I posted previously on what happens when I’m tired. It isn’t pretty. (See that post HERE.) I hear someone say every day “I’m so tired”. It’s epidemic it seems. There appears to be a lot of fatigue in our world these days.
I know it’s true of those in ministry. I have often been asked how to deal with the issue, besides the simple answer of rest.
Here are 7 ways I have for dealing with fatigue:
Make sure you are regularly getting medical checkups from your physician. Many health issues have fatigue as a symptom. Make sure something isn’t physically causing your fatigue. (Depression could even be causing you to fatigue quickly.) I go to my doctor twice a year – once for a full checkup and once to checkin with my doctor. Recently, at my full physical, my doctor and I determined I might need a personal trainer to meet some of the health goals I have. It’s been a good suggestion so far. I am not an expert in this area. This post is designed to help you, but I’m not the one to look to for the concluding answers here. I certainly encourage the professionals in this area of your life.
Exercise and Weight Control
For me, this is absolutely essential in being effective in ministry. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight helps me stay energized and feel better. I wrote an extensive post about that HERE. You can be smart about this. Although I think exercise is worth building your schedule around, you can find clever ways to exercise. I wrote about that HERE.
I watch what I eat
Junk food slows me down. Healthy foods build me up. I’m not an expert here either, and I don’t practice this as I should, but there are plenty who are equipped to help know what to eat and what not to eat. I do know this – what we eat does make a difference in how we feel and most of us know what foods slow us down. The more we learn to fill our bodies with foods, which help us feel more alive the less fatigue we will experience and the more effective we will be as leaders.
I get plenty of rest/sleep
Rest had to be on the list. Rest is an ultimate solution to coping with fatigue. The body signals it has reached a point where rest is needed. God designed us for this. Sometimes a short nap or extended night’s sleep is the needed response. Sometimes NOT watching the last television show before we go to bed is a better option. In the past few years I have strived for at least seven hours of sleep a night. I can tell when I don’t get it.
I take frequent and intentional mind-breaks
If your job requires you to think deeply, taking short mind breaks is often helpful. Stopping to meditate and pray – at the beginning for the day or during the day – keeps your mind focused and energized. I accomplish exercise with this one too. I have on my Fitbit an alarm feature to alert me when I’ve gone almost an hour without at least 250 steps. I get up, walk around, and return to my desk. I also change projects throughout the day to keep my mind from wearing me out physically. Sometimes I step outside and breathe the fresh air or, depending on the type of the fatigue, even go for an afternoon walk or time on the elliptical.
Having a plan for your day and week helps to cut down on unnecessary time wasters. You’ll work smarter and feel less exhausted when you begin prepared. Take time to organize yourself for efficiency. (Read a similar post HERE.)
Prioritizing my life and work
You can’t do everything. Remind yourself you’ll do better quality work if you aren’t trying to do it all. Begin each day with a realistic outlook of what you can complete for the day. Try to complete the most important things on your list first, before your energy is drained for the day. Say no to things someone else can do.
Leading today (actually life today) requires a lot of energy. I meet so many people who don’t have the energy they need to get through the day. I realize there are seasons in life where this is unavoidable, but we should strive to keep ourselves healthy enough to be productive and enjoy life.