Tag Archives: fatigue

3 Tips to Stay Fired Up Instead of Fizzling Out

fired upLife comes at us fast. We choose whether it fires us up or fizzles us out. Here are two stories to make the point and then to share some comments in how to stay fired up – passionate – energized in life.

Story one. Fizzled out.

A friend of mine tries to do it all. Someplace in her thinking she feels she is supposed to be supermom, super-employee, super-friend, super-problemsolver, super-cook and super-spouse. She has a personal requirement to be all these – her choice. She comes from a family of high performers where they constantly assess and judge each other based on the things they do. Huge pressure. Lately I have seen the normally fire-filled eyes with gray shadows – she is fizzling out – losing her inner passion, fire and energy. Instead of showing up big to any of these roles, she is now just barely keeping up, disappointed with herself, with others and with the world. Fizzled out.

Story two. Fired Up.

Another friend of mine is a talented speaker who has a high-activity life. It is not unusual for him to be in two or three cities in a week. Between his writing and speaking, he is on the go all the time. He is fired up, passionate, excited and energized by what he does for work. But to keep this pace and to keep the internal fire burning, he has built some effective and practical “stay fired up” habits.

  1. Gratitude. Always start each day or event with a thought of gratitude. Each moment of each day has blessings in them if we choose to see them. By taking the time to appreciate the greatness and “amazingness” of each moment, we fuel our internal fire. Gratitude is a fire builder.
  2. Breathe. Take a breath anytime we feel too busy, confusing or chaotic. In this moment, we improve our clarity about our situation. This creates the ability for our next moment to be wiser, saner and more effective. Stop things even for a fraction of a second to see more clearly. This can help us pace ourselves to feel more in control, less defeated and therefore more fired up.
  3. Self-talk. Have positive self-talk. Most of the chatter in our minds is critical, non-supportive and judgmental. Noticing that chatter and realigning it to be kind, gentle and supportive is the way to rekindle our passion for what we are doing. That critical “committee” in our head is a fizzle maker. Tell the noisy voices in your head to sit down and shut up (I know that sound severe but sometimes our committees only respond. Then, without the noise, you can take a breath, be grateful and reconnect to your inner fire.

A single dad friend of mine used to say to his kids as he got them into bed (and help them to stay there instead of wanting this and that and making the bedtime process take hours), “When you stay in bed it gives me time to be ready to be a great dad to you tomorrow.” We all need to develop our personal habits to allow the time to plug back into our power source – to have greatness habits that fire up the passion for life, the passion for people and the passion for our work.

Our world can wear us out. Actually, we allow our world to wear us out. Since we choose how we respond to the things that life sends us, we could also choose to stay fired up. We could choose to feed our internal fire by connecting to our passions, being more present in what we choose to do and to appreciate what is instead of noticing what is missing. It takes awareness. It takes practice. It requires building some fired up habits.

What feeds your soul and energizes you to love life and feel connected to it? What can you do each day to do more of this? What makes you feel empty, tired and disconnected? What can you change to do less of this? Fired up or fizzled out. It’s always a choice – our choice.

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If you like Jay’s post check out these similar intents on Intent.com

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photo by: matthewvenn

Why Sleep is Vital to Your Overall Health

sleeping-kittenBy: Ali Jan Qadir

The embrace of sleep can be one of the most coveted things a person can ask for after a long day. While the reason we need sleep as yet eludes medical science, it is inarguably necessary. Most of us have experienced the feeling of being tired and spent and then gone to sleep only to wake up completely refreshed—so where does the stress and tiredness go? Well obviously something happens while a person sleeps which alleviates the physical, emotional and mental exhaustions of a day. Even doctors sometimes recommend sleep as a remedy to slight fevers and stress induced headaches etc.

The virtues of sleep are far and wide and affect us in critical ways. How we generally function; our physical and mental productivity, well-being, and activity are all related to the hours of sleep we put ourselves through. Even Psychological health has been found to be effected by our sleeping habits.

Sleep has a restorative quality. While we sleep our body calms down to very low metabolism rate (basal metabolism rate) and general tiredness falls off us as we are weaned off a tiring agent (adenosine) produced by our brain while we are awake. Repairs also take place as muscle growth, protein synthesis etc. are speeded up. So when we wake up we feel refreshed as both our cognitive and physical function have completely recovered and we are again full of energy.

Uninterrupted sleep also hugely impacts the capacity to learn and our memories. When we sleep the new information we have acquisitioned in the hours we were awake is stabilized and consolidated and is stored as memory from which it is easy to recall when we’re awake; so sleep helps retain knowledge and hence enhances our learning process and memory: It makes us more productive—why this is, is a matter of conjecture but studies have found this to be the case, the more hours of sleep the better memory recall and learning a person can have and therefore the more productive a person can be.

Sleep also affects the cognitive brain functions, for right handed people, the right side controlled functions of the brain like reflexes expressive and receptive speech, complex verbal and mathematical skill are all profoundly affected by sleep—the more one sleeps the sharper all these functions will become, being able to perceive and express things better will definitely improve the on our social lives so that is a plus most will welcome.

Nowadays, in the internet age: with everything happening at super speeds and connectivity at an all-time high people care less about sleeping habits and a healthy sleeping routine, they caffeine up and take life late into the night while making room for only patches of sleep. Lack of sleep can cause irritability, moodiness, stress, and even depression–which basically translateto a nose dive in the quality of life. Motivation levels start to tank and this can lead to even worse problems. And all this can turn into a vicious cycle as stress and depression are known to cause insomnia, so one can get caught in a very bad place if one isn’t careful about sleeping habits: A person’s peace of mind will completely be ruined by such a turn of events.

To overcome sleeping disorders a very basic and simple answer is to start exerting yourself physically. Physical exertion causes fatigue in the muscles and increases body temperature so in turn is compensated by the brain by adding hours to deep sleep by cooling down and allowing muscles to relax, and it also helps in making one sleep faster and easier. Mental activities also help as one can try their hands at things like Sudoku or simpler still trying to use your unfavorable hand( left hand for someone who is right handed) etc.  This improves sleep regulation by the brain as its activity rate is improved. Distractions are also a source of lack of sleep which needs to be removed. But that doesn’t mean that one should tax the brain, because it needs to calm down for sleep to come. So the brain should be allowed to be in a relaxed state when a person is about to go to sleep—about a couple hours before bedtime that is. Caffeine drinks like Tea and Coffee or soft drinks, Alcohol and other such beverages should be avoided because both adversely affect sleep; caffeine is a well-known brain stimulant while Alcohol although it makes one drowsy at first ruins sleep after a couple of hours as it has slow acting stimulants. Another important thing is to correct one’s biological clock by making a steady routine for bedtime and getting up in the morning.

So by getting an ample amount of sleep on a regular basis one can avoid all the issues that may pop up from sleep deprivation and restore ones peace of mind, sleep is also a stress relieving exercise and additionally on top of it powers of rejuvenation it also increases productivity so it not only maintains one’s quality of life it actually improves on it. So while ‘early to bed, and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise’ may be a clichéd and hackneyed phrase it is in fact a wise motto to believe in.

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Ali Jan Qadir is passionate about sharing what he learns. His articles always aims to give useful advice to his readers. His writing ranges from productivity to art. He also runs a blog about sleep and beds where his questions answers like what’s the best bed for back sleepers.

Are You Sick and Tired? Maybe It’s Your Thyroid

If you feel cold and tired all the time, there’s a good chance your thyroid is to blame, because one out of five women and one out of ten men have thyroid problems. That’s 30 million women and 15 million men. And half of them suffer needlessly because their doctors completely miss the diagnosis or don’t treat it properly.

You don’t have to suffer. Are you tired and sluggish? Do you have trouble getting going in the morning? Are you constipated? Do you have dry skin, dry, coarse hair, or hair loss? If the outer third of your eyebrows are thinning that could mean low thyroid function. Or maybe you have depression, high cholesterol, low sex drive, fluid retention, poor memory, and trouble concentrating.

All of these symptoms are potentially related to low thyroid function or what we call hypothyroidism. And because they can be vague and subtle, they’re easy to miss. But these symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life. But when you correct your thyroid function, you can get rid of these symptoms. You can actually get your life back and feel better.

One of my patients is a 73-year-old woman who was tired and a little depressed, had a little fluid retention, was constipated, and had trouble with memory. She had been to another doctor who said, “What do you expect? You’re 73.” Well, you know what? That’s not what 73 has to feel like. 73 can feel like 53 or 43 if you’re tuned up.

Get to the root cause

My job as a Functional Medicine doctor is to be a medical detective, to investigate and address the root causes of problems—not just the symptoms—and help people fix the underlying problems that CAUSE their symptoms and recreate balance in the whole system.

So, how do you find out the root cause of low thyroid function? What do you do about it? Can you reverse it? And what should you do if you have it? Well, if you fix the cause, you often can heal your thyroid. So, first, let’s take a look at the causes of this condition.

There are many causes of low thyroid function, but the most common one is environmental toxins.

For example, plastics, pesticides, thallates in plastic bottles, BPA (bis-phenol A) in cans, parabens in sunblock and make-up, chemicals in our food and water: all of these things interfere with our thyroid function, which acts like the yellow canary in the coalmine that died when the air went bad. When our environment becomes overloaded with toxic substances, the thyroid is the first to go down.

What you are eating can also mess up your thyroid. Gluten is one of the biggest causes of low thyroid function, because it causes an autoimmune reaction against the thyroid. We call this Hashimoto’s disease. It is fixable. If you get rid of gluten, you can heal it.

Nutritional deficiencies may also be causing the problem. Iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, omega-3 fats, and vitamin A are all important for optimal thyroid function. You have to have optimal nutrient levels for your thyroid to work properly. For example, you can’t make thyroid hormone without iodine. You can’t convert the inactive to the active form of thyroid without selenium, and the thyroid can’t work on your cells without vitamin D and vitamin A.

Another big cause of thyroid dysfunction is heavy metals, such as mercury and lead.

People who eat a lot of fish, who have a lot of fillings in their mouth, or who have had a lot of vaccines that contain Thimerosal may develop problems with their thyroid.

Get tested

So, how can you know for sure that you have this problem? Well, first, you have to do the right tests. Most doctors do not do the right thyroid tests, and I strongly encourage you to demand your rights as a patient and ask for them. What are they?

It’s the TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone test, and the free T3 and free T4 tests. It’s very important to get the free levels of both the free T4 and free T3 hormones.

Next, you should also always check your TPO (thyroid peroxidase) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. These are an indication of an autoimmune reaction against your thyroid.

Also, check for celiac or gluten antibodies or anti-gliadin antibodies, because these also can indicate a gluten problem that can trigger thyroid problems.

You also might need to get heavy metal testing, because high levels of mercury and lead can trigger thyroid issues, too. Go to www.functionalmedicine.org to find a doctor near you who can test for metals and help you fix your thyroid.

Take action

So, once you’ve found that you have this issue, follow these steps, so you can begin to treat yourself.

Clean up your diet. Get rid of the sources of pesticides and chemicals. Filter your water. Eat organic when possible. Eat safe fish. Minimize your exposure.

Eat foods that support your thyroid. These include vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms, sardines, and herring; vitamin A-containing foods like green leafy vegetables and carrots; iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, and shellfish; and zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds and oysters.

Thyroid replacement may be needed for some people. But this is very controversial. Some doctors recommend only T4 and some recommend a combination of T4 and T3. I think, when you look at the scientific evidence, it’s clear that people do better when you combine the inactive T4 with the active T3 hormone. And that’s what we do at The UltraWellness Center. We give combinations, either in the form of Armour Thyroid, Nature Thyroid, or just combinations of T3 and T4.

Take thyroid supportive supplements. I recommend a combination supplement for my patients called Thyrosol, which contains kelp for iodine, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, and selenium.

This is all described in my UltraThyroid Solution. I go through everything in step-by-step detail. It’s a 7-step, goof-proof plan for fixing your thyroid. I encourage you to check it out. Learn what you need to do, and fix your thyroid, because you don’t have to feel tired and crummy all the time. There is a way out.

Originally posted on my website, DrHyman.com

photo by: adria.richards

5 Ways Vitamins Can Help Improve Your Metabolism

I'm really trying here.Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms in the body. As humans age and fluctuate between weights, the metabolism tends to slow down. Adding vitamin supplements to any wellness regime can give a sluggish metabolism a boost. Weight loss goals are met easier with a fully functioning metabolism.

Here are five metabolism boosting vitamins to consider.

Choline: Burns Fat

Choline can reduce overall body fat by assisting in lipid metabolism. By increasing how fast the body is able to burn fat, you can become more efficient at losing pounds and keeping them off. Choline may even prevent memory loss in old age.

Many adults receive the recommended dosage of 425 mg through their diet or multivitamin, but it’s available as a supplement too. Choline can be found in fish (specifically salmon and Atlantic cod), eggs, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and wheat germ.

Vitamin B-12: Fights Fatigue

A Vitamin B-12 deficiency can make someone feel exhausted, weak, and even depressed. Avoid these symptoms and achieve a sudden boost in energy by adding vitamin B-12 to your diet. Vitamin B-12 complements other B vitamins, such as B-5, B-6, and biotin. The increased energy level from adding B-12 to your diet makes it easier to lose weight. Red blood cell formation can even be improved with this vitamin.

The recommended dose is 50 mg, and it can be found as a supplement and in meat, fish, and eggs.

Vitamin C: Metabolizes Fats

Vitamin C is commonly known to improve immune systems, but it plays a role in burning fats too. It can also help fight oxidative stress which causes weight gain. If you’re looking for medications and vitamins in the United States or Canada drugs, this over-the-counter vitamin is easily accessible.

Vitamin C is available as tablets, capsules, and drink powders, so it’s simple to add in the recommended 1000 mg to your diet. It can also be found in oranges, strawberries, cabbage, and broccoli.

Magnesium: Digests Enzymes

The National Institute of Health claims that Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium in their diet, so it’s important to consider adding this vitamin for the overall health benefits. This powerful vitamin helps the heart function properly, strengthens bones, and supports a healthy immune system. Magnesium can also help the body digest enzymes which naturally boosts metabolism.

The recommended dose is 500 mg per day, and it can also be found in whole grains, peas, and nuts.

CLA: Targets Abdominal Fat

CLA, also known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid, aids in metabolizing fat which boosts metabolism. Scientific studies have shown that this vitamin specifically targets abdominal fat. Other health benefits include muscle growth and decreased cholesterol. If you’re looking to drop pounds, talk to your physician about adding CLA into your weight loss plan. Combined with diet and exercise, CLA is a powerful tool to jump start your metabolism.

Take CLA with a meal; the recommended dose for optimal results is 1000 mg.

A balance of the right vitamins can increase metabolism and provide other long-lasting health benefits. While you can receive some of these key nutrients through your diet, it’s important to add in the correct supplements to have your metabolism work with and not against you.

Dilute the Toxicity of 10 Common Stressful Situations

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 11.58.08 AMStress trespasses into our lives no matter where we live and work. Since living a stress-free existence is virtually impossible, the next best thing is to know how to dilute the toxicity of the stress-inflammation response. The next time you have an inexplicable headache, a churning stomach, a backache, a pain in the neck, or experience quick shallow breaths and walk around distracted, try these stress-busting strategies.

How to dilute the toxicity of 10 common stressful conditions

  1. Angry at a family member, friend, colleague, or salesperson? Instead of sitting on a hotbed of anger, try doing an exercise to squeeze the anger out of your body. Put your palms together in prayer position and press. Then go do something creative with all that tumultuous energy.
  2. Irritable and frustrated? Don’t stand with your hands on your hips ready to lash out. Instead place your hands behind you on your lower back and stretch gently backward. This will help you consider what you are not seeing about the other side, signaling you to re-frame your irritation into a kinder state of being and let it go.
  3. Fatigued at work? Get up periodically and move around, to avoid compression of the spine and achy joints. Stretch your eyes by looking out a window. Take a coffee break with a co-worker for energy synergy – coffee plus being social will elevate your mood and make you feel alive and alert.
  4. Feel anxious every time the phone rings – place a post it on the phone to remind you to breathe deeply before you speak. Breathing deeply oxygenates your brain to think clearly and your voice will sound natural without the quaver.
  5. Feel like an impostor because you have lost your self-confidence? Rotate your shoulders back and down to achieve good posture for an immediate confidence boost. The body signals the brain to feel empowered with this postural shift from a slump to attention.
  6. Headache due to over-analysis? Close your eyes; place your forefingers on each temple and rotate your thumb gently over your eyebrows and under your eyes – like windshield wipers.
  7. Has your life turned into a soap opera? Dilute the drama by embracing the ordinary; simplify and keep your expectations reasonable.
  8. Feel that you are outside the inner circle of the queen bee? Aim to be a soul climber instead of a social climber. Volunteer and think about what’s right with your life and be very grateful for all that you do have. Realize that you can have it all, just not all the time.
  9. Are you overwhelmed with info which is causing you to be distracted and depleted? Tune out daily to restore your natural rhythm. Do what meditators do – they narrow their focus.
  10. Are you spinning out of control, whether a project at work, or in a relationship? Know when to stop what you are doing – often as important as knowing when to begin.

The Real Reason You Feel So Tired

Eavesdropping on a wide-range of adult conversations, you will overhear the ubiquitous chant, “I’m soooo tired.” True, many are fatigued because of the after effects of sleep deprivation, excessive caffeine, or junk food  So, why do people who get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet feel tired too?

If you wore ankle weights or a weighted vest, you would start to feel tired. This is how stress feels, weighing you down emotionally and physically. Are you aware that you live with powerful stressors night and day? Powerful stress hormones flow through your body enflaming your organs, metabolic processes and emotions, making your nerve endings raw. The inflammatory response is exhausting and often leaves you with a negative perception making everything darker and more ominous. Fatigue is one of the most common stress symptoms that sends people to a doctor  according to Consumer Reports On Health, Oct. 2012.

7 ways to reduce stress and get your energy back

  •  Know your 4 basic stressors: Environmental, which includes chemicals, pesticides and weather; Physical, which includes seasonal bacteria, viruses and allergens; Internal, self-driven by grief, relationship woes and failed accomplishments; National, a fear of terrorism and a recession.
  • Recognize stress as soon as it impacts your body before taking root in your psyche. For example, which body part hurts or itches during the stress response, lower back, neck, stomach, head, eyes or skin? What do you think is triggering it? What is your body trying to tell you?
  • Slow down your breathing rhythm. When you experience stress, you tend to breathe more shallowly and rapidly. Taking deep breaths helps to energize you by oxygenating your brain to think more clearly to find a more optimistic solution while slowing down a rapidly beating heart.
  • Take a technology break. Technology revs you up, disrupts your natural rhythm and distracts you with emails. According to researchers at the University of California, checking emails frequently during work resulted in higher heart rates which indicate stress.
  • Move stress out of the body while you fill up on endorphins. Exercise resembles a moving meditation especially if you attach a specific positive intention like, “I’m moving forward in my life,” or “I am strengthening my back to carry my load.” Think it, do it, and become it.
  • Don’t forget to drink water. You might be eating a healthy diet, but not drinking enough fluids. For example, you wake up thirsty (a sign of mild dehydration), or you don’t drink enough water because you don’t expect to dehydrate in winter the way you do in summer, but heating elements are dehydrating. Keep in mind that all your metabolic processes need water and this might be the missing link in solving your energy mystery.
  • Immerse yourself in whatever you are doing. You tend to bring your family problems to work with you or your worries while doing routine chores. Get into the habit of being totally present to experience the moment. You will be able to just do your work  – without the fatigue.

 

7 Natural Energy Boosters

Do you muster every ounce of energy you have just to lift your limbs out of bed, experience a daily afternoon crash that only lifts with a caffeine boost, or feel a general sense of fatigue throughout the day?  According to researchers, you are not alone.  Fatigue is the second most common complaint to doctors in North America.

Unfortunately, many people turn to caffeine to boost their energy levels. That approach provides short-lived energy at best. At worst, it may cause damage to your body in the form of caffeine addiction, blood sugar fluctuations and adrenal gland depletion that makes you more vulnerable to stress. Since caffeine continues to work for about 12 hours, that afternoon coffee may leave you lying awake counting sheep when you are ready to sleep.

Nature offers many natural herbal energy-enhancers. Some of the best include: bee pollen, royal jelly extract, Siberian ginseng, spirulina, gotu kola, ho shou wu, and cayenne.

1. Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen is touted as a source of perpetual youth in many of the world’s great books, including the Talmud, Bible, Koran, scrolls of the ancient Orient, Greece, Rome, Russia, the Middle East. Ancient Greek athletes ate bee pollen regularly to increase their strength and vitality. More recently, the USDA discovered that bee pollen even has anti-cancer properties.

Bee pollen is packed with 22 amino acids, natural antibiotic factors, DNA/RNA (the genetic coding of plants), 18 enzymes (to aid digestion and other bodily functions), glucosides (natural sources of energy in the body), plant hormones, 27 minerals and at least 16 vitamins, it is no surprise that it increases energy and vitality. Avoid bee pollen if you suffer pollen allergies or if you are allergic to bees.

2. Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is the natural result when bees combine honey and pollen. It is a powerhouse of B-complex vitamins. It also contains many other vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes, 18 amino acids, and natural antibacterial and antibiotic substances. It has traditionally been used to address bronchial asthma, pancreatitis, liver disease, insomnia, stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures, immune problems, and skin disorders, but royal jelly is also effective for increasing energy.

3. Siberian Ginseng Extract

As the name suggests, Siberian ginseng originates in Siberia. It also grows in Japan, China, and Korea and parts of Canada. It has been used medicinally for at least two thousand years. Siberian ginseng is one of only a handful of herbs that is an adaptogen, which means that it works to normalize bodily functions. It inhibits the adrenal stress response and works as an immune stimulant, particularly for fighting the effects of stress and depression. It aids the liver in detoxifying harmful toxins, including chemotherapeutic agents and radiation. Siberian ginseng also stimulates the activity of several immune system components: B and T cells, making it excellent for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other viral infections. Athletes around the world use Siberian ginseng as a training aid because of its reputed ability to increase resistance to stress, increase performance, bolster the immune system during workouts, and reduce fatigue. But it also helps strengthen energy levels over time.

4. Spirulina

The Aztec people knew a good thing when they saw it. They discovered spirulina, a single-celled algae that they called tecuitlatl and soon made it a staple of their diet. It is high in usable protein, a great source of Vitamin B12 (often called the “energy vitamin”), 8 minerals and many vitamins, including 7 types of vitamin A precursors known as carotenoids. It is also packed with chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives spirulina its colour and its blood purification properties. And, of course, it boosts energy levels.

5. Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola is an herb that contains many nutrients and healing phytochemicals. As one of the primary energy herbs used by herbalists, gotu kola lessens fatigue and depression without the effects of caffeine. Actually, unlike caffeine that may keep you awake into the evenings, gotu kola actually helps improve sleep at night.

6. Ho Shou Wu

Also known as fo-ti or ho she wu, the root of this native Chinese vine is a powerful tonic to increase energy and maintain youthful vigor, while still having a calming effect. It contains a natural form of lecithin that helps lessen arterial plaque and lower blood pressure. In laboratory studies, ho shou wu effectively reduced blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and even prevented cholesterol from forming in test animals.

7. Cayenne

Cayenne works to boost energy by improving circulation. It is also effective to help ward off colds, sinus infections, and sore throats. It even helps reduce pain and inflammation.

As with all herbal medicines, it is best to consult with a skilled health professional prior to starting any herbal or nutritional supplement.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, ROHP, RNCP is a best-selling and six-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, and The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan.  Learn more at: www.TheLifeForceDiet.com.

 

 

photo by: ben▐

Are You Really That Busy?

Our society is preoccupied with busyness. Tim Kreider’s, “The Busy Trap,” as published in the NY Times on June 30, 2012, has brought the issue to the forefront, provoking hundreds of readers’ responses. For some, busyness is a sure fire strategy to create time for the self, “I wish I could, but I’m too busy to go out with you.” This excuse is a more polite form of saying no and works well to create less stress and more leisure.

However, for others busyness is a sinister self-driven strategy to elevate one’s status as an important person who is always needed whether at work, social obligations or children’s busy activities. For this role one must be tied to the cell phone, an important prop, even during vacation or sleep. And for most of us busyness is a stressful coping mechanism to escape personal unhappiness – to avoid thinking about who we are and where we are going with all this.

Can you tell the difference between a high energy person who lives intensely, fully present, and the nervous, stressful energy of someone always living in the future for what’s next on the to-do list? If you fall into the latter category or know someone who does, it usually means living in distraction and in fear of one’s own quiet company.

The symptoms of a busyness addict:

  • Dramatic vocabulary: “Crazy busy,” “Frazzled”
  •  Irritability/pessimism
  •  Physical symptoms of stress: Pain, fatigue, insomnia
  •  Feeling guilty when you have nothing to do
  •  Highly critical of the self and others
  •  Cravings for sugar and fat
  •  Feeling unappreciated
  •  Hungry for compliments
  •  All activities – even fun and sex – viewed as accomplishments
  •  An artificial version of the self/wearing a mask over one’s identity

How to avoid robbing yourself of time and energy: Here are 10 questions to help you disconnect from busyness and reconnect with the self:

1. What makes me happy?

2. What do I enjoy doing when I lose track of time

3. What energizes rather than depletes me?

4. What helps me serve myself in order to better serve others?

5. What do I need to clearly communicate to get others to help me?

6. Why do I always judge/criticize others?

7. Do I know my “intellectual capital”?

8. Do I dare to be outrageous by changing up my predictable routine?

9. Can I separate who I am from what I do?

10. Can I explore what it takes to be the opposite of who I am?

photo by: gcoldironjr2003

7 Tips For Effective Afternoon Naps

 If you are at all able to take a short nap during the day, by all means, you should and should not feel guilty about it. There is much truth behind the elusive “power nap.” Some of the greatest thinkers in history were given to brief naps during the day. Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Edison, among scores of others, recognized the value in re-charging during the day.

 Still, there is something of a stigma about taking an afternoon nap, and therefore, a good reason that so-called “energy drinks,” those loaded with caffeine, have become so popular. The drawbacks to this sort of “revival” include the consumption of too much sugar, which, while perhaps giving you a short burst of energy, will make you feel even more tired later.

Do the natural thing and nap. Fortunately, many employers are paying attention to science. NASA reports that:

The benefits from napping as little as five minutes to as much as two hours are miraculous, and research has proven that taking a 20-minute nap approximately eight hours after you have awaken will do more for your stamina than sleeping another 20 minutes in the morning.

 So, these instead of firing you, as was once almost assuredly the case, your boss may now encourage naps as they reduce errors due to fatigue and make you more productive in general. Here are some tips to make a short nap work for you!

Length: 15-30 minutes is what is most often recommended.

Set an Alarm so you can get back to work in a timely fashion.

Darkness is what you want to aim for. Close your blinds if you can. Turn off your computer monitor, too.

Silence is best. Silence your phone,  if at all possible. Shut your door.

Stretch Out if you can. If not, lay your head on your desk.

Keep a travel pillow/blanket in your office.

Clear Your Mind. Thoughts about everything you have to do can inhibit your napping time. If you feel your mind racing just as you are trying to nap, concentrate on breathing. Take deep breaths and release slowly. This has a calming effect and will relax you.

Happy napping!

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / RIPizzo

 

 

Fight the Midday Slump: Six Missteps That Cause Fatigue

 Depending on what time you wake up and go to bed, you probably get a little sleepy around three or four in the afternoon each day. That’s due to your body’s natural circadian rhythms, or body clock, which prompts a slight drop in your core temperature about eight hours after you get out of bed in the morning. But some days, that late-afternoon slump hits a little earlier than usual and it’s all you can do to keep your eyes open and your head from hitting the desk before lunch. Off-kilter circadian rhythms could be to blame, but more likely, it’s the little things you and everyone else who occasionally needs a noontime nap do throughout the morning that lead to early bouts of fatigue.

Hitting the snooze button multiple times
If you set the alarm a few minutes earlier than you need to wake up so that you can hit the snooze button at least once before having to rouse yourself, you’re also setting yourself up for a day of yawning and battling heavy eyelids. While sleeping, the human body cycles through different sleep stages, including the deepest and most restorative one, REM. Hitting the snooze button might ensure five extra minutes of sleep in the morning, but the sleep itself will be poor, because that’s not enough time for your body to reach the REM stage. As a result, you’ll feel even less rested once you turn off the alarm entirely and drag yourself out of bed, even if you got a good night’s sleep otherwise.
 
Drinking a coffee milkshake instead of a regular cup of joe
Stand outside any Starbucks on a weekday morning, and you might be surprised at how many people walk out with a caramel Frappuccino, a toffee mocha, or another, similar sugary drink. Coffee gets a bad rap, but it actually boasts a plethora of benefits when taken in moderation. However, moderation doesn’t include a boatload of sweeteners and cream. In fact, the combined sugar-and-caffeine high just leads to astaggering energy crash later. You might be flying high after gulping down that Frappuccino, but you’ll likely be dragging your feet a couple hours later.
 
Try cutting back by using a little less sugar in your coffee every day, or make the switch to green or black tea, which has a slightly milder flavor than coffee and may not require as much sweetener. If the idea of coffee without a hefty amount of sugaris unfathomable, add a little cinnamon to it as well—a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that cinnamon might help stabilize blood sugar levels.
 
Skipping breakfast (or any meal, for that matter)
Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for good reason. If you eat dinner at 7 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m., that’s twelve whole hours that your body’s gone without food. That’s why it’s important to eat in the morning—in other words, break your fast—to rev up your metabolism and give your body a much-needed boost of energy. Without sustenance, the body’s metabolic rate and other important processes slow to a crawl to compensate for your rapidly dwindling energy supplies. This happens whenever you go too long without eating, but forgoing breakfast is particularly bad: blood sugar levels drop, dragging alertness levels down with them and making meal skippers lethargic, cranky, and all the more likely to overeat—and then deal with another energy lull—later.
 
Hunching over the keyboard
Do you find yourself channeling the Hunchback of Notre Dame whenever you’re in front of the computer? Perhaps you’re slouching your way through life altogether. However minimal or infrequent, poor posture depletes energy supplies faster than you realize. It misaligns joints and forces muscles to bunch up and work harder than usual in order for your slumping skeleton to have extra support, and that physical strain eventually leads to mental fatigue.
 
Forgetting to fill up your water glass
Even mild dehydration can cause the body and brain to feel more sluggish than usual. Water helps move blood through the veins and heart, so too little water in the system makes it harder for the blood to pass through, requiring the heart to pump that much faster in order to supply cells and organs—like the brain—with life- and energy-sustaining blood. Eight glasses a day is a good goal to work toward, but keep in mind that everyone’s water needs are different because everyone’s body is different. Plus, many foods and beverages that we consume throughout the day contain water as well. Regardless of how you hydrate yourself, just make sure you’re getting enough water to keep you awake. Drinking a glass of cold water often helps shake away the desire for sleep.
 
Stressing out over something
Maybe it’s a 2 p.m. report deadline hanging like a dark cloud over your head, or maybe it’s a whole slew of projects and situations worrying your mind. Whatever the case, stress is one of the most common culprits behind fatigue for many people. When you’re truly stressed, that triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, which sends adrenaline production into overdrive, elevates your blood pressure and heart rate, and invariably leads to utter physical and mental exhaustion later. Anxious people tend to breathe shallowly, which deprives the brain of oxygen and makes it even sleepier. If the stress continues into the night, chances are, it’ll keep you tossing and turning until morning, setting the course for another tired day.
 
It’s all too easy to throw off your circadian rhythms, but fortunately, there are simple ways to defend yourself against midday slumps. Sipping a glass of cold water is one way, as is taking a short walk outside (sunlight sets off arousal signals) or around the office, eating smaller meals and snacks that have a healthy balance of carbs and protein throughout the day, and taking deep, controlled breaths. It’s natural for energy levels to dip from time to time because of seasonal changes and hormonal fluctuations, and there’s not much we can do to always prevent that from happening. But if you spend most afternoons in a fog, unable to focus on anything more than the idea of your warm, cozy, inviting bed at home, you might be making one of these morning mistakes. It’s possible that an a.m. shake-up is just what you need to stave off a noontime snooze.

 

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