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:
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
I have been working from home for as long as I can remember – at least 30 years! When COVID-19 forced most of the world to stay home or work from home, it didn’t change this for me.
What the appearance of COVID-19 did change for me is that I began to feel so tired all the time. I went to sleep earlier and got up later, thinking I was pushing myself too much. However, the more I slept, the more I felt that I needed to sleep. I didn’t feel ill or anxious in any way, therefore I was uncertain as to what was happening. And I was experiencing pain that periodically shifted from one location in my body to another.
I needed an answer to this unexplained fatigue and fast!
Seeking Help to Heal From My Unexplained Fatigue
So, I had a healing session with a colleague. Through that experience I got in touch with how I was taking on other people’s stuff and it was manifesting as physical sensations and pain. My colleague helped with some healing, but it was still there. As an empath, at times I can feel what others are experiencing emotionally. What was odd about this was that I didn’t feel any angst on an emotional level, yet there it was in physical form. This was the first time I was aware of this happening.
For the past couple of years I’ve been using some practices that empower me to help myself. These come from Access Consciousness, an organization known worldwide for creating transformational life changing tools and processes to empower people to know what they know.
As a result of this recent empathic experience, my coach reminded me of an Access tool called “Who Does This Belong To” that allows me to distinguish between and release unwanted thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are not mine. This tool is simple and easy, so I began practicing it in my daily life. And it has made all the difference for me. No more pain! No more unexplained fatigue!
I was so glad that I had finally asked for support. It is so important in these challenging times to ask for and to receive support from others, because it could be just what we need.
I realized that I had this incredible experience right now because living in the midst of a pandemic, emotions are amplified with heightened fear, heightened contraction, and heightened anxiety. And I wonder how many other women have been having similar experiences without being aware that they are taking on other people’s stuff.
Because an empath is someone who is so highly aware of the emotions of those around them, that they actually feel those emotions themselves. Empaths are intensely aware of others, their pain, and what they need emotionally.
This is the number one trait of an empath. No matter what someone else near them is feeling, even if they aren’t showing it, empaths are likely to pick up on it immediately, actually feeling the emotion as if it were their own, like they were a sponge.
But it’s not just emotions. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Empath’s Survival Guide, empaths can feel physical pain, too — and can often sense someone’s intentions or where they’re coming from.
Have you been so busy that you haven’t had time to even acknowledge the physical, mental and/or emotional experiences and sensations you are having? If so, right now is a great time to pay attention to what’s going on in your body. And then get really present to that.
According to Dain Heer, co-creator of Access Consciousness, “98% of your thoughts, feelings and emotions actually don’t belong to you.”
If you’ve been dealing with greater than usual fatigue or feel that you may be picking up on the emotional, physical or mental angst of those around you, check in with yourself and ask, “What is mine?” and “What am I taking on from others?”
Then try the Access Consciousness tool called “Who Does This Belong To” that worked so well for me.
Just ask, “Who does this belong to?”
If you feel lighter, then it’s not yours.
If it’s not yours, say “I return this to sender with consciousness attached.”
Do this whenever you feel emotional, physical or mental sensations and you’ll feel much lighter immediately.
For more context around this, click here to see it explained by Dr. Dain Heer, co-creator of Access Consciousness.
You may find, after asking, “Who does this belong to?”, that the thought, feeling, or emotion does belong to you. If so, now more than ever it’s important to really get curious, to slow down, to check in with your body, and to ask questions.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
“What am I feeling?”
“Where in my body am I feeling it?”
“Is this real?” (This is helpful for times when you place a meaning on something, which may not be true. This question keeps you from holding on to uncomfortable emotions over something that isn’t so.)
“What is this telling me?” (When you ask your body this question, it may respond with a word, a phrase, an image, a sensation…)
“What does my body need from me?” (This question may get a similar response from your body as the previous question)
It can also be helpful to journal these questions, taking note of the responses you get and the actions you will take next. When you slow down and tune in this way, you are able to connect with your amazing body wisdom and get in touch with what your body needs from you.
I check in with myself daily. At times I forget, like when life gets busy. However, I have a way of reminding myself with a daily alarm. As an empath, it’s important to recognize my sponge-like nature. And it’s important to squeeze out the sponge every day! So instead of allowing it to detract from my life and my clients, I can use it in ways that contribute.
Practices like “Who Does This Belong To” and body check-ins are just a couple of the tools I work with. My vast coaching toolkit is a great support to my clients.
Although these tools are a great start to working with unexplained fatigue, anxiety, overwhelm and other symptoms, sometimes, more support is required.
If you’re ready to get out of overwhelm so that you can thrive during this time, I’d love to help you. This week I have two spaces available for a complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session.
In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:
Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again
Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm
Tap into greater energy and inspiration
Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.
It’s as if everyone – every single person – is depending on you…
Or so you tell yourself.
A Brush with Burnout
Burnout is what happens when you go full speed under constant stress until you’re merely a shell of your former self.
Your entire outlook is one of scarcity.
There’s never enough time… never enough energy to do everything.
You’re never good enough… never accomplished enough.
You feel guilty trying to grab a few hours of sleep, even though you’re so tired you can scarcely add two plus two and get four. There’s always more to be done. So you push yourself day after day until you want to cry from exhaustion.
Until, finally, there’s a complete scarcity of you – of your energy, health, well-being, and vitality.
Here’s the thing though, your exhaustion and fatigue are actually important clues for you to pay attention to: these are symptoms of burnout. If you keep pushing forward, attempting to push through these symptoms, well… let’s just say, it could get ugly like it did for me…
Dismissing Exhaustion as ‘Just Tired’ Is a Mistake
Because fatigue can be a sign of burnout, it’s important to take a moment right now and assess your “tiredness” over time.
Do you lack energy and enthusiasm?
Do you feel tired most days yet are able to push through?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re in the early stages of burnout-induced fatigue.
Do you feel utterly wiped out?
Are you struggling with depression or hopelessness?
Are you having a hard time making decisions?
Responding yes to questions 3-5 indicates that you are in the latter stages of burnout. Either way, I would suggest taking action on the tips below before you get too far down the exhaustion path. I’ve been there, and it’s not pretty.
You Need More Than One Good Night’s Sleep
One good night’s sleep feels terrific, but let’s face it: One night of restful sleep won’t go a long way toward helping you recover from what may be burnout-induced fatigue. What we’re going for instead is consistently getting a restful good night’s sleep.
9 tips for getting a good night’s sleep every night:
Keep a consistent sleep schedule (Yes, even on weekends or days off!), so your body can find its natural rhythm and settle into a regular sleep-wake cycle
Go to bed early enough for you to get at least seven hours of sleep
Stop using electronic devices at least half an hour before bedtime
Avoid drinking or eating caffeine in the afternoon or evening (Remember, dark chocolate has caffeine!)
Drink sparingly before bedtime so you’re not running to the bathroom throughout the night.
Establish a relaxing 15-30 minute bedtime routine to quiet your mind and soothe tension in your body (i.e. a warm bath, meditation, visualization, soft music)
Keep your room dark and cool
Wear a sleep mask to block ambient light
Use your bed only for sleep or sex, so your body and mind recognize it as strictly a place for rest and intimacy.
You can learn more about the vicious cycle of sleep and stress in my Deep Sleep Blueprint: A Magic Rest & Relief Formula. You’ll learn how getting caught up in this cycle can set you on the path to burnout and how to avoid this. Click here to get the Deep Sleep Blueprint free.
George Bernard Shaw said it best: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play will nurture your soul, bring you closer to the joyful person you were meant to be, and ease stress.
What do you love to do? And when was the last time you let yourself enjoy what you love?
Are You Ready to Feel Rested Again?
Now that you know these tips, you can be in action with a few at a time and see how your sleep changes.
You now know…
Why getting consistent, quality sleep is vital for your well-being
The steps you can take to get the revitalizing sleep that will let you rediscover your natural optimism and joy
How important it is to be in action
Once you do these things and are sleeping better, you can…
Enjoy playing with your family and friends.
Feel hopeful and happy about life.
Make decisions with ease.
Wake up refreshed, eager for the delectable day ahead, and brimming with energy and humor.
Now you have a list of rejuvenating practices you can bookmark and come back to when you need a refresher.
Now is the time to start getting a good night’s sleep. Tonight.
Are you ready?
It’s snooze time!
Hi, I’m Whitney
As an International Speaker, Certified Life Coach, Spiritual Counselor, and Ordained Minister with 3 decades of experience researching personal growth and how we heal from within, I have healed myself from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and burnout. My proven strategies help women overcome overwhelm and break free from the burnout cycle. I then partner with them as they reclaim their passion and create the life they desire. Having experienced first-hand the challenges of finding physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured!!!