When you’re tired everything feels like a challenge to do, even the small things. But it’s not just limited to the small things either, even doing the things that you otherwise love doing can feel like a chore when you’re tired or exhausted. Learn more about your energy level and how you can improve it (which in turn can help you to improve both your personal and your professional life) in this guide. An audio version is available here.
Keep reading to learn more.
Personal energy matters
Your energy level and reserve has a significant impact on everything you do, both big and small, each and every day. This is why when you’re feeling energised doing even challenging things become relatively easy. On the other hand when you’re tired doing even small things can feel like a struggle. So much so that when you’re really tired even doing the things that you otherwise love to do or really enjoy doing can feel like an uphill battle, a struggle, or can even feel like a chore!
Think back to the last time you felt really tired, or exhausted, and you will realise just how much harder tiredness or exhaustion makes doing anything, including the things you otherwise really enjoy doing.
There is a good reason for this – it is because doing anything (both big and small) involves a complex set of biomechanical processes all throughout our body, all of which need energy to function.
The incredible biomechanical marvel that is the human body does not just run on steam, it needs energy to operate.
Think of your body like a car – when the fuel tank is sufficiently full the car can run well and even going through rough terrains is not usually a big challenge. But if the fuel tank is running low or nearly empty then the car won’t run as far and worse will come to a standstill when the fuel runs out. The same thing happens to you when your energy reserve runs low, or runs out completely.
How tired you are even impacts how you feel – when you’re really tired it can feel really hard to be happy and upbeat, whereas when your energy reserve is full it becomes easy to be happy, positive and strong. Even dealing with challenging situations and setbacks becomes easier when you’re energetic as opposed to feeling like insurmountable struggles which is what happens when you feel tired, or worse, exhausted.
But there’s an easy fix to this. All you need to do is do things that improve or replenish your energy level! All you need to do is keep your fuel tank sufficiently full, and top it up when you’re running low.
There’s a lot you can do to improve your energy level and refill your tank, and I’ll go over a few different ideas over the course of this guide.
Ways to refill your internal energy tank
Here are seven ways you can refill your personal energy reserve:
- Power nap
- Eat something
- Deep breathing
- Spend time in nature
- Productive procrastination
Let’s look at them in more detail.
Would you like to know a great habit that helped people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison, Margaret Thatcher, and other high achievers and successful people?
It is having power naps.
Most people experience slumps during the afternoon. It is very common and normal to feel tired during the middle part of the day, and one of the best ways to recover from that energy deficit is having a power nap.
The point of a power nap is to give yourself a quick boost using a very short nap of around fifteen to twenty minutes. Any longer than that can mess up your energy level as your body will go into the sleep zone and then you risk waking up groggy and tired instead of being refreshed and energised. To make the most of their benefits you need to be mindful of this. Use power naps as a quick way to recharge your battery, but don’t treat it like a full-on sleep.
What do you think one of the biggest reasons for feeling tired is? If you guessed hunger than you’re absolutely right. Hunger is one of the main causes of lack of energy and feeling tired.
The solution is simple for that, and it’s to eat something. Often having something to eat can give you the boost you need to carry on when you’re struggling.
But don’t just have anything to eat though, because what you eat matters. If we use the car analogy again, the quality of the fuel matters: good quality fuel ensures the car runs well and lasts a long time whereas bad quality fuel will still run the car but over time it’ll damage the engine and cause all sorts of problems. The quality of the food you eat works in very similar ways.
For example if you eat some junk food or some food high in sugar, you might experience a boost in your energy level in the short term but they can and usually will cause a crash or slump later. That’s why it’s better to choose healthy food when you’re going for a quick snack or meal.
Food like nuts are great examples of quick and heathy snacks as they help refill your energy tank without causing any crash later, unlike sugar-rich food like soft drinks. So next time you feel a bit drained and feel like you need a quick bite to eat, choose healthier food rather than unhealthy fast food – they’ll help you feel fuller, more energetic and heathy, and will also help your energy reserve last longer.
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Meditation can be a really good way to recharge and refresh yourself. The practice helps you to slow down and take a break from all the noise and stresses around you, which in turn can help you to refocus your energy. Not only that, meditation has lots of health benefits too.
In many ways meditation sort of does what power naps do: they help you rest and recuperate.
Even a short five minute meditation can help you to carry on with whatever you need to do, so give that a shot next time you need a quick boost.
Breathing deeply is yet another great way to recharge and revitalise yourself.
Breathing exercises like the three-step Navy Seals breathing exercise can help you ground your energy level and give you a boost.
The process is simple: all you do is breathe in for four seconds (or longer if you can), then hold the breath for another four seconds or so, and then slowly breathe out for four seconds or longer.
Repeat this five times or more and you’ll feel better and more energised.
Deep breathing can also help you to deal with your stress and anxiety (like meditation) which is a great added bonus.
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When you think about refilling your energy reserve, few things can do it as well as exercise. But you don’t need to workout for a long time to get the energy boosting benefits of exercise – even a small amount of it can help.
It can be as simple as doing a few minutes of high intensity bodyweight workout, or even a few minutes of brisk walk.
Even a small amount of exercise can help you feel energised and revitalised and give you the boost you need to get on with your day.
Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature can be a great way to boost your energy level. Time in nature can also help you center yourself, calm yourself down and even boost your creativity level as well as your ability to solve problems. There are lots of benefits to spending time in nature, as researches have clearly proven.
You don’t have to go away to a forest, or go on a nature retreat for a weekend to get these benefits by the way. No, the practice doesn’t need to be complicated – you can get the benefits of being in nature fairly easily. It can be as simple as going for a short walk in a park or even just spending a few minutes in a garden or similar space.
All the tips and hacks mentioned so far can go a long way to help you recharge your batteries and give you a boost. But there might still be times when you don’t feel like doing the work at hand. I have a tip for that too, a strategy that can help in those down times, and that’s productive procrastination.
If you just don’t feel like doing any work but don’t want your time to be a complete waste either, productive procrastination can be a great way to go. The basic idea is simple: find things that you can easily do even when you’re tired and/or have no motivation to work, things that you need to do anyway but activities that don’t and won’t require much mental effort. Picking things that are simple to do is key, and if they’re fun and interesting too then that’ll be a great added bonus.
You can learn more about this (as well as get ideas on how you can get started) in my recent guide on productive procrastination. Check that out if you haven’t already. It can be a great way to make the most of your time, even the times when you don’t feel like doing much, or procrastinate.
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Grave errors in judgement
Try out these tips, hacks and strategies the next time you’re feeling tired, exhausted or just feel like you need a quick boost. They will help.
Here’s something important to remember: it’s ok if there are times when you just feel too drained or exhausted to carry on. It’s ok to step away during such times. In fact, during such times it can be better for you to step away and come back to it later because during times when you’re tired it’ll take you a lot longer to get the otherwise simple things done. Also, if you try to force yourself to carry on you might end up making silly mistakes, or even serious mistakes.
Grave errors in judgement often happens when people are tired. As such, it’s smart not to force things during times when you’re feeling tired or exhausted.
We function better when we are rested and have a full tank of energy. But being drained is a state that makes everything more challenging, especially the things that need you to think and exercise your willpower, the cerebral creative tasks.
When you experience tiredness either refill your energy tank or come back to the task later. But whatever you do don’t force yourself to carry on as that’ll nearly always only make things harder, and can even result in low quality work and mistakes.
Working while tired is not a very smart idea, so don’t try to force it. There’s no doubt that sheer willpower can help you go further than is otherwise possible when you’re low on energy, but it does make things harder and eventually you will shutdown due to exhaustion – and that’s not a good scenario because recovering from complete exhaustion is much harder and takes a lot longer than recovering from tiredness.
Becoming aware of when your internal energy reserves are running low is a smart thing to do, because it helps you to take care of yourself better, which in turn can help you to recover faster and do more of the things you want and need to do.
In the same way your phone doesn’t work very well when the battery is running out, you don’t function well when your energy reserve is low, so take care of your energy reserve.
Look after yourself.
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