Do you feel exhausted no matter how much rest you get? It turns out, some of the things you do every day could be sapping your energy without you realizing it. Sure, you can just down another cup of coffee to give you a boost, but you may also want to find out what’s draining you. And these habits could be to blame.
- Watching emotionally charged TV shows - Binge-watching high-intensity shows can lead to mental exhaustion because we imagine ourselves experiencing the same things the characters do. It’s called trait identification and it can happen with both positive and negative emotions and once we come down from the overstimulation, we may have low energy. The fix? Being mindful about the entertainment you watch and how it makes you feel.
- Working at a messy desk - That cluttered environment could make it harder to pay attention and distract us, which means it takes longer to finish work, so we’re using more mental focus and energy to do it. The fix? Tidying up so you have everything you need in its place.
- Having too many tabs open - Another surprising energy suck is having an excessive number of open tabs on your computer. It not only drains your laptop battery, it also puts your brain into overdrive. The fix? Instead of using up mental energy by bouncing from tab to tab, only open what you need in front of you right now.
- Slouching - Poor posture can deplete energy levels by putting more pressure on the body’s muscles, joints and ligaments, so the body has to use more energy to compensate. The fix? Adjusting your posture can help you feel more alert and an ergonomic office chair or cushion can help with that.
- Not dimming the lights at night - Bright lights tell our brain it’s still daytime, which stops it from releasing the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. The fix? As the sun goes down, dim the lights to signal to your brain that bedtime is soon so your sleep-wake cycle stays on track.
- Letting little tasks pile up - Putting off things like texting someone back, changing a lightbulb or making a doctor’s appointment can overload your mental load and that can be distracting and mentally draining. The fix? If something takes less than five minutes, do it right away. And if that’s not practical, rely on a to-do list to give you peace of mind you’ll deal with the tasks eventually, then spend time every week checking off the items on the list.
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