Adam Bergen |
Think about this: you just spent a day at work, and you’ve thought all afternoon about how you want to tackle a goal that’s been on the back-burner all week.
As the day wears on and you make your way home, you tell yourself over and over like a broken record how you need to put your head down, so to speak, and finally get around to doing that one thing you need to do.
You get home, put your bag down, and… fast-forward a few hours. Before you know it, it’s time for bed.
Well, you lost all the energy you needed; your mind effectively gave up before you even started.
A lack of energy can go beyond feeling physically tired, it can permeate into what’s known as “mental tiredness”. And it’s a real thing, affecting almost everyone for various reasons. But what if I told you it’s completely possible to tackle it? All it takes is realizing some of the sources of your lack of energy and finding ways to work with it.
Let’s go through the real causes of lack of energy and your desire to dip into tired territory:
1. An Unfulfilling Job
Everyone knows they spend at least eight hours a day at their job for generally five days a week. If you think about it closely though, you’ll realize that this 40 hours a week translates to about 88 full days a year you’re at your job.
We’re talking 88 straight 24-hour days worth of work in a year. That’s about 25% of your entire existence, not including sleep, spent at your job. That’s a lot of time.
So if your job is unfulfilling to you, no wonder your mental fortitude takes the biggest beating.
Unfulfilling can also mean several things:
- You could hate your job.
- You could somewhat enjoy it but not be learning anything.
- You could dislike your job but get paid well.
- You could think your job is OK but you’re bored with it.
There’re many more situations, so inevitably the question gets asked: how do I know if my job is unfulfilling? And my answer is always the same:
You’ll know when your cup isn’t being filled, so to speak.
And it’s pretty important to determine if it’s not, and begin to implement changes to fill it up.
Why? Dire news: a recent study found a direct link between job satisfaction and mental health. Those who reported less satisfaction with their jobs suffered from higher bouts of depression and sleep difficulty.
Do you want to be in this category? Or are you already?
2. Overwhelming Task List
Got stuff to do? Great, so does everyone else.
Got a lot of stuff to do? You’re not alone.
You open your task list, whether it’s pen and paper or on your phone, ready to start checking items off your list. You sip your coffee, sit down, and almost fall backwards off your chair when you realize you’ve got about 18 things to do in the next five hours.
And this may be a contributing factor to your lack of energy. Feeling overwhelmed is a quick way to feeling burned out. When we feel like we have too many things to do, we tend to freeze (or have what’s called workload paralysis) because we don’t know what to tackle first.
This feeling continues, and before you know it, the entire day has gone by and we’ve filled our time doing everything but what we need to do; in other words, we do nothing of importance.
Then as the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, we come to the harsh realization we didn’t really achieve all the things we set out to do. It’s a defeating feeling when we don’t think we’re capable of achieving much.
The defeating attitude is a vicious cycle too – you start by feeling overwhelmed, don’t do anything about it, then waste time before feeling defeated – and a fast track to a mental burnout.
3. Being a “Yes” Man or Woman
“Hey, want to go catch a movie?”
“Want to come over?”
“Can you pick me up from the airport?”
“Want to grab dinner?”
If you’re a yes person, no doesn’t exist in your personal dictionary. The problem is, it should.
If you’re spending all your time doing everything everyone else wants but no time doing the things you want, you won’t get much accomplished in your life. Just like in the above example, when you realize months later you didn’t get very far, you tend to become defeated, which ultimately leads to feeling mentally exhausted.
The good news is you can become a “no” person whenever you feel like it, and in turn start accomplishing the things you want. But if you’re used to saying yes, it’s not an easy thing to suddenly switch gears.
Being able to focus on yourself gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment and in turn helps your mental state; it’s OK to be selfish with yourself.
4. No Hobbies or Passions
Hobbies and passions are what fuel us to do great things. In many cases, they lead you to your life’s purpose. At worst, they give you an incredible sense of fulfillment and source of happiness in your life.
When your job gets tough, it’s important to have an outlet to focus on. When your job isn’t aligned with your passions or purpose, it’s especially important to have an outlet to apply your skills and excitement towards. In fact, having something to put your attention towards can help provide your life with direction and meaning.
And in a roundabout way, focusing on hobbies or passions can ultimately improve your work or family life. All this to say: you’re a much better person, especially mentally, when you apply yourself towards things which interest you.
When you don’t have any source of motivation to work towards, you become tired of dealing with the everyday mundane things which life throws at you. And then you become annoyed and yet again, defeated.
The Bottom Line
Feeling tired from a lack of sleep is one thing. Feeling tired because work isn’t fulfilling, you have no hobbies or passions, you stretch yourself thin, or you feel overwhelmed is another thing.
It’s important to know the difference and work towards defeating the lack of energy you may be feeling.
The four sources listed above are a starting point for you in your quest. There are many more, but these comprise some of the biggest.
Now is the time to go on the offensive and not only get rest so you’re physically fit, but get rest so you’re mentally fit as well.
Adam Bergen is the founder of Monday Views, a movement dedicated to showing that with focus and self-discipline, your potential is limitless. This Article was first published in lifehack.org .