As fatigue is more common than ever, it’s important to take the right steps to reduce stress.
By Allison Emery
Lack of energy can change everything about your day—your mood, your productivity, your mental sharpness. Whether it’s from the occasional long night or the result of chronic fatigue, tiredness can significantly impact mental and physical health. According to a recent National Sleep Foundation study, nearly half of all U.S. adults feel sleepy anywhere from three to seven days a week, and that affects their ability to get things accomplished.
Alyssa Beck, a personal trainer, certified yoga teacher and Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist at Sea Island, says burnout, or chronic stress and fatigue, can contribute to undesirable side effects, including weight gain, mood imbalances like depression and anxiety, increased blood pressure and even muscle weakness due to the way stress influences the body.
To regain control over your energy levels, Beck says facing the fatigue head-on is the first step, and it starts with being honest. “If you’re exhausted, acknowledge that,” she advises. “If you feel strangely or uncharacteristically emotional, admit that. You have to know where you are before you can decide and understand where you are going.”
Exercise has long been one of the best ways to increase energy and lower stress levels. The Sea Island Fitness Center offers a variety of classes to get your blood flowing, such as Energizing Morning Flow, Total Body Strength and Outdoor Fit. To tackle further physical aches, pains or areas of muscle weakness, the center also offers one-on-one Muscle Activation Techniques sessions that help to restore balance by improving range of motion and strength.
As sleepless nights are often the result of anxiety, unplugging from devices and incorporating mindful moments are key to enhancing energy. The Somadome in The Spa at Sea Island is a cocoonlike pod designed to help regulate the nervous system and the production of melatonin and cortisol through LED color therapy, sounds, meditation and energy healing. “Entirely nonjudgmental, the pod itself will guide you through a relaxation of your choosing,” Beck says. “Each session lasts only 20 minutes, but its effects are immediately noticeable.”
Oft-overlooked poor sleep habits can also lead to drowsy days. “You don’t necessarily have to clock eight hours per night, but consistency is certainly key,” Beck says. “Set a schedule and hold yourself accountable so that you’re going to be waking up at roughly the same time each day.”
Dr. Margeaux M. Schade, an assistant research professor in biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University, studies sleep research and agrees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended “sleep hygiene” practices, such as reducing blue-light exposure before bedtime to help promote better rest.
“Anxiety about current events may make it tempting to constantly check electronic devices for news feeds at times when we should be reducing our exposure to artificial light sources for optimal circadian function,” Schade says.
Other best practices she supports include nap timing, not over- or under-committing to time spent in bed and preserving the bed as a place for sleep.
While burnout can feel insurmountable, tuning in to your body and making small changes in your everyday routine can help build a roadmap to recovery.