’ve been fasting all night.
  4. Don’t eat large meals. Large meals take a lot of energy to digest. It’s better to keep blood sugar levels even and not waste energy on digestion.
  5. Go to bed early. The leading cause of fatigue is lack of sleep. I don’t think I fall into the majority. I go to bed ridiculously early. If you are part of the majority, napping can help. A ten minute nap plus a cup of coffee is recommended to boost energy. A nap longer than 30 minutes is no good though, that could interfere with sleep at night.
  6. Avoid sleeping pills. I take the drowsy-type Gravols once and a while, but not real sleeping pills. I know they are only a temporary solutions.
  7. Don’t smoke. The carbon monoxide decreases the amount of oxygen circulating in the body. Less oxygen means less energy.
  8. Increase physical activity. Check!

For the most part, I’m already doing these things. So why am I still exhausted?! Maybe I need to find some more abstract ways to get around my problem. Here are some of the new tricks I’m going to try. They probably wont kill the fatiguw, but they’ll wake me up more when I need it.

  1. Mint. It’s supposed to invigorating, so I’ve bought myself some mint lip gloss. Let’s see if this works.
  2. Cold Water. There are a lot of nerve endings in your wrists, so if you run cold water over them, it should wake you up. Same goes for your face.
  3. Jump. Literally. Gravity-defying exercise increases your heart rate which helps wake you up. Jumping also stirs up childhood enthusiasm which gives you a bit of adrenaline.
  4. Nix indecision. Go with your gut. Spending time trying to make the right decision instead of going with your first instinct causes anxiety which is draining.
  5. Time Out. Take a break. All that work will still be there later, but after taking a break, you’ll have more energy to be more efficient.
  6. Social Network. A few minute on the phone, Twitter or Facebook can be rejuvenating. I always feel like I shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff at work. If it can make me more productive though, why not?
  7. Colour Therapy. Warm colours are more energizing than cool ones because they are attention grabbing which activates the brain. It is recommended to wear orange on a dreary day. The blend of red (adrenaline) and yellow (exuberance) can boost energy. Orange just makes me look orange all over, so I thinkĀ  maybe I’ll keep something orange on my desk. It should have the same effect.
  8. Yoga. Any exercise is normally good, but is especially good for boosting energy. A British study has shown that after 6 weeks of classes, volunteers reported boosts in energy and confidence. I guess I could try a yoga video at home. I always feel so silly in classes when they tell me to let my skin melt off my bones. What?!
  9. Learn to relax. I NEED to do this. I find I can do something relaxing, like draw or watch something, but I’m never truly relaxed. My mind is still going and fretting over all the nonsense going on. It’s kind of silly, but when I need to sleep, I go through the alphabet and list my favourite names starting with each letter. I have never made it to Z.


Z for Zentangles


I love zentangles!

What are zentangles?

Zentangles are a method of drawing structured, repetitive patterns. Repetitive = relaxation and focus. I find it’s a good way to clear my head. When you look at a zentangle for the first time, it looks complicated. The whole idea behind zentangles is that you can do anything, but one step at a time. You focus on the patterns, not your preconceived idea of what the final result should be. Without an expectation in mind, it is easier to make mistakes.

I HATE making mistakes! It stops me from trying a lot of new things because I want to do everything perfectly the first time.

When I was younger, I fancied myself an artist. I never went a day without doodling something. As I got older, that all changed. I stopped drawing and it wasn’t until recently I realized why I stopped. It was my fear of mistakes.

Well who likes making mistakes right? No one. I let my fear of making mistakes stop me from doing something I enjoyed. Drawing suddenly became something stressful so I started avoiding it. This became a trend. I let the fear of making mistakes stop me from doing a lot of things….my fears started to affect my work, my relationships and my well-being. Something had to change.

Mistakes are part of life, they are unavoidable and the sooner you accept that, the better. The key to living through mistakes is to not let the situation get out of control. You can make A LOT of mistakes before you lose control. I found this kind of comforting. So, I decided to start small. Applying this thinking to drawing makes it seem silly to have stopped. Being creative is allowing yourself to make mistakes. It is the mistakes that make your work unique.

I’ve been doing zentangles for a while now. It has made it easier to start doodling again. I’m hoping to apply this to the rest of life. I think breaking things into smaller steps will make tasks seem less overwhelming and not being so rigid about the outcome will keep me from being disappointed and hating myself when I do make mistakes.

Here’s how to do a zentangle:

  1. Start with a blank piece of paper. Traditional zentangles are 3.5″ by 3.5″. You can do whole pages if you want, but the small size is much less intimidating.
  2. Make four dots, one in each corner of the paper.
  3. Connect the dots using straight lines, wavy lines or create a shape.
  4. Draw lines through your outline. This creates sections.
  5. Choose a tangle to fill in a section. There are so many to choose from. I use this site as my tangle pattern library: They show you a pattern and the step-by-step instructions to draw it for yourself.
  6. Use a different tangle in each section.


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