We are more tired now than we have ever been. Between stressful jobs and the demands of home and family it seems like we aren’t just running on empty, the gas gauge has disappeared into oblivion. But what do you do when you aren’t just tired, you lack physical and emotional motivation too? You might be struggling with fatigue. Where tiredness is resolved after a good night’s sleep, fatigue persists, robbing you of your energy and desire to do much of anything. So, how do you put a pep back into your step when you’re running on fumes?

1. Go to bed.

While fatigue may not be cured with a single good night’s rest, the effects of getting enough sleep are cumulative. Most Americans walk around chronically sleep deprived, getting between 5 and 6 hours of sleep each night. In reality, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep at night for maximum health benefits. However, it’s not just the length of time you sleep, but the quality as well. Be sure to power down your devices 30 minutes before bed to allow your brain to transition to sleep peacefully.

2. Get up and move!

We can almost hear your eye roll. Yes, we’re telling you to get enough rest, but you also need to be sure to get enough exercise as well. Exercising 3 to 4 days per week not only helps you control your weight, but it also has a host of other fatigue-busting benefits. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can:

  • Improve your sleep quality
  • Fight depression and anxiety
  • Boost your energy levels and mood
  • Help you manage stress

Best of all, you don’t need a gym membership to yield all of these benefits. Take a brisk walk, go for a bike ride, hit the local pickleball courts, or go paddle boarding for exercise that feels more like a vacation.

3. Mind your meals.

Not to beat a dead metaphor, but if your body is a machine, it needs fuel. Not cold coffee and leftover chicken nuggets, but actual food. Eating several small meals throughout the day will help you maintain your energy levels. Be sure to include vegetables, fruit and lean protein with each meal and avoid processed sugars.

4. Reduce stress.

Yes, it is easier said than done, but reducing stress has benefits that go beyond fighting fatigue. Chronic stress can lead to muscle pain, stomach problems, an inability to focus, as well as fatigue. Even if you can’t quit your job and move to a remote island, you can learn to manage your stress levels with mindfulness, meditation, and massage. Others find their zen with neurofeedback, a non-invasive treatment that helps retrain your brain to process stimuli.

5. Practice gratitude.

Saying “thank you”, recognizing the good in your life, or even listing the things you are grateful for has been scientifically linked to a greater level of happiness. More happiness means less stress, better sleep, and even better diet and exercise choices. Take a few minutes to think about three things you are grateful for at different points in your day and enjoy the energy boost.

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