According to a blog post written recently by Kendall Jenner, the model and reality TV star was hospitalized this year due to exhaustion. It's no secret that Jenner works extraordinarily hard, but being overworked can happen to anyone — so learning how to prevent exhaustion is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Good self-0care will help you stay healthy and make it through even the toughest moments without your body shutting down on you as a way to urge you to stop.
Exhaustion, also known as burnout or fatigue, is a valid and serious medical condition that physically and mentally manifests itself in ways with which we're likely all familiar. Feeling excessively tired or chronically stressed are some common indicators of exhaustion; oftentimes, it can even affect people in serious physical symptoms like muscle stiffness, shortness of breath, or irregularity in your heartbeat. Sometimes, exhaustion can be caused by an underlying disease that has to do with your thyroid, iron levels, or other metabolic abnormalities, in which case it's important to consult a physician. But even if your exhaustion doesn't come from a disease or infection, it can still cause insomnia or over-sleeping, loss of appetite or over-eating, and basically disrupt bodily functions that are supposed to prevent you from, well, getting so tired you can't function.
So how do you prevent yourself from getting to that point? Try incorporating these five tips into your daily routine to keep feelings of being over-worked, stressed, and too tired for life at bay.
1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
If there truly exists a fountain of youth somewhere on this majestic planet, its liquid contents would definitely include water, because there is nothing water can't help. When you're dehydrated, your blood thickens, and when your blood thickens, your heart has to pump harder to carry blood to your organs, thus causing fatigue and tiredness. Chronic dehydration can easily lead to chronic exhaustion, because not only is your heart pumping harder, but moreover, energy-carrying nutrients aren't flowing freely through your body. This makes it harder for your muscles to access their energy supply. If you are someone who forgets to drink water or doesn't carry a water bottle around regularly, there are lots of water-rich foods that can also keep you hydrated like yogurt, broccoli, carrots, watermelons, and oranges. Check your hydration levels throughout the day by noting the color of your pee. If it's a lighter yellow or clear, it means you're doing a good job keeping hydrated, but if it's a darker amber, you need much more water in your system.
2. Cut Your Caffeine Intake
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you drink a cup of coffee before noon and another cup any time after noon, you're probably drinking too much coffee. Drinking too much coffee throughout the day can certainly cause brief spurts of attention, but will ultimately cause the quality of your sleep to suffer, not to mention caffeine addiction. There's also a lot of talk about how coffee can dehydrate you, and while this isn't necessarily true, coffee can be a diuretic and cause you to loose some fluid from your body via pee or bowel movements. Also, quick note: Decaf still has some caffeine, folks!
3. Eat Every Three to Four Hours
Having small, healthy meals every couple of hours can keep your blood sugar from plummeting, thereby helping you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Web MD recommends incorporating healthy fats, proteins, and carbs into each mini-meal for boosting and sustaining energy levels in your body and brain.
Exhaustion can manifest itself physically, but it can just as often manifest itself mentally. Editor-in-chief of the Harvard Health Letter Anthony Komaroff suggests discussing negative feelings with another person instead of bottling them in; once they're out in the open, they won't drain you as much, he says. For many people like myself, even when the person listening doesn't have a solution to my problem, venting helps relieve the weight of the burden. Other people, however, may seek guidance; venting to a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can be just as good as venting to a friend. For those who don't like to vent, journaling or blogging can be an excellent way to alleviate stress and anxiety that may be causing mental exhaustion.
5. Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!
Sleep alone, sleep with your best friend, sleep with your dog, sleep with your partner — it doesn't matter as long as you're sleeping. Sleep deprivation has been known not only to cause exhaustion (both physical and mental), but alter your mood, compromise your concentration, and make you more apathetic, all of which can also be attributed to general exhaustion. Getting that full seven to nine hours of sleep — and yes, I mean seven to nine hours, not six-hours-but-I-was-in-bed-for-two-hours-on-Instagram —can make significant improvements to your energy levels.