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What is fatigue? Fatigue occurs when we push ourselves beyond the natural state of "tiredness." By refreshing ourselves in the following ways, we maintain vitality for longer periods. And we recharge more quickly.
- Get more sleep. Most of us need more sleep than we get, and we pay for that lapse with fatigue. We would also benefit from an afternoon "siesta" whenever possible; a half-hour nap gives us more vitality than the equivalent 30 minutes of nighttime sleep. If we ignore the signals that we need sleep, we enter the state of fatigue with its physical sluggishness, mental dullness, lack of productivity, and longer recovery time.
- Get more exercise. Moderate exercise doesn't exhaust us; it burns off tension and generates usable energy.
- Cultivate "positive emotions." While not denying and repressing the so-called "negative emotions," we can cultivate feelings of happiness, cheerfulness, and enthusiasm, which enliven us and encourage us to reach out to savor more of life. Contrarily, we lose vitality when we dwell on worrying, resentment, and similar emotions which induce us to turn inward with fruitless "wheel-spinning."
- Cultivate a constructive mental attitude. We charge ourselves naturally when we are optimistic and confident. Since boredom descends into sleepiness, we strive to create an interesting life, letting our feelings and values guide us toward the activities which fascinate us and thus keep us stimulated.
- Spend time with energetic people. Some people stimulate us with their vivaciousness; and, conversely, we attract that type of person by showing a zest of our own. We must beware of the other category of people -- those who leave us feeling drained.
- Have a nutritional diet. A nutritional breakfast (with protein-rich milk) makes us more alert and productive for the entire morning. For lunch, we need light fare; a heavy meal would make us drowsy. A moderate diet in general makes us livelier because we are burning up less energy in the digestive process, especially if we choose foods which are easier to digest (more fruit and less meat). Sugar seems to give us energy, but there is a backlash; the pancreas releases insulin to counteract the sugar, so our blood sugar soon decreases to a level that was lower than before, and we feel more tired. Fatigue might also be caused by physiological condition such as diabetes, hypogycemia, or anemia (a deficiency of iron).
- Have recreation. We feel invigorated when we laugh, pursue a hobby, play sports, go out into nature, and indulge in creativity, pleasure, and passion. Any activity which engages the right hemisphere of the brain generates energy for us.