Have you ever had one of those days where you didn’t do anything physically, or even mentally, exhausting, but you feel completely drained and exhausted by the end of the day. These are the days that can easily make you feel like you are in the wrong job, aren’t good enough or are completely out of balance. I had one of these days recently, and just felt so exhausted by the end of the day. My caseload had been pretty easy, I had plenty of sleep the night before and I didn’t do any extra work that day. By the end of the day, though, I was too exhausted to make dinner, go for a walk or really be of much company to anyone.
It kind of sucked.
I often find that the days I sit at my computer, typing, for hours at a time are the most exhausting ones. The days where I am up and moving, or in and out of my office, are the days when I feel energized and ready to do more after work. Sometimes, it can also be a really tough caseload or overbooking my students. But other times, it has nothing to do with the work itself.
You might find that it’s not the work you are doing, but the way you are experiencing your work day that is taking a toll on you, physically and mentally. Your posture, the meals you are or aren’t eating, and what you are drinking might all be things that can zap or give you energy. If you often feel exhausted at the end of the day, try these 4 tips for more energy.
- Swap coffee for water, or at the least, tea.
- Caffeine can be just what you need at certain times of the day. It provides a little invigoration, helps wake you up, and studies even show it helps to give you more mental clarity and focus. But overdoing caffeine can do the exact opposite. You might find your energy plummets, you feel jittery and nervous, and you suddenly feel scatter-brained.The best thing to do is to drink more water, whether or not you cut back on coffee. This will help you to stay hydrated and flush out any symptoms you might accidentally have from over-caffeinating. Try swapping out coffee for some caffeine-free or low-caffeine drinks instead. Tea is also a great option, hot or cold, if you need a little boost or flavor, without the huge crash from coffee. Go for a cup of coffee in the morning and a chai or green tea latte in the afternoons.
- Find some down time.
- Work can be all about productivity. If you aren’t helping clients and making money for the facility (or yourself), it might not seem like time well spent. Unfortunately, this type of go-go-go attitude can lead you to burn out, quickly. If you don’t have time to recharge at work, you won’t be able to keep up the pace, stay focused and get done what needs to get done, as efficiently.Have you ever had a day with no breaks and a million things to do, only to find yourself staring blankly at your computer screen, not focusing during your sessions and feeling completely disorganized with your paperwork? Instead of rushing around and doing a million things at once, take 5 minutes to grab a cup of tea, stretch, go for a walk, etc. You’ll be a little more clear headed, have more energy flowing through your body and be more ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
- Get up and move during the day.
- Sitting at a desk, in one spot during the day can really start to wear on you. NPR recently released an article showcasing just how many hours we sit during a day, and how it can affect your overall health more and more as you age. It’s not just your risk of heart disease, diabetes or weight gain, but also your body actually starting to age and tighten into a “sitting” stance. In yoga, sitting is done during meditation, with a tall spine, so energy and breath can travel through the body as you sit, and your digestive system is uncompromised and able to do its job. This is rarely the way we sit during the day at work. We tend to slump, slouch and cave in a bit. If you find it hard to sit with good posture, or find yourself sitting all day, you might notice your energy levels slump, you breath is more shallow and you feel sluggish and tired.To help combat this, take 5 minutes after every few sessions to get up and move. Walk to grab more water or tea or a bathroom break, do some push-ups and squats at your work station with your desk and chair or even just get up and stretch. You’ll release tension, lengthen your spine and breath deeper, so you start to feel more energized, focused and ready for the next patient or student to walk through your door.
- Eat Something.
- When you are busy and stressed, one of the easiest things to forget is to take a break and eat. When I was working in the schools, I would often have just a few moments to grab my lunch, or eat a snack during my morning and afternoon. I was constantly hungry and has a stomach ache every day. I also felt exhausted and foggy-headed on a regular basis. Most teachers and health care workers I know ate even less than that. Many would wait until the end of work to eat, or just drink coffee all day and have a really big dinner at night. Coincidentally, these were some of the people who were either super stressed or in really poor health.
- Without nourishment from food, your body and brain are not able to maintain the energy and focus needed to get you through your work day. You r body needs the carbs and protein to maintain the proper energy levels throughout the day. Your brain needs healthy fats (like those in nuts) to function properly. All of these help to combat the feelings of mental fatigue and physical exhaustion we experience throughout the day. Not eating during the day, or not getting enough calories, can also send your metabolism into “starvation mode”. This means your body thinks you are trying to fast for the long winter, so it slows down and hold on to everything it can. It can cause you to gain weight or have a difficult time maintaining your weight, even though you feel like you never eat. Make sure you have scheduled breaks for meals and snacks, even just a few minutes, so you are able to make a proper meal or snack to fuel you through your day. Have fresh fruits, nuts and whole grains nearby, so you’ll have something even on the shortest of breaks.
If you are feeling drained by the end of the day, give these a try. See which one might be affecting you the most and try to make a small change each day to increase your energy level. Leave a comment and share what works for you. You can help keep track of your energy levels with the “Daily Check-in” journal page found in the SLP Toolbox (subscribe below).
If you are still feeling exhausted and want to dig deeper into it, schedule a consultation with me to help discuss it and set some goals. The more awake and alive you feel at the end of a work day, the better you will feel after work and looking ahead to the next day.