A long, long time ago my son had a fairly nasty cold. Temperature, difficulty with breathing, running nose, you name it. He almost didn’t sleep for two nights. Like every kid in that situation, he was moody, and he was literally glued to me, holding my hand and walking with me everywhere. After an exhausting day, we managed to reach the bed, but he didn’t want to sleep alone. Trying to comfort him in his illness as much as I could, I took him to my bed. And then, when I thought he was already asleep, he whispered: “I love you, daddy, very much, you know that right?” I was exhausted, but this short sentence gave me an enormous level of energy to be strong for him. It also made me think that the fatigue we feel is as much physical as mental. It prompted me to research how to feel less tired.
Coffee or other energy drinks 🥤 ☕️
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about how to feel less tired is coffee. For me, this is the simplest solution, which doesn’t mean it is always the best solution. The body’s response to too much caffeine may be different and sometimes surprising. When I drink coffee, it works for a while and then I feel burn out even more.
Besides, I really like coffee, and personally, I tried to leave this drink for special occasions. It also depends on when I drink coffee. If I drink it before 3 pm, I will be okay. However, if I drink coffee after 3 pm, I will not be able to fall to sleep in the evening. I will sleep less, and in the morning I will be more tired. Which means I need more coffee and this loop continues over and over again.
Physical exercises 🏋🏻♂️
It is a bit counterintuitive. I wake up early in the morning. I am at work all day sometimes shifting my time towards evening. Then I spend some time with my kids who demand my full presence. And yet I need to find some more time for exercises? How am I going to feel less tired while making my body more fatigued?
I should mention that are two separate topics here. We need to approach this matter strategically and tactically. Let’s start with strategy.
Zig Ziglar said that to feel full happiness in our life, we need to maintain a balance between three main pillars:
- Intellectual – for instance – courses and training, career development
- Spiritual – for example – self-awareness, spiritual growth, connecting with something or someone bigger than me
- Physical – just keep fit
When we take more responsibilities, or our commitments grow, usually our time in a day shrinks. Consequently, the first pillar to give up is for most of us, the physical one. We create excuses and move physical exercises to “someday” category. Someday never comes, and we end up in a big trap.
Being busy is a choice, and we never have time for everything we want to do. It is all about priority. Being fit should always be on top of the list. For me answering 5 times “why” I wanted to be healthy, helped me realise that I just want to be mobile and fit for my kids when they are older, and I am still around.
Tactically, it also has a lot of benefits. Even short, intensive exercises will pump blood faster, helping fatigue and tiredness to go away. If we do regular activities, the point where usual daily chores make us tired will also move.
How to stay fit 🏋🏻♂️
Short breathing exercises 😤
We all know breathing is essential. We breathe about 20,000 times a day, and yet most of us breathe most of the time inefficiently. What is more – proper breathing is one of the most useful skills in life. To quickly check if we breathe correctly, I suggest the following exercise:
- Put one hand on the chest, the other on the stomach, just below the breastbone where the diaphragm is
- If while breathing only the hand on the chest moves, it means that we breathe only the tops of the lungs, without involving the diaphragm.
Of course, the whole point it’s about sufficient oxygenation of the body. More oxygen means more energy in the cells. This makes us feel less tired. And on the grand scale, it helps to have a better quality of life.
How to inject extra energy to feel less tired after a long day of work? Here’s another exercise:
- Lie comfortably on you backs
- Slowly sniff the air until you reach maximum “filling”
- First, feel the air filling the lungs,
- then carry on, like it was going to your “belly”, at this point your diaphragm should rise
- After maximum inspiration, it’s time to exhale
- Release the air, but not to the end
- Let the air go down slowly and naturally
- Repeat the exercise 30 times,
- 30th time you release the air entirely, i.e. consciously as if you were “pushing” it completely out
- This will cause a slightly longer exhalation time and will slightly deepen another breath from the next series
- Repeat the exercise 3 times (i.e. 3 × 30 breaths)
Cold shower 🚿 🥶
I wrote about all the advantages of the exposure to cold in the recent post about the cold shower challenge. Here, I will mention once again the benefits that can be seen even after the very first time you try it:
- Mood improvement
- Temporary – a cold shower is like a reset after a hard day at work, allows you to take on the evening of paternity and home challenges with new energy
- Long-term – people simply become more positive (there is a scientific explanation for this for the release of dopamine, endorphin and other chemicals that have a real impact on the brain)
- Fight against physical fatigue
- Satisfaction with self-victory
Sleep faster 🛏 💤
Of course, nothing can replace a good sleep in the long run. With a day full of tasks and goals to accomplish, family commitments and hobbies to cultivate, it’s worth making sure that we sleep fast. In my opinion, this new popular term on the Internet simply means the quality of sleep. To take advantage of even the small amount of time we have to sleep, it is worth taking care of several things:
- Airing the room. I covered some facts about providing oxygen to our body on sections about breathing. We should take care of the quality of the air at every stage of the day. When we work, when we rest and when we sleep. A good idea is to install CO2 meter in a bedroom, it will monitor and alert when the level is high. This usually means that there is not enough oxygen. This could lead to poor sleep and extra tiredness.
- Limiting the use of phones and tablets just before sleeping – at least an hour, in my opinion, even two or three before going to bed:
- First of all, it’s the blue light that dominates this type of device. Our brain associates this type of light with daylight, it blocks melatonin flow and consequently extends the time we fall asleep.
- Secondly, especially if we have a habit of checking emails or work-related reports, we must mentally prepare for the consequences – for example, a failure, a topic that “cannot wait until tomorrow”, etc. If this happens, then you have to to be the stoic of the year, just to roll over and fall asleep.
When you think you are done 😓
Finally, I have some good news. Some time ago, I found a great article “Secret for Pushing Yourself Way Beyond Your (Supposed) Limits“. Fascinating article on the topic of being physically tired. If you think you are tired, that you have enough, and it is time to give up, the matter of fact is – you are not really done. It’s only your brain sending you such a signal. You are only about 40 per cent of your capability! Members of elite special groups like mentioned Navy Seals, or other spec groups, have a simple rule: “If it doesn’t suck, don’t do it, so learn how to feel comfortable with an uncomfortable situation”. Feel tired? Good, get some more!
And really finally, I would like to point out here that I am not a doctor, fitness expert, or anyone authorised to give any health advice. So if you have asthma, heart, or any health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before attempting any guidance from above.If you think you are tired, that you have enough, and it is time to give up, the matter of fact is – you are not really done. It's only your brain sending you such a signal. You are only about 40 per cent of your capability! Click To Tweet
Maybe the only exercise we have to do when we feel tired after a day of hard work and sleepless nights is just a mental exercise …
Cover photo: 2012, sunrise in Portugal 🇵🇹