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3 Ways To Prevent Seasonal Fatigue

Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button increasingly more as the mornings begin to get chillier? Does an IV drip of caffeine sound like a good idea? Are you feeling a tinge of bitter disdain for those freaks of nature who have already knocked out a 5-mile run, showered, dressed (well), and tackled morning emails by 6am.

As the seasons’ change and the days get shorter, it can be a struggle to feel zippy in the mornings. Particularly when your morning commute is looking progressively more gray and dim. Seasonal fatigue does not mesh well with our busy, modern schedules.

Humans were not designed to follow a schedule dictated by a clock or calendar. Our bodies are designed to sync to the universe, and our circadian rhythms are endogenously generated. Because of this, changing our cycle of energy and productivity is not as easy to change as a clock.

The bad news is, your boss is likely not going to change your workload or schedule because of your declining energy level. The good news is, there are a few things you can do to boost your energy levels during this time.

Here’s What You Can Do to Prevent Seasonal Fatigue:

Go Outside!

Cold or not, put on your favorite pair of overpriced boots, get outside and soak up the sunlight. Vitamin D levels can plummet when we do not get enough sun exposure, and low blood levels of Vitamin D can cause fatigue. A vitamin can only do so much…there is no substitute for what the sun does for us!

Getting less sun exposure will undoubtedly disrupt our circadian rhythm, increase your melatonin levels (sleep hormone) and increase your need for sleep and feelings of fatigue. Open the blinds, turn your desk to the window if possible, go for a walk at lunchtime, and find as many ways possible to get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure daily.

Optimize Sleep!

As tempting as the snooze button is, find a way to avoid it as 5 extra minutes of bliss will only make you feel more fatigued later! Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room, buy a second, more obnoxious alarm if need be to help get your heart racing and get you out of bed. Frolicking whilst enveloped in soft, warm bedding may be incredibly tempting, but oversleeping can make you feel wiped out the next day and make the challenge even harder.

Alarmy

If you are a chronic snoozer, check out the Alarmy App! This app creates all sorts of innovative ways to force you to wake up in order to turn your alarm off! Equal parts brilliant and evil as one option is to solve a math problem.

There are other less evil options…

Try to establish habits like going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day, even on the weekends. Set healthy boundaries with your loved ones and your technological devices to ensure you are getting a bare minimum of 7 hours of undisturbed sleep each night. And lastly, stop consuming caffeine from 5 pm on to avoid disrupting your body’s energy cycle.

Workout!

Kristy Mox – Turkish Get-Up

When you are struggling to make it through the workday because of low energy, the last thing you feel like doing is hitting the gym on your way home from work.

Do it anyway!

What I suggest is committing to at least stopping at the gym, even if all you do is spend 5 minutes changing your clothes, use the bathroom and walk back out. Chances are, once you are there, your energy will shift, and you will feel more motivated. And if all you can muster on that day is one good Turkish Get-Up or 5 minutes of walking on the treadmill, consider it a success as you are still grooving the habit of getting there.

There is always a workaround!

If you can’t come up with one, I promise I can help you with that!

Please know that while many people experience seasonal fatigue as months get colder and darker, it’s not usually anything to be alarmed about. However, if your struggle is less of an annoyance and more debilitating, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or something more serious. I suggest you see your doctor, have your bloodwork checked for deficiencies and make sure there aren’t any underlying physical or mental conditions causing your fatigue.

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Try Different, Not Harder

Oftentimes, when faced with a problem, we venture to solve it in a specific way. When that doesn’t work, we typically continue trying to solve the same problem in the exact same way…only harder.

We get frustrated. We try harder. We get more frustrated. We try way harder.

The whole approach is about as successful as crossing the finish line on a hamster wheel. The only way to stop is by hitting a wall.

HamsterWheel.gif

These valiant efforts take place in all areas of our lives, including relationships. With about the same success rate as we would have trying to fix a broken object with the wrong tools. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sure you can roll up your sleeves, utilize a myriad of tools and apply relentless efforts to shape that square peg to fit into the round hole. However, the more fitting (pun intended) solution would be to insert said peg into its corresponding hole.

At times it is appropriate to not to give up and to try harder. More often, the better route would be to let go, embrace acceptance and surrender. Miraculously the latter approach typically yields the desired results, without such an effort.

If something doesn’t work or doesn’t flow, maybe life is trying to tell you something. There is always a lesson to be learned in every life experience. Unfortunately, it isn’t always as glaringly obvious as a flashing neon sign.

…or NOT! Brains over brawn is an underrated approach.

Sometimes, the signs are subtle.

Sometimes something not working IS the sign!

If you find yourself struggling too much—Let Go. If you are venturing down a path of insanity by unsuccessful repeated efforts, you may be taking a wrong turn. 

Learn to recognize when something isn’t working. Let go, and let the path reveal itself to you. Answers and solutions emerge more clearly in the still of surrender as opposed to furious efforts.

If you are feeling stuck and the answers have not become clear to you, I would love to help you gain clarity and insight.

CLICK HERE to connect with me!

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Breathing and Anxiety

Anxiety is a physiological response to a stimulus which our bodies consider dangerous or life-threatening. Most people identify anxiety as an overwhelming sense of impending doom, sometimes resulting in shakiness, lightheadedness, chest pain, heart palpitations, tingling, visual, and auditory changes. The feelings may be so intense it can be mistaken for a heart attack.

When appropriately invoked, anxiety can be the driving force that helps us rise to many challenges. Unfortunately when this response is continuously triggered by less severe, day-to-day events, such as relationship problems, and concerns about money, career, friends or family.

Our emotions dramatically affect our breathing patterns, which in turn can intensify our emotions. It is a downward spiral that perpetuates itself, but the flipside is that our breathing pattern can also affect our feelings. This phenomenon gives us the power to take control of our emotions and how they affect us physically.

When living in a state of constant stress, our breathing patterns can become dysfunctional. We can get stuck breathing shallow and too quickly. Once this pattern becomes our new normal a lot of health problems can occur as a result such as high blood pressure, a compromised immune system, or depression and anxiety,

You have the power to control anxiety by learning how to breathe correctly!

For those of you who were taught that “good posture” means sucking it in and puffing out your chest, this will be a considerable challenge. Shallow “chest breathing” may feel normal to you, but it limits the diaphragm’s range of motion preventing the lowest part of the lungs from filling fully and getting a full dose of oxygenated air. Chest breathing can increase tension and anxiety, so it is well worth unlearning.

Chest Breathing is Bad.

Belly Breathing is Good.

When you breathe properly, the air coming in through your nose (not your mouth) fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises (not your chest, or shoulders). When you exhale correctly, you FULLY exhale ALL the air in your lungs. Doing this can feel crazy if you have never practiced this, so be gentle with yourself while you learn.

Diaphragmatic breathing can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.

 

.:Practicing Belly Breathing:.

Find a quiet, place to sit or lie down, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.

First, take a normal breath and observe the movement taking place in your chest, neck, shoulders, and abdomen. Then try a deep breath: inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully from the front and sides. Now breathe out slowly through your nose and exhale slightly longer than your inhale.

Once you have gotten comfortable, close your eyes and combine deep breathing with guided imagery or perhaps a focus word or phrase to help facilitate relaxation.

One tool I love to use when I struggle to focus is an app called Insight Timer.

There are are a myriad of relaxation techniques to try, but most importantly fine one that works for you. And if your practice begins to feel rote or ineffective, try something new. Just be sure to give each technique a chance before moving on…

Create a special place where you can sit (or lie down) comfortably and quietly. Schedule time and set a boundary, so you are not interrupted.

Practice. Progress. And remember, perfection is not attainable, so stop chasing it. Be kind and loving with yourself and allow yourself to enjoy this experience without judgment. Try to practice at the same time to enhance the sense of ritual and establish a habit.

Aim to practice about 10–20 minutes each day.
If 5 minutes is the best you can do, count that as a win!
There is no place for negativity in this practice!!

 

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Letting Go

We cannot move onto greater things when we continue to hold on to what no longer serves us.

People, possessions, behaviors, beliefs, attachments, ideas… All the things that once served an important purpose in our lives become the very things that hold us back when we refuse to let them go.

There cannot be a new beginning without an end. When we let go completely, we open ourselves up to infinite possibilities.