October 2014 Roundup – Optimizing Energy

With Fall well into gear, all the commitments that it can bring upon us, and daylight savings now a distant memory, it is easy to feel the creep of fatigue that comes along with doing too much and making imperfect choices. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating experiences we can have, and it is easy to feel too drained to know what’s draining us or how to change it. Worse, fatigue can skew our perception making it hard to recognize a need for recharging and recovery. Here is the best of the month roundup of posts that address health, fatigue, and making smart choices.

14023425_sFeeling pooped? You may be wrestling with some of these 14 tiring habits, and fatigue can make it harder to make the good decisions that keep us physically and mentally healthy. In this great roundup, 14 Reasons You’re Tired All The Time, and How to Bounce Back, Linda Melone touches on some key issues, reviewing the critical health trilogy of nutrition, exercise, and sleep, and other lifestyle choices that can drain us. Here are four items that spoke to me, and connect with other hot topics this past month.

1) Eating breakfast. I know, I know. I am guilty of skipping this myself. But I will say that I always feel better, perform better and eat less when I start the day with a protein and complex carb. My latest favorite is greek yogurt with granola. Linda Melone points out the importance of revving up your metabolism, and fueling your body. If not breakfast, how can you make a decision before the holiday onslaught to keep your nutrition as healthy as possible?

 2) Exercise, even 20 minutes, helps with fatigue. More exercise delivers even more positive results. Look to force exercise into your routine, even when you’re tired. Research shows exercise that elevates your heart rate delivers more efficient blood flow meaning better-nourished tissue, and more energy and endurance. Not convinced? Eric Barker details the research linking exercise with better cognition and happiness, in his post, The Single Most Proven Way to Get Smarter and Happier

3) Maintain good sleep hygiene – same time to bed and awake, and limit alcohol, caffeine, and screens before bed as they are known sleep inhibitors. Getting enough sleep is an obvious solution to fatigue, but you might be surprised at how important it is for our physical and mental health. In this post, Depressed, Anxious, Unable to Focus? Getting Enough Sleep Might Do The Trick – 5 Tips on How, I summarize some of the latest research on the importance of sleep. Aim for 7.5 to 11 hours per night for optimal cognitive performance, mood stability, and health.

Depositphotos_54471765_xs4) Perfectionism, and an inability to say “no.” These are two sneaky culprits that add stress, and drain resources as we struggle to meet unrealistic demands we place on ourselves. New research documents perfectionism’s “ruinous” mental health effects, linking it to anxiety, depression and even suicide. Perfectionism is an energy drainer, generating anxiety and stress. Putting stress into action is the best way to reduce stress, and “action” can mean saying no, and “enough.” Embrace the “good enough,” and practice uttering the word “no.”

Saying no is harder than it sounds for many of us. We all know the dangers of saying yes too often, but knowing when is the right time to say no can be hard. In this post, 5 Ways to Say No, author Ruth Soukup offers some great strategies for maintaining balance.

Even with the best balance strategies in place, procrastination can be a killer for all of us. Who can’t relate to that urgent need to errand, clean, or internet surf as a deadline approaches that we dread? Procrastination can cause serious anxiety that as we all know makes it harder to move forward, and perfectionism is often a root of this familiar trap. In this post, Stop Procrastination and Eliminate Anxiety, I offer a few strategies to break the cycle when it takes hold.

Obviously we know that saying no to sleep, exercise, and nutrition is unwise, whereas saying no to extraneous requests and perfectionism makes good sense. But what about self care and hygiene? In this great post, I Went 30 Days Without Makeup And Yikes! Never Again, author Lisa Newlin points out her experience of the slippery impact self care can have on motivation in general. And this is where saying “no” needs to be healthy and not self-defeating.



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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD