In a perfect world, you would have boundless energy to tackle your daily to-do list. In the real world, however, energy is doled out in limited quantities. To make the most of your limited reserve, it's smart to recognize the toxic habits you don't realize drain your energy. Being aware of these habits may help you focus your energies on what matters most.
For what it's worth, energy (of the human variety) appears to be in higher demand than ever. Despite potential health risks, the worldwide energy drink market was valued at $39 billion in 2013, and it's expected to continue growing, according to CNN. And in the U.S. alone, the coffee market is estimated at $48 billion, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America. And, to make matters worse, almost half of Americans get insufficient sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In the U.S. at least, it looks like more and more people are trying to generate energy without sufficient rest.
But the truth is, all living beings need rest. Heck, even your phone needs a recharge now and then. Why not give yourself the same benefit? Familiarize yourself with these energy-zapping habits to utilize your most precious natural resource.
1. Running On Empty
There's nothing wrong with taking on a lot of responsibilities. But when you focus on work, family, and community obligations at the expense of your own health and wellbeing, then this may be problematic. According to the website for Psychology Today, making time for yourself is crucial for stress management and overall resilience. It's a necessity, not a luxury.
2. Letting Clutter Pile Up
Entering a messy room can inspire a sigh of exhaustion. According to WebMD, dealing with clutter can be draining and dispiriting because it could impede your ability to get stuff done. Take a tip from Bustle and declutter your home so it's a more inviting, energizing space. You don't have to go full minimalist (unless that appeals to you), just clear out some excess.
It would be cool if people could operate at maximum efficiency all the time, taking on loads of tasks simultaneously. As noted by NPR, however, humans aren't very good at multitasking, so it may be better to focus on one thing at a time. Single-tasking is a thing now, and it may help prevent your brain from getting overloaded and fried.
4. Expecting The Worst
Sometimes your own thoughts are the biggest drains of all. According to the website for Harley Therapy, a low mood can zap your energy. In general, stressful thinking can wear you out.
5. Skipping Meals
Too busy for breakfast or lunch? It might come back to bite you. Even missing one meal can leave you tired and generally unwell, according to the website for Women's Health. Even a light snack is better than nothing at all.
6. Holding Tension In Your Body
How does your jaw feel right now? What about your neck? Stress can make you unconsciously clench muscles, which can cause pain and fatigue, as explained in the website for Shape. The mind-body connection is no joke.
7. Keeping Busy
Sure, it's tempting to make every minute of every day productive in some way. But you're a human, not a computer program. According to the website for Scientific American, the brain needs downtime to function well. Sometimes it is better to stare off into space, instead of checking your email yet again.
8. Maintaining Impossible Standards
You want to be a world-class parent, athlete, student, dog trainer, philanthropist, Instagram user, business owner, friend, employee, and family member. But there are only so many hours in a day. Scaling back your expectations, and focusing only on what's really important in your life, can help you direct your energies toward what matters.
9. Discounting Your Body
When you have a lot on your plate, it's easy to get mad at your physical limitations. You want to be awake and productive for all the hours of the day, and not bogged down by annoyances such as fatigue or sickness. But until your consciousness can be transplanted into a machine, you'll just have to work within the confines of a biological body. Sometimes that means taking a rest to recharge. Oh, and sleep is not for the weak.
10. Relying Too Much On Caffeine
I mean, coffee is basically the reason I have a job and friends, so I'm not about to badmouth the stuff. But even something as magical as caffeine is best enjoyed in moderation. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 400 mg of caffeine per day is OK for most adults. Beyond that, you're probably going to deal with some jitters, and invite sleep disruptions.
11. Exercising Wonkily
With exercise, it's all about balance. As noted in Science Daily, persons who are generally sedentary can boost their energy levels by adding low intensity exercise into their daily routine. On the other hand, athletes who push too hard are at risk of overtraining, which can produce its own brand of tiredness, according to Active. It's important to work on your fitness in a balanced way.
12. Getting Thirsty
No, not in the sense that you're lusting after someone who's unavailable. According to WebMD, being dehydrated can lead to feelings of fatigue. Drink up to wake up.
13. Browsing Late Into The Night
After a long day of working and taking care of everything else in your life, sometimes that late-night Pinterest browsing is the only "me" time that you enjoy. Sometimes you just need to scroll through endless pages of home decor ideas until sleep takes hold. But as noted on the website for Women's Health, the blue light from your phone may suppress the production of melatonin, AKA the sleep hormone. Powering down may be the better option.
14. Skimping Sleep
Sure, it's a no-brainer that going without sleep will drain your energy reserves. According to an experiment from Bustle, getting enough sleep each night can boost your mood and help you avoid that afternoon crash. Why not experiment until you find your own sleeping sweet spot?
15. Overbooking Your Schedule
Do you try to help anyone and everyone, even if they don't seem to want help. Try chilling for a bit and see what happens. Learning to say no to certain obligations is a powerful ability.
16. Staring Into Screens Too Long
The glow of your phone or tablet is hypnotic. You can instantly access information about any subject in the world, so of course it's an addictive thing to look at. But as noted on Brookes, constantly checking your phone can lead to mental stress and fatigue, even when nothing particularly interesting is happening. See how long you can go without it.
17. Wearing Tight & Uncomfortable Clothes
Sure, the era of the corset may be over, but plenty of clothing is still restrictive AF. And as noted in the website for Psychology Today, tight skirts or jeans may even restrict your breathing ability. Less oxygen means more fatigue. Opt for comfort now and then.
18. Ignoring Potential Health Problems
Sometimes low energy has a more serious root. According to Healthy Women, many health conditions can manifest into fatigue, from anemia to thyroid problems. If you're concerned, then a trip to the doctor may be a smart idea.
19. Letting Toxic People Get You Down
Unfortunately, some people are emotional black holes. You may feel sorry for them, or want to save them from themselves, but at some point you have to watch out for your own wellbeing. If possible, back away and find some positive company.