4 Reasons Why You Have Zero Energy (and How to Boost It)
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Feeling tired or even exhausted from time to time is not uncommon. After all, fatigue is a perfectly normal consequence of our day-to-day activities and our body's natural response to taking on slightly more than we can handle.
However, the problem arises when we start feeling exhausted all the time.
And here's the thing: more and more people are complaining of having zero energy and no idea of how to fix it. In fact, a survey by Statista found that up to 66% of Europeans felt burnt out in June 2021. And the same source discovered that burnout rates amongst U.S. employees rose up to (a whopping) 14% between January 2020 and February 2021, no doubt resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, surely, the reason for so many people feeling drained can't be purely pandemic-related. So, why is exhaustion becoming such a prevalent experience amongst modern individuals? And what can we do to juice up our batteries, even when it seems like an impossible task?
This article will explore the possible reasons you have zero energy and offer a few tips on how to boost it up.
One of the most common reasons for feeling drained boils down to stress. More precisely, the constant fatigue so many people experience stems from untreated chronic stress, which (quite literally) exhausts the body's energy supplies and never dies down.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress affects the body in several ways:
- Muscles tense up.
- Respiratory rate increases.
- Heart rate speeds up.
- Blood vessels dilate.
- Cortisol levels rise.
- Blood sugar increases.
- Digestive processes change.
- Gut bacteria change.
Considering that these changes all cause the body to work overtime, it is no surprise that stress (especially when experienced chronically) causes people to feel exhausted.
What to do about it
Fortunately, learning how to cope with and manage stress represents one of the best fixes you can make to prevent yourself from feeling drained 24/7.
You can make simple life changes that will positively affect your energy levels. For example, you could try taking up exercise. Or practice some form of relaxation (like meditation or breathwork). And you might even start being more mindful about your environment and committed to taking a step back when life becomes too stressful.
And sure, avoiding stress isn't possible for most people. However, stress management definitely is.
Lack of Sleep
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The second common cause for feeling exhausted is, perhaps, the most logical one: poor sleep.
Most resources recommend between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for adults. So, if you're not getting as much per night, the reason you have zero energy may just be that you need to catch more Zs.
How to get better sleep
Most people experience disrupted sleep from time to time. However, if you find that you're not getting rested during the night, it might be time to take a closer look at your sleep habits.
Poor sleep hygiene, for example, is a common cause of poor sleep. Fortunately, though, it's an easy fix. Try to:
- Go to bed at the same time each night.
- Avoid TV, computer, and smartphone screens at least two hours before bed.
- Adjust your lighting to a warmer shade after 6 PM.
- Don't drink caffeinated drinks in the afternoon.
- Don't eat late.
- Invest in some blackout shades and a comfortable mattress to make your bedroom more suitable for quality sleep.
- Improve bedroom air quality with plants or purifiers.
- Control the bedroom temperature (set it to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit).
Too Much (or Too Little) Exercise
Sometimes, the reason you have zero energy has to do with exercise. Taking things too far in an exercise class makes for a logical cause of exhaustion. However, the one thing most people fail to understand is that exercising too little can also be an underlying reason for feeling chronically fatigued.
How to get exercise right to increase energy levels
If you think that your exhaustion might boil down to an imbalanced approach to working out, there are two main things you should attempt to do.
If you're working out regularly, it might be time to look at your workout regime and see whether you're overdoing it.
HIIT, for example, is not a suitable type of exercise for most people – especially when you do more than a couple of workouts per week. Too much hardcore cardio can be just as overwhelming to the body.
Of course, if you want to prevent yourself from becoming exhausted from too much physical exertion, don't forget about recovery. It's not enough to just take a day off from working out every week. A proper cool down and mobility work are just as essential for a healthy body as getting your heart pumping.
If you're not exercising regularly, on the other hand, try adding a bit more movement to your daily routine. It doesn't have to be a proper workout. Just make sure that you incorporate enough movement into your day.
For example, taking a 30-minute post-lunch walk doesn't just help you put in your daily steps. It also has beneficial effects on blood sugar and can be more than enough to keep yourself in proper shape.
In addition to walking, see if you can experiment with more types of movement. Try cycling to work, doing some light stretching on the weekends, or signing up for a couple of yoga classes. That way, you'll improve your strength, mobility, and balance, all at the same time.
Mental & Emotional Exhaustion
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The most common reasons for exhaustion come down to physical circumstances. However, in some cases, chronic fatigue has nothing to do with your physical health and everything to do with your mental and emotional state.
In addition to stress, feeling lost in life, unmotivated, lonely, and depressed can cause mental and emotional exhaustion. And the longer this exhaustion is left untreated, the worse it will get.
How to combat mental and emotional fatigue
Unlike the physical causes of low energy levels, mental and emotional exhaustion aren't as easily combatted. Not that overcoming them isn't possible. It just takes a commitment to make more substantial changes in your life.
The first step should always be seeking help. It can be from a mental health professional or a close friend. But, know that expressing your feelings makes for the most impactful step in helping yourself feel better.
In addition to therapy (or conversation), it's also not a bad idea to experiment with self-care routines that target your emotional wellbeing. Try practicing mindfulness, meditation, or journaling. Moreover, consider taking up a hobby that will allow you to relax and do something you enjoy. You can also try to look for companies to work for, that's offering workplace wellness services that support employees’ physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
And, of course, don't forget to nurture the relationships in your life that bring you joy and take a step back from those that stress you out.
Successfully Overcoming Lethargy
If you've come to the conclusion that you feel lethargic because you've taken on too much (physically or emotionally), rest assured that you're not alone.
Moreover, know that boosting your energy levels doesn't have to be complicated, expensive, or require you to make huge changes to your routine. Yes, it will take some commitment (especially until you figure out what's making you feel exhausted).
But, once you've identified the root cause, you can take active steps to help yourself feel more energetic and work on prioritizing your wellbeing through simple physical and mental wellness practices.