It’s 2:00 and you’ve hit another afternoon slump. You wonder if you can make it to the end of the day.
“Why do I feel so tired all the time?” you ask yourself.
Even if you’re working from home due to coronavirus, it feels like another exhausting day in the office.
You consider pouring yourself another cup of coffee. You might even have an energy drink waiting for you in the fridge.
Yet there lies the problem. You rely on sources that offer temporary energy boosts. However, the problem — and solution — is deeper than that.
You’re having a new and different experience — life in quarantine. And with the added stress and anxiety, you may be experiencing coronavirus quarantine fatigue. “It’s just overwhelming,” says behavioral health therapist Dr. Jane Pernotto Ehrman, “and part of the fatigue is the uncertainty, unpredictability and the unknowns in all of this.”
That’s why it’s time to put away the caffeine and sugary energy drinks and practice a healthier response to feeling tired all the time: self care!
Self-care is free, easy, and can be done at home!
How Self-Care Can Optimize Your Energy
Energy is like a battery. Ideally, you’re waking up at 100%.
But what happens when you don’t get enough sleep? Or your diet is lacking nutrients? Or your life is all work, no play?
You might wake up at only 80% or 50%. These are only a few causes of low energy in women that can lead you to suffer from signs of burnout.
And if you’re experiencing exhaustion from coronavirus, you might be feeling any number of the following symptoms:
- Low motivation
- Appetite changes
- Racing thoughts
That’s why I created this two-part series on optimizing your energy, especially in these uncertain times. In this article, I explain how self-care can boost your energy. Next week, I’ll show you how to budget that energy with productivity tips.
So, why self-care? you might ask.
Everyday presents its own stressful challenges and the coronavirus outbreak has introduced new ones.
Yet, imagine starting every day at 100%. Your mind feels sharper. You have more bounce in your step. Your goals are clear. You know what you need to do. And you take action.
“If we don’t take action and recharge,” says Dr. Ehrman, “We will remain stuck. So, it’s important to relieve stress to re-energize and be more present.” Self-care helps you optimize your energy so that you can create and live your best life.
Here’s how you can do it.
Feeling Tired All the Time Because of Coronavirus Quarantine Fatigue? Here are 4 Self-Care Tips to Optimize Your Energy
#1 Clean Up Your Diet
Your body is like a car and the food you feed it is the gas you pump.
Without gas, you’re running on fumes. With poor-quality gas, your car starts experiencing some problems.
It’s the same way with food. Some foods are low-quality and do little for your body. They’re usually high in calories and low in nutritional value — think chips, candy, and fast food.
If you want to boost your energy, look at the food you eat. If you discover your diet could be better, try planning your meals in advance. This encourages you to be mindful of what your body is taking in. The following tips will keep your diet healthy and your body energized:
- Consume more complex carbs (like fiber-rich vegetables and whole-wheat grains)
- Avoid simple carbs (like cookies and dairy products)
- Increase your intake of dark, leafy vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard and kale)
- Reduce your caffeine intake to avoid energy crashes (like coffee, energy drinks and soda)
- Drink enough water (the Institute of Medicine recommends 9 cups each day for women)
But if you’ve been to your big chain grocery stores lately, you probably noticed that some shelves are picked clean. You may need to explore other options for buying nutritious foods.
Now is a good time to support your local businesses by visiting a nearby mom and pop store. Or you might even want to start a garden and grow your own produce!
When you feed your body high-nutrition foods, it rewards you with increased energy and longevity.
#2 Cultivate Better Work/Life Balance
As a modern woman, you wear several hats: mother, businesswoman, caregiver, spouse, and more. But one that you might forget to wear is the woman who practices self-care.
You spend all of your energy on other people and obligations, but forget to save some for yourself. You suffer from poor work/life balance. Your other obligations — whether professional or personal — dominate your life and your health begins to suffer.
Show yourself how much you love yourself by putting your own self-care first.
Try creating and maintaining a morning routine. Before you give your time and energy away, give it to yourself first. Exercise and meditation are great ways to kickstart your day. I enjoy greeting the morning with meditation and words of affirmation, followed by quality time with my pen and journal.
If you work from home — which many of us are doing in these crazy times — set a cut-off time for the end of your workday. Clean up your workspace and shut down for the day. Unless you’re a doctor or firefighter on call, work can wait until the next morning.
Your home should feel like a sanctuary. Don’t let coronavirus ruin it!
#3 Schedule a Well-Deserved Staycation
Daily self-care is critical to your health and well-being, but sometimes you need more.
Even when you’re maintaining a morning routine and getting enough quality sleep, you can still feel over-extended. If you’re still stressed, it may be time to take an extended break.
With what’s going in the world, now may not be ideal for traveling. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t relax and play!
Instead, schedule a staycation as soon as possible. Stepping away from your responsibilities, while staying home can do wonders for your health. A staycation gives your mind and body the time and space needed to declutter and unwind.
After a relaxing break, you can return to your daily responsibilities with renewed energy and focus.
#4 Cage Your Monkey Mind
Have you ever heard about monkey mind?
“Monkey mind is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused,” says Dr. Diana Raab, “It is also the part of your brain that becomes easily distracted.”
Has this ever happened to you?
You might be working on a task, but your mind veers instead to the latest COVID-19 update. There are many changes happening within your community. You might be checking your local news or social media to stay informed.
Each time you get distracted, you squander valuable time and energy.
Cage your monkey mind with meditation. Monkey mind often feels like you’re swimming in cluttered thoughts. Meditation pulls you out of the water by inviting your attention to the act of breathing. Many people remark on how clear and alert they feel after a meditation session.
If you’re new to meditation, try using guided meditation apps, like Insight Timer or HeadSpace. Their sessions will teach you the foundations of meditation and intentional breathing.
Do you have any energy-boosting self-care tips that I didn’t mention? Share them with me in the comments below.
Make Self-Care a Habit
“The holy grail of habit change,” says James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, “is not a single 1 percent improvement, but a thousand of them.”
Waking up with a fully charged battery will support you when you feel coronavirus quarantine fatigue creeping in. But this happens only when you commit to making self-care a daily habit.
You might not notice a difference in your energy levels at first. But if you maintain a self-care routine, you will notice higher energy levels over time.
And daily self-care doesn’t have to be a two-hour routine. It can be as simple as 10 minutes every day with my “From Burnout To Balance: A Simple 10-Minute Daily Self-Care Practice.”
This practice has been shown to:
- Increase mindfulness, well-being, self-confidence, and personal power
- Increase your ability to concentrate
- Cultivate a greater resilience to stress, a positive mindset, and a sense of hopefulness and calm
- Decrease stress and stress-related symptoms like frustration, mood swings, feelings of overwhelm or lack of control, anxiety, depression, low energy, headaches, body aches and pains, muscle tension, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and frequent colds and infections
- Reduce or even stop worrying