One of the hardest adjustments post-grad is getting used to a brand new schedule. Whether you work the regular 9-5 or not, the days are draining. We can all agree. Someone once told me that it takes a full year — 365 days — for your body to mentally and physically adjust to the “real world.” Whether you believe that or not, it’s nice to know that you’re not the only one dragging yourself home every night.
The gym? You’ve got to be kidding. Summer is over, and you’re tired. The excuses aren’t new, and you wish you could motivate yourself. But you’re feeling defeated… and are easily accepting of that kind of attitude.
Before plopping yourself in front of the TV for the rest of the night, try to remember back to when you actually felt like you had more energy. What were some of the differences? How can you make yourself feel that alive again?
Exercise. A lot of people think that if they hit the gym pre- or post-work, they’ll just end up more exhausted by the end of the night. Studies show, however, that sedentary people who start exercising actually feel less fatigued. It’s one of those surprising truths: move more and you’ll feel more energy!
- Be realistic about your workout. If you used to run 2-3 miles, start with one. If you haven’t been to the gym in a while, try the bike. Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself (and not reaching them) is only going to make you feel worse.
Change Your Diet. Avoid caffeine and sugar crashes by balancing your blood sugar levels with a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, and lean protein provide a valuable source of natural energy.
- One of the best changes is to add iron-rich foods, like meat and leafy greens, to your diet. Iron has a variety of functions; first and foremost, it helps carry oxygen to your body’s cells to produce energy. You don’t have to be anemic to have tired blood. In fact, it’s very common among women.
Get More Sleep. Surprise! A lot of us still aren’t getting enough sleep. Try giving yourself a bed time, or set a smaller goal such as getting to bed 15 minutes earlier each night.
- Small goals can be reached with even smaller steps, such as showering earlier, turning off the TV sooner, and getting your clothes or lunch ready the night before so you’re not feeling rushed if you wake up a few minutes late.
As you can tell, all three of these seemingly, no-brainers actually take a bit of work. There’s no zero-to-sixty for these kinds of things. But remember, only you have control over your body and health. If you’re tired of starting over, it’s time to stop giving up. You’ll feel happier, healthier, less exhausted, and most importantly, better about yourself.
What changes can you make today?