Do you sometimes feel you are so tired, even though you had enough sleep the prior night?
You didn’t do any vigorous exercise, nor had done any intense work, yet you are feeling fully exhausted.
I do feel it often before. I tried to incorporate a healthier lifestyle through sleeping longer and exercising, but the tiredness still persists.
If the above scenarios are familiar to you too, today’s article will be helpful for you. Let’s understand more about why are we feeling this way, and what should we do.
Why do you feel tired all the time?
There could be many reasons why you feel tired all the time. Common ones include lack of rest, overworking, and vigorous exercise. All these are associated with physical fatigue.
However, most of us tend to overlook how our emotional stress is impacting our energy level.
In fact, constantly in a stressed or tense mode consumed most of our energy.
For example, when you are feeling panicked or anxious about a presentation, your heart might start to race. Your stress response is triggered. These changes in your body consume a great amount of energy!
Most of us do not realize how much energy is consumed from emotional stress as, compared to physical activities where we are in control of our muscles and movements, feeling stressed and tense is not something we can control freely.
These activities are happening in our involuntary muscles. As the name suggests, these muscles are not controlled by our wills and they contract or move without our mind consciously controlling them. Thus, we are not aware of the changes happening in our bodies.
Some of us are more easily feeling emotionally stressed than others. For instance, being highly sensitive (or HSP) would be more likely to be affected by his/her surroundings. Whether we like it or not, our involuntary muscles will be reacting to high-intensity emotions.
Our hearts will be pounding fast and our breath getting shallow. Some people might even experience muscle twitches from anxiety. Your energy is fully depleted before you even realize it!
How can we break the cycle?
The answer is… We need to know how to have proper relaxation.
I have to say I have never really thought about relaxation as a skill before! Remember all the weekend days, when we are lying on the sofa binge-watching Netflix for the whole afternoon? That is not a proper way to relax! Not to mention scrolling through social media for a few hours, and attending parties. All these activities are still straining the brain.
The best form to relax has to combine both full relaxation in our mind and our body. Today, I will share 5 things we can do to get the deep relaxation we need.
1. Abdominal Breathing
I have introduced abdominal breathing in my other post on how to calm down from anxiety or panic attacks.
A quick Guide to Abdominal Breathing:
Breath in using the nose, and out using the mouth.
The whole breathing cycle is within 15 seconds.
Breath in 3 – 5 seconds (feel your belly pumping up).
Hold your breath for 1 second at the top.
Slowly exhale the air (belly shrinking) for another 3 to 5 seconds.
Hold your breath for another second.
Abdominal breathing can help us to slow down breathing rhythm and be more mindful of our bodies. We can practice abdominal breathing in between work or study sessions to relax. My favorite habit is to do 10 minutes of abdominal breathing in the morning or before I sleep. It makes me feel calm and have a clearer mind.
2. Practice Jacobson’s Relaxation Technique
Dr. Edmund Jacobson was an American physician and a physiologist. He was the creator of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique.
Progressive Music Relaxation focuses on tightening and relaxing specific muscle groups in sequence. By concentrating on each of your body areas, you can become more aware of your body and physical sensations.
The whole process will take about 15 minutes. We can do it during work or study breaks. While relaxing the muscles, we could also relax our minds fully.
A Quick Guide to Progressive Music Relaxation:
First, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take 5 slow deep breaths and relax.
Start with a muscle group. Focus on the body area while tightening the muscle. Tighten your muscle as much as possible for 5 seconds. You need to feel the tensity from the muscle, but don’t strain.
Notice the tension in your muscle. Then release while slowly exhaling the air.
Be mindful of the difference in the muscles before and after the tightening. You should feel relaxed upon release and stay in the state for 15 seconds.
Then, move on to the next muscle group.
Repeat the steps.
When you first start practicing, you can follow this order on the tightening of each muscle group:
- Lift your toes upwards / pull your toes downward.
- Tense your calf muscles
- Squeeze your buttocks
- Contract your abdominal muscles
- Clench your fists
- Tense your arm muscles
- Raise your shoulders to your ears.
- Open your mouth wide
- Close your eyes tightly
- Raise your eyebrows
The technique can help us to calm down instantly. And with more practice, we can develop a memory of our muscles and breathing, which can help us to calm down easier in long term.
3. A 15 – 30 Minutes Daily Power Nap
A daily 15-30 minutes nap can help you to restore your energy quickly. It can also help to boost your memory and get ready for afternoon work/study sessions.
However, a nap longer than 30 minutes will have an adverse effect!
We all have the days when we slept too long in the afternoon and felt extreme fatigue and groggy. When you entered deep sleep, your mind will take longer to recover and back to alert mode. Must watch out for the balance!
Close your eyes and imagine you are in a calm and relaxing scene.
You are standing on the beach, wiggling your toes in the sand. All you can feel is the coolness in the calm ocean breeze, and hear the wave crashing against the shore. You look out into the distance. The sky is blue and peaceful.
You can play some soft music or nature sound to help with the visualization.
Engage all your senses – What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell?
Think about the scenery that will make you feel relaxed and calm. If visualizing in your mind is a little difficult, you can also look up some natural photos, and imagine.
When you are visualizing, you will feel more calm and relaxed. And when you are feeling calmer inside, your body will be relaxed slowly as well.
5. Manage Your Work and Relaxation Time
Lastly, relaxation time needs our planning and management as well.
Look at your daily/weekly schedule, do you have sufficient relaxation time? Put in some compulsory relaxation time in the daily routine from today.
If you feel tired, it’s your body giving you the signs that you are burned out. You need to balance your work and body. To rest is to prepare for a long journey ahead. Always put your mental health as a priority.
Share with me in the comments which tips would you try out today!
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