First, I want to say that I have been there. In fact, I was there most of last week. Exhaustion has taken up residence and it has rendered me pretty much useless for days.
Dishes continued to pile up in the sink, the counter, the dining table and the coffee table as the dishwasher sat with a load of clean dishes. The dirty laundry pile looked like a monster ready to attack. A pile of clean laundry lay on the couch where my cat inevitably decided to make a bed and get it covered in his fur. Plus there’s another basket of clean clothes on the dresser in my bedroom along with more clean clothes taking over the closet floor that I plan to put away but haven’t gotten to it yet. On top of all that my sweet husband made dinner almost every night last week and we ordered pizza on Friday night because we were both too exhausted to want to cook anything.
Exhaustion just plain stinks and for many it can be an ongoing battle. I have dealt with it fairly regularly for years. I have learned that I can’t always make it go away, but there are some things I can do so that I feel at least a little better.
11 Things To Do When You’re Exhausted
1. Get Dressed
I know it is tempting to crawl out of bed and stay in your pajamas all day. It can often feel like too much work just to get in the shower but if you can muster up the strength, do it and when you get out put on something other than your pajamas. I’m not going to say put on your nicest outfit but choose something that you can feel good about wearing. Wearing clothes that make you feel frumpy will only add to your feelings of fatigue.
I would also recommend doing something with your hair and makeup. Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy but my rule of thumb is to look good enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed or self conscious if I had to leave the house or answer the door to someone I didn’t know.
I know that it may sound a little self absorbed to even say that but you can’t tell me that feeling good about how you look doesn’t change your outlook at least a little. So go make yourself look good and don’t feel guilty about it, okay!?
If you want some more motivation to get dressed each day, check out the ebook Simply Dressed by Victoria Osborn.
2. Play Uplifting Music
When I am having a hard time getting going, I put on some music that I know will help make me feel motivated. For me, this is usually some sort of upbeat worship music or something with a positive message that makes feel happy.
Put on music that puts you in a good mood and if the desire strikes, do a little dancing too!
Lately, I have been listening to a lot of Rend Collective but here’s some specific songs that I like for when I need something to get me moving:
He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli
Write Your Story by Francesca Battistelli
My Lighthouse by Rend Collective
Joy by Rend Collective
More Than You Think I am by Danny Gokey
Hope in Front of Me by Danny Gokey
Overcomer by Mandisa
Because He Lives Amen by Matt Maher
We Are Brave by Shawn Mcdonald
Hurricane by Natalie Grant
Looking for more music ideas? Here’s an older post with my favorite music for motivation.
3. Spend Time With God
I will be honest and say that I have not been good about making this a daily habit. I want to but it seems like so many other things get in the way before I remember. If you struggle with this too, know that I don’t want you to feel guilty about it but I want to encourage you to try making it more of a priority.
God isn’t wagging his finger at you but he does desire for you to build a relationship with him and without that regular time, it’s easy to feel spiritually dry.
I know that when I am exhausted, those are the times I need to hear from him most because exhaustion often leads to frustration, guilt, depression and anxiety. He desires to offer comfort and peace especially when you are weary.
You don’t have to spend hours doing a bible study or writing prayers to connect with God. I think there is a time and a place for that but don’t feel like that’s the only way to truly find connection with Him.
Earlier last week I pulled out my bible and had planned to write in my journal but just felt too exhausted to know what to read or write so I simply sat for a while in silence praying and listening. Just simply taking that time to sit helped give me the refreshment I needed.
If you need some more ideas, here’s some simple ways to fill your life with more of God’s word.
4. Drink Water
You probably know that it’s important to stay hydrated but if you are like me you might go most of the day without even realizing that you haven’t had any water. If you are feeling fatigued, often a big glass of water can help give you a little jolt of energy. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice or add some lemon slices for an added kick.
One thing I have been doing recently is tracking my water consumption with an app called aqualert. It gives me notifications every hour to drink which helps me remember to get some water. If you need some extra motivation to get your daily water, something like an app or other way to track it might help.
5. Eat a Healthy Snack or Meal
I know how tempting it is to grab something unhealthy when you don’t feel like cooking. The good thing is that a quick healthy snack or meal doesn’t have to take a lot of prep time. Some good options for snacks are nuts, fruits or veggies. If you need a quick meal try something like a smoothie with some hummus and veggies or pita chips.
One other thing I want to mention is don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Your body needs that fuel to get going in the morning. I had a bad habit for years to skip breakfast but I wasn’t doing myself any favors with that habit.
I try to make a smoothie or have something with eggs and veggies for a good start to my day. I don’t always stick to those but I definitely notice the difference when I eat something like that versus something full of carbs and sugar.
6. Breathe in Some Essential Oils
I use essential oils for lots of things but one of my favorite uses is to get an uplifting mood boost. I either load my diffuser and turn it on near me or sometimes I just take a whiff straight from the bottle. I also recently ordered some inhalers. They have an insert that you drop some oils on then put the insert in a container that you just sniff from. These are great for when you are out without your oils. I keep one in my purse and another with a sleep blend by my bed.
Citrus oils are great for their uplifting scent. My favorite oils for when I need a boost are bergamot, peppermint, orange, grapefruit, rosemary and patchouli. These are good for energy, mood, stress and anxiety as well.
Here’s a couple of my favorite uplifting blends for diffusing:
- Equal parts bergamot, grapefruit (or rosemary) and patchouli (about 2-3 drops each)
- Equal parts peppermint and orange (about 3-4 drops each)
7. Make a Plan
You know you need to do something other than sleep all day, so take a few minutes to plan what the most important tasks are for the day. Just be sure to make it realistic with no more than 2-3 things that need to get done. Setting goals is a good habit, even if they are small goals.
I also want to say that planning when you are exhausted is not meant to add on the guilt. I know it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything so try to do what you can and let the rest go for another day. Try not to allow yourself to get stuck by these time management pitfalls.
8. Clean Something
I know it’s not always fun to clean but I feel much better and ready to tackle the next thing after I’ve done a little cleaning. It might just be to clean off the table or the counters but every little bit helps.
9. Get Moving
I know exercise helps fight fatigue, but sometimes that really feels impossible. How am I going to workout when I can’t hardly stay awake or stand up straight?! So if taking on a vigorous workout is too much, just get outside and go for a walk. The fresh air is an added bonus that will help give you a little boost.
If you can’t get outside, open the window to let in some fresh air and do something that gets you moving. When you are exhausted, that fatigue can also translate to your physical body so even some simple stretching to get the blood flowing can help you feel better.
I use a fitness band to help me track my progress with how much I am moving each day. It also helps me keep track of my sleep and food intake. If you need some extra motivation to get healthy, something like this might help.
I got a Jawbone for my birthday. I have one of the older models that isn’t made anymore but I’ve been using it for a few months and liking it so far. I like the look of the newer UP2 but I have also heard good things about the fitbit as well. What I like about the Jawbone is that it has an activity alert that you can set to vibrate at certain intervals to remind you to get up and move.
10. Do Something You Enjoy
Thinking about all you have to do can be even more exhausting so take a little time to do something you enjoy. Maybe it’s reading a book, working on a craft project, writing in a journal or watching a movie.
This week, I have been making more time to read. Currently, I am reading You Are Loved No Matter What by Holley Gerth. This has been a great book especially as I am struggling with fatigue and the guilt of not doing enough when I am tired.
Here’s a great quote from the chapter I just finished on trading guilt for grace;
“You and I are made for joy. We are also made for happiness, fun, laughter and enjoyment. We don’t serve a taskmaster. We serve a good and faithful Father who delights in his children receiving his gifts. So let’s open our hands, our hearts, and our lives a little wider to what He wants to freely give us today.” – Holley Gerth, You Are Loved No Matter What pg. 51
This can sound counter intuitive but when you are feeling fatigued, it is likely that you do need extra rest. I know it’s not always possible to take a nap or even sit for a few minutes, but if at all possible allow yourself to rest when you can. At the very least, try to stick to a decent bedtime. Your body will thank you.
It can be overwhelming to know where to start when you feel exhausted. I get that. So don’t feel like you have to do all of these things. Just pick something and do it even it it means taking a day to rest and that’s it.
Finally, be kind to yourself. Exhaustion is not a free pass to be lazy, it’s your body telling you it needs a break so be kind to yourself and your body. Exhaustion is worse when you heap on the guilt for not being able to do it all. So say goodbye to that voice in your head telling you all the ways you are a failure. Allow yourself the grace to do what you can and recognize that even without exhaustion, you cannot do it all.