16 science-based habits that restore


You wake up for another day of work and log into your computer. The first thing to appear on the screen: your long to-do list. Seeing this immediately cancels out any little energy you might have had for the morning.

Now you are looking for what could help you. You don’t really have time to prepare breakfast. The coffee is not working. You don’t know how you’re going to make real progress. Where the fuck is that charger?

Feeling exhausted can be linked to sustained mental, physical or emotional stress. During times of stress, high levels of cortisol can interfere with the functioning of your whole body. But don’t worry, there are plenty of workarounds!

Research indicates that restorative activities like meditation, exercise and spend time in a natural environment can improve physical and mental energy while reducing the risk of developing stress-associated illnesses.

Here are some handy ways to recharge yourself and identify some of your major battery drains.

When your mental or physical battery is dead, you need to unplug from draining activities and plugging into recharging activities.

Mental recharge

Everyone gets exhausted sometimes, but what drains and recharges each of us is very personal. Start noticing which activities are leaving you exhausted so that you can choose the best activity to counter the exhaustion.

If attending Zoom meetings makes you feel like you’re ready to break down, maybe the loneliness outside is your personal boost. If sitting all day causes you to slump, take regular breaks to stretch or sweat.

No top-up works for everyone and your solutions may vary from day to day. Load up with a marathon of your favorite TV show today and a nature walk tomorrow. Focus on what’s right for you.

The goal should not be to eliminate strenuous activities altogether, but to incorporate restorative activities into your routine so that you do not reach the “stop” stage. If you know the week is full of meetings, spread your favorite recharging activities throughout the program.

Don’t let long stretches of strenuous activity dominate your week, and then try to recharge your batteries all weekend. You will certainly feel the imbalance.

Strenuous activities aren’t necessarily unhealthy or bad, but if you’re too overwhelmed to figure out how to unplug, it’s time to think about tweaking the big things for more balance. It can mean having a vulnerable conversation with your boss, partner, or therapist to brainstorm new options and get yourself out of the low battery rut.

Once you start paying attention to what is draining you and what is feeding you, you’ll notice right away if things are out of balance.

Your ability to rest can be a good indicator of your ability to deal with everyday stress. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re getting enough sleep and still feeling exhausted, it’s a good sign that you need to move some traffic jams through your day.

Sleeping too much or too little can also be a sign that you need more restorative activities.

If charging doesn’t seem to be working, an underlying medical condition could be slowing you down. Conditions that cause fatigue include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • Sleep Apnea
  • chronic infection or inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • heart disease
  • persistent pain
  • chronic fatigue syndrome

A doctor can diagnose and treat these and any other problems that can contribute to fatigue. Asking for help for your lack of energy can be the most powerful step you can take to feel better.

When you can’t recharge your batteries on your own, contact your doctor or therapist or dive into one of these resources:

It takes time to understand exactly what is wearing you down and experimenting with ways to recharge. Pat yourself on the back for taking the first step: noticing where your energy leaks are.

If consistent personal care habits don’t give you the boost you need, look a little deeper. Talking to a doctor or therapist about how you are feeling isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a big step towards helping you live and work better.

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