Why are you always tired

Let’s face it. There is one question that I ask myself almost every day, and I think I know the answer but I never do anything to change the situation.

So eventually I Googled it.

And before I even typed the complete question, the suggested keyword told me I wasn’t the only one facing the same problem:

Now I feel better.

So, today we are going to look into why, from mental health angle, are we always tired, and what to do about it. For physical health-related causes like sleep, nutrition or food intolerances, consult your GP.

Why are you always tired?

1 Are you stressed?

There was a period when I experienced constant restlessness. I felt fairly energetic all day and my mind just wouldn’t stop spinning when I was lying on bed after midnight. If you are experiencing a high stress level, or you are anxious about something, it not only makes you harder to fall asleep, but also you feel more exhausted the next day. When you don’t cope with stress, it creates a vicious loop and you will soon feel drained physically and mentally.

2 What are you consuming every day?

No I’m not talking about your food intake.

I’m referring to the news and social media content you consume every day.

How does that affect our health?

First off, it stirs emotions inside us, sometimes without us noticing. Most news, by definition, are things you have never heard of before. Though neutral, the majority of the news we consume today are negative.

“Confirmed cases broke record since May 2020.”

“Riots didn’t stop since last weekend.”

It is never ending.

We need to use social media more intentionally nowadays, in case we fall into the comparison trap.

Everything we consume affects us and shapes our worldviews. Sometimes we feel depressed, sometimes we feel angry or hopeless.

How can our health not be affected by that?

No wonder we are mentally exhausted. It is almost toxic.

3 Are you in a rut?

Maybe you are tired because you are stuck in a loop. A really boring one in which you lost all the motivation and passion already. It might be your job – you are not productive, you are only doing the bare minimum to get through the days, or it might be an established routine that you stopped questioning anything. It leaves you feeling exhausted and dreaded emotionally.

4 Are you feeling burned out?

Similar to being in a rut, sometimes we just feel so exhausted to do anything. It’s completely normal. We can shamelessly write a few nights off and just chill.

Today I don’t feel like doing anything 

I just wanna lay in my bed

The Lazy Song, Bruno Mars

However, if this feeling persists or occurs frequently, it is time for you to pause and reflect. Now, it doesn’t necessarily means you are experiencing burnout, but it is worth looking at some common symptoms to make prevention.

According to Helpguide.org, burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. If you feel overwhelmed or hopeless, lonely, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands, it might be signals that you are experiencing burnout. You feel tired and drained most of the time. It not only affects your mental stability, but also your energy and physical health. Basically it affects all aspects of your life.

This does sound depressing. What can we do about that?

Journey to a happier, more energetic life

1 Dealing with stress

A healthy dose of stress is okay for your body and mind. Human beings are highly resilient. However, everyone has different reactions to stress and it varies how much stress is considered to be “too much to handle”. In the psychology and treatment fields, the window of tolerance is a term commonly used to describe this zone in which we are able to function most effectively with a necessary amount of arousal. In the zone we will be capable of readily receiving and processing information, which means carrying on our daily lives without difficulty. We are present, calm and safe in the optimum zone. However, if we are hyper-aroused, we experience panic attack symptoms – increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and it is when the fight or flight response is triggered. On the other hand, when we are hypo-aroused, we feel numb, lack of energy. We might even try to shut down. While this concept more commonly used in post-traumatic stress, it is still a useful idea to understand how our body and mind work. We can always strive for a balance in our emotions and nervous system. We want to be emotionally regulated, and be able to take care of ourselves emotionally.

To stay within your window of tolerance, here’s a couple of general tips:

  • Practise mindfulness – be present
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Be aware of your body sensation
  • Be aware of your thoughts
  • Be active

If you are looking for the exact methods and techniques, consult a healthcare professional.

2 Selective ignorance

Be more aware of what you consume on a daily basis. They surely can make or break you.

To become energetic again in life, you need to set boundaries.

Be ruthless about setting those boundaries to protect your energy, focus and time.

Selective ignorance is a concept that describes tuning into what really matters to you and completely cut other information off. Just like diet, you are quite literally what you eat. The outcomes differ a lot when you have a balanced diet comparing to one full of junk food.

If you care about what others think and you compare your life to others’, you can start practising selective ignorance by limiting time spent on social media. If you have developed this scrolling habit and it has become an addiction, at least try not to scroll your phone before you sleep, or first thing in the morning. It is going to help, and it is one tiny first step you can do for yourself to feel less exhausted mentally. Why would you sabotage yourself all the time?

If you care about what’s going on around the world, set boundaries by limiting time spent on reading or listening to news. If it is impossible, ask yourself: what can I control? Most probably you have no control over that. So why give a care? Back in 2019 I used to refresh the news sites and the Telegram channels all the time that put my constantly on the edge. It was really back for both physical and mental health, since those information kept my mind spinning and I was feeling restless. We all like some control in life. However you will notice that there is little control you have over the world, and the most you can do is to control your mind, your emotions and reactions. And then the world will change – because you shifted perspectives.

3 Get out of a rut

Sometimes we are tired of life. We want to press pause and take a break. We are tired of the boring routine, the uneventful everyday life and we feel unmotivated to even get out of bed.

If you had all the time in the world, I would suggest doing nothing and let yourself sink low enough to a point you can’t even stand yourself. That was what I used to do when I didn’t have a job. But when you don’t have time – for example you only have 1-2 days off before you need to get back to the routine – I would say just to relax a bit, and find something you absolutely enjoy doing. Not just guilty pleasure, but your hobbies and interests. Love making cocktails? Do it. Enjoy hiking? Now you have a reason to get up. If you really don’t feel like doing anything, call your friends and let them plan some activities. A board game night sounds perfect to chill and create bondings with loved ones. If you need some stimulation and excitement in life, tweak your routine. Have your usual walk in a new suburb. Drive a new route. Pay attention to the new, unfamiliar environment and how you are feeling. Before you know it, you are looking forward to little things in life again.

Once in a while, we all need a little break. Tell yourself that it is okay to do nothing from time to time.

4 Seek support, set boundaries to avoid burnout

If you think you are experiencing burnout symptoms, consult your GP for the next steps. To prevent burnout, you need to understand yourself better. What is your stress tolerance level? What triggers you? When do you feel anxious? How does stress affect your performance and productivity?

Answering all these questions will help you gain more clarity of your boundaries. When there are warning signs – your physical and mental reactions – showing up, you know it is time to step back. Take a break, seek support, and hit reset. You need to protect your energy. By setting boundaries and some rules for yourself (e.g. not checking emails after 7pm), you will be able to cope with your workload, your emotions and adjust your lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

You only have one life to live. It will be a shame to feel exhausted, frustrated and tired all the time. Spend some time observing, analysing and understanding yourself, and you will be able to craft out a lifestyle that best suits you – one that keeps you energetic, motivated and hopeful.

Interested to know more tips about improving mental health? Check out this blog post here. Remember, it is a journey. Take your own pace, and enjoy the ride.