As a Depressed Person™, I spend a lot of time being tired. Having low energy and messed up sleeping patterns are two major symptoms of depression (and lots of mental illnesses), and this is definitely something that impacts me.
Being so sleepy makes my life really hard at times. I have to ration my energy and carefully plan my day so I don’t end up taking a nap in the supermarket car park (which may have happened before).
If you suffer from depression sleep, low energy, or whatever you like to call this symptom, you’ll understand that it is way worse than just being tired from not getting enough sleep or having a big day. It pretty much turns you into a giant baby/zombie who can’t function at all.
By no means have I got this under control, but with the help of my counsellor who keeps telling me to “take breaks” and “put myself first” (crazy, right?) I am learning to manage my feelings of exhaustion to keep me productive for longer, so I thought I would share some of my strategies with you, in the hope that some of these techniques work for you too!
My first strategy is to always eat breakfast. This is especially important if I have to leave the house, or worse, park far away from somewhere and walk to my destination. It doesn’t matter if you make yourself an acai bowl or just chug a bottle of juice, having something in your tummy will make you feel a million times better. You might not notice the difference that eating breakfast makes, but you will definitely notice if you don’t. I never feel up to cooking as soon as I wake up, so I usually just make myself a smoothie which helps a bunch to pick up my energy levels.
While we’re talking about food, make sure you take time to stop for snacks. Food is fuel, and this is one of the best ways to maintain your energy throughout the day. If I know I’m going out for a few hours I make sure to pack a few snacks in my bag, or make sure that some food stops are planned in. Sure, this isn’t the most fun and carefree way to live your life, but it helps me so much. A lot of the time when I start feeling hopeless and tired a bit of food can help me out of that.
As hard as it may be, take breaks. I can sometimes find it hard to take breaks because I feel like I’m wasting time, or if I’m already low on energy I am being too stubborn to admit that I need a time out. But something as simple as sitting down for ten minutes can give yourself just enough time to rest and regroup. Even if you need a nap or a few hours to get yourself back on track – just do it. Everything else can wait.
Try listening to your body, too. A few days ago I was feeling tired, grumpy, and just very awful. It took me stomping upstairs and flinging myself onto the bed for some quiet time to realise that the reason I felt so terrible was because my stomach was upset. And once I knew the problem, I could fix it with a cup of ginger tea and some hugs. After this I had loads more energy, and even made burgers for dinner, which wouldn’t have been possible if my pre-tea tantrum had endured.
My last tip that I like to implement when all else has failed is to treat myself like an old lady. Some people might like to flip this and treat themselves like a toddler. Whichever way you like it, the point of this exercise is to take care of yourself the way you would an old lady (or man) or a little kid. For me the old lady thing works, because I need lots of rest stops and lots of cups of tea and I get tired very easily. But what the old lady needs, the old lady gets, which ends up leaving me feeling loads better at the end of the day.
I hope you enjoyed these tips! If you have another other energy-boosting techniques that work leave them in the comments below!