There are some days when feel tired and heavy and all you can think about is crawling back in bed. However, these symptoms can indicate either inertia or fatigue and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, especially when it’s cold and dark outside much of the time and half of the world’s creatures are sleeping it off until spring. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to figure out if you need a workout or a nap:
1. How many days has it been since I’ve exercised? If it’s been more than three, chances are you have been overcome by inertia. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and the longer you wait, the harder it is to get yourself moving again. It’s okay to skip a day here and there, but regular exercise keeps us fine-tuned and ready to race.
2. How much sleep have I had the past few nights? If you’ve been up with sick children, or burning the candle at both ends for work or play, then you are dealing with real fatigue. Eight hours is the recommended daily allowance of sleep, and some of us need even more than that.
3. How much stress have I been under? If the answer is “more than is sustainable in the long term” then you may be dealing with a combination of fatigue and inertia. Lots of work and no play (or exercise) does not do a body good, and can lead to illness if allowed to continue unchecked. Try to find ways to add physical exertion to your day: climb stairs instead of riding in the elevator, grab a quick walk or workout at lunch hour, meet a friend and go for a stroll before (or instead of) having a glass of wine. Add some stress-reducing techniques such as taking a long, hot bath, stretching, meditating, or deep breathing with your eyes closed.
Feeling lethargic and tired is no fun, but it is a very effective way for the body to send the message that something needs to happen. It’s up to us to take a minute and really listen to that message. With a quick checklist of the right questions, you’re sure to get the right answer and then make the right move to feel better fast.
This week, I am participating in a blog chain sponsored by the National Writing For Children Center, http://writingforchildrencenter.com/. Please visit the next link in the blog chain, by nurse and writer Terri Forehand, www.Terri-forehand.blogspot.com.