Why do we get tired? Our nonconscious mind never stops. It’s always trying to make us aware of issues that are damaging our resilience and causing neurophysiological disruptions in our brain and body. However, the conscious mind and brain do get tired because they work on energy, like our phones. This is kind of like when we have a whole lot of apps open, the brightness is on full and we are constantly using our phone—very soon the battery will die. And, like you need to recharge your phone, you also need to recharge your brain and conscious mind.
It’s best we do this in a regular way, by incorporating periods of rest into our daily schedule to keep the brain charged all day long. This will also help us better know when to switch off at the end of the day. If we go for too long without rest, we may think we are okay, but the next day we won’t feel as rested as we should, and may notice our creativity or ability to think clearly is off because we didn’t recharge regularly the day before and pushed the conscious mind and brain to the limit.
As we go through our day, everything we experience is processed by our conscious mind, nonconscious mind and brain. During this time, a lot of neuroplasticity (brain change) is occurring—we will have built about 8000+ new memories in thought tree clusters into our brain. This activity makes our brain, conscious mind and body pretty tired because they have limited energy, but the nonconscious mind never gets tired because it operates at a different level.
The conscious mind and brain will get tired even if we can have a lot of good stuff happening in our lives. This is often why, even when things are going well, we can feel a loss of drive and creativity, and maybe even a little depressed. This is completely normal!
The key to managing this activity is to become very self-regulated so that you don’t burn out. You can start practicing this by:
- Pausing every 30-45 minutes and going into what I call a “thinker moment” for a few minutes, when you switch off to the external and onto the internal and just let your mind wander and do a bit of daydreaming. (I discuss this in greater detail in my book Cleaning Up the Mental Mess.) Just stare out the window or sit outside and close your eyes—just let your mind wander. The great news is that the more you do this the more you will sense when you need to do it!
- Taking a longer break after every three hours of work. Eat something, grab a coffee or cup of tea, go for a walk, do some push-ups or yoga, play with your pets, chat with a loved one—whatever works for you!
- Limiting the intensiveness and length of your work. This could mean purposefully going to bed a little earlier, working out a little longer or shortening your work day. Be as deliberate about switching off as you were about switching on. Schedule in periods of “off time”, such as taking a hot bubble bath or shower or watching your favorite TV show. Remember, you can just “get away with it”. You can’t escape the way your mind and brain works—there are no tricks to “hack” the system. Overworking yourself will result in poor quality sleep and thinking the next day, which can have a ripple effect in your life and on your health. I personally find that I am more edgy, get more frustrated, and become more reactive when I am tired versus when I have more energy, patience and peace.
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