Have you ever felt this way:
Every day after get off work, I always feel exhausted, do not want to do anything, just want to be paralyzed;
Obviously I sit in the office every day and do nothing, but I feel exhausted physically and mentally;
I often feel that my brain is rusty, unable to turn, and I don’t want to think about it when encountering many problems;
It’s the weekend and I finally have time to study, but I still feel very tired. I often sleep, watch a show, and pass by without knowing it…
Are we really lazy most of the time? Actually not. Many times we always have various goals and things we want to do, but because of lack of energy, there is always no way to act.
Sometimes you may also feel confused: there is not much to do in a day, and there is no physical work, why do you have a lack of energy?
If you have been bothered by this problem, then today, I want to talk to you:
With a lot of work and high workload and intensity, how can you stay energized and not feel tired?
Many people have always had a misunderstanding about rest. What is the misunderstanding?
1) Be focused when you work. The longer you can focus on work, the better. Wait until everything is done before you go to rest.
2) It’s already very hard to use your brain when you work, so don’t use your brain when you rest and do something that doesn’t bother your brain.
This will lead to two results: when you go to work, you focus on conquering the task at hand, after finishing one thing, and then another thing, the brain is always in a state of high tension, and the spirit is highly tense.
I got off work, and my energy was exhausted when I went to work, so naturally I told myself “Don’t use my brain.” Although there are still books and study plans that have not been completed, I still tell myself “I want to relax.” So I either slumped on the sofa and swiped my phone, watched a drama, or had a drink or a small chat with my friends…
In a blink of an eye, the time passed, and then the next day, the cycle of yesterday continued to be repeated.
I call this model “passive rest”.
Why do you say that? Because the brain consumes energy when it works, it decomposes ATP to produce energy, and the final product of these decomposition is adenosine. Under normal circumstances, adenosine will recombine to form ATP, which stores energy and is thus consumed. This can maintain a balance of the concentration of adenosine in our brain.
However, when we continue to work all the time and the brain is running at full speed, on the one hand, adenosine is continuously produced and accumulated in large quantities; on the other hand, these accumulated adenosine has no time to recombine and consume. This leads to a continuous increase in the concentration of adenosine in the brain.
What are the consequences of elevated adenosine? It will reduce the secretion of dopamine and serotonin, make the brain feel sleepy, make us feel irritable, depressed, listless, lose our ability to move… just want to wait for nothing.
From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, this is to tell the body: your energy is now severely deficient, it is time to stay still and restore energy-this is actually a dangerous state, which triggers the brain’s alarm.
But in modern times, the professional division of labor and work assembly lines in modern society have allowed us to run around at work non-stop. This has led to this dangerous state almost every day, and every day the brain judges that we are in a lack of “energy” and forces us to shut down and rest.
This is the meaning of “passive rest”: our energy has been severely overdrawn, and we have to take a rest. Through rest, the energy “debt” returns to zero, and then we start a new day of work.
But in the long run, this model is not good for the body and mentality. On the one hand, when the body is in a state of “energy overdraft” for a long time, it will continue to put pressure on the body, which will destroy our energy system over time, produce an inflammatory response, and affect the operation of the entire body.
On the other hand, this kind of high-intensity life style is also difficult to give us satisfaction and happiness, and it will make us more “tired” and more mechanical at work, thereby making ourselves less happy.
Take the initiative to rest
So, what is a better model? I call it “active rest”.
As mentioned earlier: Adenosine synthesizes ATP only when we are resting, and is thus consumed, restoring our energy. So a good model is to alternate between work and rest, rather than focusing on thinking and working for a long time.
This is the first principle of active rest: alternate work . That is: take the initiative to control the rhythm of work and rest.
The Draugiem Group conducted a survey: They surveyed the 10% of the most productive employees in the company and found that there is no significant difference between them and other employees in total working hours. So where is the biggest difference? They take an average of 17 minutes of rest for every 52 minutes they work.
Organizational psychologist John Trougakos also believes that we should take a break for at least 10-15 minutes every hour. During the break, we should not read emails or think about work, but do something different.
Alternating work seems simple, but to do this, you need to break a myth: focus.
Many people always have a misunderstanding about concentration. They think that concentration is to focus on one thing for a long time, continuously and without distraction, and do it well-in fact, this is against the nature of the brain. Occasionally, it is fine, but it is never possible to form a long-term habit.
A good practice is to concentrate on working for a period of time, rest, change your mind, regain your energy, and then continue to concentrate on work. This is the “sprint” strategy of “sprinting in small steps, small amounts and many times.”
From this point of view, the Pomodoro technique, which is admired by many people, is reasonable, but you don’t have to use the default 25 minutes as a Pomodoro—it’s easy to interrupt your thoughts and let you take a break when it’s not suitable for rest. Interruption of work.
My personal approach is not to take time as a unit, but a small stage as a unit. For example: when I am writing, there are usually five or six paragraphs in an article. Then I tell myself: After writing a short paragraph, get up and walk around, drink water, exercise, and do something else. Change your mind and let your brain relax.
A simple suggestion is: take a small break every half an hour to an hour, at least 15 minutes; every morning and afternoon, have a big break (not including lunch break), at least half an hour. This can fully restore energy and relax the brain.
So, what can be done during rest?
Take a break
This leads to the second principle: use your brain to rest.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of people’s misunderstanding is: rest is to not use the brain, let the brain completely relax and do nothing. As a result, it is easy to be reduced to drama, mobile phone, small chat, or even a daze.
This is actually wrong. why? Because the brain cannot be “still”, as long as we are awake, it will keep running. If you don’t give it external stimuli, it will turn to the inside and start ruminating aimlessly through the DMN mode, which will plunge you into unstable mood swings.
Scanning dramas and mobile phones is a way to fill your attention with fresh external stimuli, and rely on this stimulus to pull the brain back to the outside world again and again. But this kind of stimulation is meaningless, it is easy to raise the threshold of the brain, which makes you feel bored, irritable, and uninteresting.
So, what is a better way to rest? It uses a low-to-medium energy consumption mode to do things different from daily work and activate different operating modes of the brain.
I will have a way of doing it myself, which is called “going forward together . ” Simply put, there will be a table that lists two major categories of things:
1) I read half of the books, documents, and materials, and saw half of the documentaries;
2) The various writing projects I am writing, such as the recording and observation of life, the evaluation and thinking of a certain book, the divergent creativity of a certain idea, and the extended reading that can be used in the course… …
Then, just find something from the inside and continue to do it. for example:
- Open the book, recall the previous content, and continue reading. A period of rest is just enough to refine a knowledge point and turn it into a knowledge card;
- Open and watch half of the documentary, continue to watch, make some notes, and record your thoughts and feelings;
- Open the half-written content, then continue to write down the previous ideas, and make some repairs and improvements by the way;
There are also many studies on this point abroad. For example: watching some interesting videos between work can effectively relieve fatigue and increase productivity. You can also, like me, pick some documentaries about history, culture, food, travel…, watch them a little bit, watch them slowly, add some weird knowledge, and relax at the same time.
I also have a little trick: When I encounter problems in my life and work, I will put them in a problem library. Then when I take a break, I can open the problem library, take out these problems, check relevant materials, see how to solve them, and write down feasible ideas and solutions.
In this way, once a small problem can be solved, it can provide you with a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, fully stimulate dopamine secretion, and give you a stronger motivation to do things.
Even if you can’t solve it, you can verify your own thinking, advance the process of solving this problem, and let yourself see the exact and effective results.
Furthermore, there is one point that may be difficult for many people to understand: in fact, studying is also an effective rest.
This is the third principle: prime time.
Many friends may think: Isn’t this a chore if you are so tired every day and have to study when you come home? Isn’t learning anti-human, why is it also a kind of rest?
Of course, I am not saying that learning is easy and effortless, it is impossible. However, you might as well think with me:
If we can alternate work and brain rest during the day to keep our energy at a relatively stable level and in good condition, what should we do at night?
Many people may think that they want to go to leisure, such as playing games, watching movies, reading novels… These are of course possible, but I would suggest you: Set aside a fixed time every day to do things that are beyond the daily pattern of life.
What does that mean? It is to invest energy, use your brain and hands to explore some things that you don’t do in daily life . For example: learning a craft, skill, contacting a new field, cultivating a hobby, etc.
Just give a few examples:
If you like reading novels and reading stories, you might as well try to learn about literary creation and try to write some stories by hand;
If you like to delve into tools and workflows, you might as well learn programming and write some plug-ins or scripts for yourself;
If you like to communicate with people, you might as well try to run an account, share some interesting content, or become a community;
If you have a strong curiosity, you might as well try to dabble in a few different fields and learn some knowledge that you may not normally use;
If you like to make crafts, you might as well learn about coffee, cooking, baking, embroidery, illustration…
The point is: give yourself a fixed period of time every day to eliminate the interference of other information, so that you can give full play to your curiosity, creativity and ideas, and do things that you are interested in, have certain thresholds, and require brain thinking or hands-on .
Why do you want to do this? Because this will be a very solid “life reserve” for you.
You can think of it as the “back garden” of life . Once you encounter setbacks at work, or encounter unpleasant things in interpersonal communication, or face stress or anxiety, these can become places where you temporarily forget your worries, allowing you to find happiness again.
So, why emphasize on using your brain or hands? Because only when you have a certain threshold, you need to devote your brain power to think and take it seriously, you can enter the state of “flow”, and thus, get the happiness and joy of creation from doing these things .
You may think: Every day work already consumes a lot of brain power, and I still have to study when I go home. Can my brain power keep up? Actually, do we need to delay gratification? It has also been mentioned in: Research in the past 10 years believes that the brain’s concentrated processing of tasks mainly depends on willpower; and as long as you think your willpower is infinite, then it is really infinite.
That is to say: as long as you get rid of “I have been working for a long time, should I do something no-brainer?” This kind of thinking makes yourself believe that “Although I have been working for a long time, I can still Focus on doing what interests me” , then you can do it.
Once you believe this and put yourself into it, you will feel: Every day’s life will become more fulfilling.
This sense of fulfillment, as well as the joy of creation, is the best weapon against the tediousness, impermanence, and boredom of life.
Finally, talk about the fourth principle of active rest: set boundaries.
To complete the above three principles, in fact, a very important premise is required: you must be able to control the rhythm of your work to a certain extent.
Many people who lack boundary awareness can easily take on too much external pressure in their work, which can cause them to be exhausted, and they have been busy solving “you want me to do” things.
- Difficult to decline requests from colleagues or friends for help;
- Compared with the hands of the subordinates of the church, I always like to take care of myself;
- Overestimate their own efficiency, leading to too many tasks;
- Limited by the rhythm of others, frequent meetings, phone calls, reply messages, reply emails…
Many times, our time and energy just pass by unconsciously like this. Each point looks very small and trivial, but the accumulation can be very impressive.
Therefore, the meaning of setting the boundary mainly includes two points.
First, you must be very clear: what you should do, what you can choose to do or not; which are very important and prioritized, and which can be delayed or passed on to others made.
On this basis, you then arrange your daily schedule. You don’t need to plan very carefully, but you need to know what you need to do in the future, how much time is “locked”, and how much time is free and can be arranged freely. Rather than refuse to come.
Always remember two things:
1) Things can never be done. There is no such thing as “just do things right.” We should pursue balance, comfort and sustainability in the process of doing things.
2) Other people’s affairs are other people’s own subjects , not yours. You don’t need to be overly responsible, and you must learn to separate subjects.
The second point is to turn zero into a whole.
What does that mean? We have a lot of trivial things to deal with every day. At work, such as replying to emails, replying to messages, writing reports, and writing journals; at home, such as shopping, bringing children, and doing housework…
Try not to let these things occupy our daily rest time and spare time, but arrange a fixed period of time to deal with. In this way, you can avoid falling into the “black hole of time” and let yourself throw a lot of time into it unknowingly, ignoring more important things.
On the other hand, this can also prevent these trivialities from remaining in our minds, occupying our cognitive resources, and allowing the brain to continuously consume energy in the background.
Therefore, you can communicate your habits, patterns, and work rhythms as much as possible with the people who need to cooperate, and find a way to find a balance that is acceptable to both parties and avoid over-accommodating others.
Work, rest, exercise, social
In the end, I would like to mention the three most important things: work and rest, exercise, and social interaction.
Work and rest include diet and sleep. Regarding sleep, I wrote a very systematic article, you can read: How can I get a good night’s sleep?
Regarding diet, this aspect is also very complicated. Just remember one basic principle: any diet that “does not take in” certain nutrients is unhealthy, such as zero fat, ketogenic diet, veganism… The best practice must be “balanced.” In other words, as long as you eat a balanced diet, there is a high probability that you can’t go wrong.
Regarding exercise: Some readers asked before, are there any ways to increase the energy limit? The answer is simple: there is one and only one, which is sports.
Therefore, you must find ways to exercise more and exercise more, at the lowest level, even if you go for a walk. It is best to have half an hour of vigorous exercise every day, and 3-5 hours of cumulative exercise time per week.
For details, please refer to: Workplace Health Guide
Regarding social interaction, I have also talked about it before, so I won’t repeat it, you can refer to: Afraid of socializing? You need this article
Alternate work and use the sprint strategy of small steps and fast running to give the brain time and opportunities to rejuvenate.
Use your brain to rest, activate different areas of the brain, and continue to inject energy and vitality into the brain.
Prime time, set aside for yourself the “life reserve” that resists the continuity of life, and provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Set boundaries, clarify your own work rhythm, and use your own rhythm to guide your actions instead of following others.
I hope today’s article can give you some inspiration and help you get out of the predicament of “feeling tired every day”.
So, do you have your own “life reserve”? What do you spend your prime time for?