I don’t know about you, but I’m a little exhausted. From Thanksgiving to diving straight into the middle of the holiday season, I have been going all-in and I’m craving some rest. Exhaustion plays a huge role in our business and health, and if your goal is to manage your weight, it is even more crucial to figure out a solution.
What I’ll be covering on this episode is how you can become more curious about what is going on with your mindset when you’re feeling exhausted or have a lack of energy. Some practical solutions will help you get through the toughest time of day – the afternoon – so you can close out your day and get to your rest time.
Join me for a discussion about exhaustion and how you can figure out a solution to work in a more productive way that works for your business and health and wellness. A healthy mindset is super important in revving up your energy in that mid-afternoon slump and I’m going to give you all the tips you need!
Welcome to Weight Loss for CEOs. A podcast that teaches executives and leaders how to deal with the unique challenges of achieving sustainable weight loss while balancing the responsibility of a growing company, family, and their own health. Here’s your host, executive coach, Diana Murphy.
I was going to write some holiday episodes for you for the next couple of weeks since my podcast will be going live on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. But lo and behold, I looked at the mindset topics I wanted to cover in my series and they will be a gift to all of us during this overextended holiday time and going forward any time you take a listen.
So I don’t know about you, but I’m a little exhausted. If you’re running a business, serving at a high level, I see you. There are long days of travel, long workdays, appointments with clients, and projects that run late into the night. Are you exhausted? I know I have been going all in pretty steadily for the past 30 days, kind of crunch time since Thanksgiving, and I’m craving some true rest.
What I want to cover in today’s episode is how exhaustion plays a very disruptive role in taking great care of your health. And in terms of managing your weight, it can get into the way of consistent exercise and fresh healthy meals as well. But I know you know this, but I wanted to help bring you some lasting solutions right to you today.
And you might be wondering what exhaustion might have to do with a healthy mindset. Well, I’m going to take some time to help you decipher whether you are physically exhausted or whether the way you are thinking about your work and your day are wearing you out. I’m going to help you to be a better mindset detective, especially in this series, in your own life and to help you to rev up your energy.
And I’m going to discuss some very practical solutions to energizing the toughest time of day, the late afternoon, after a very full day of work. The goal is to help you to move from feeling exhausted all the time and towards a feeling of having more energy, to help you feel stronger and more focused at the end of the day so you can tackle the close of your business day and that transition to your off-work time.
This might just be the key to that elusive concept we all talk about, work life balance. I know it’s helped me. Before we move on to the mindset piece of this issue, I want to be clear. Physical exhaustion is real and one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is noticing some small shifts that you can make to help your body physically meet the challenge of the work that you do.
But this is a little bit like the chicken and egg philosophy. We would feel better if we worked out and ate better, but we’re exhausted and our time is so short to do all those things, right? My philosophy and my experience has been – and it works with my clients – is that when we commit to our wellness first, we begin to operate at a higher level, in a more empowered way, and that shifts everything.
Let me give you an example of a small change that’s making a huge different in my mental attitude, work, and productivity. I hope this helps. I noticed something this past quarter. On mornings where I’d had a good night’s sleep and got to my laptop very early in the morning, I could really crunch out some content and emails. It seemed almost effortless.
I decided to leverage this uber productive time of the day and committed to making a habit of writing for 30 minutes for my business every day. Now, I’m still working on the consistency of this habit, but I have found that there were some mornings I was just not awake enough to do this. Something had to change. I was starting my days tired and then working late into the afternoon on things that ended up taking a lot more time because my mental energy was depleted.
I had to backtrack and look at how much sleep I was getting. I really love that early morning time, and not all of us are like this, but I love between 5:30 and 6am to get started and up. So my solution was to set a new bedtime. But my old self resisted. I didn’t want to turn off Netflix or the football game. But I really craved, I really wanted to enjoy those early morning writing times so I started moving upstairs at 10pm every night, no matter what.
Lights out might happen for me around 11 some nights, but this ended up being perfect for me. You know, I network very early on some mornings, so those mornings began to feel more normal. Bonus. And there are days that I need to workout at 6am due to my schedule at night, and now my body doesn’t complain so much. Okay, it complains a little, but it works. And it was this one small shift of going to bed a little earlier that is bringing me amazing results.
So your exhaustion or lack of energy could be coming from many things. Let me list some common ones. Lack of hours of sleep is certainly one, or lack of just a steady schedule of sleep. Going to sleep and waking up at similar times.
Others get exhausted by just not having enough activity or fresh air. I think for most of us, needing a break during the day and in the afternoon when we don’t think to take it really can be beneficial, and I’m going to discuss that at length later in the episode.
Now, last but not least, another thing that can really wear us out or really create lack of energy is not eating your fuel. Not eating foods that naturally energize you. To dig in more to this concept, look at my fuel testing episode in Empowered Wellness for Leaders, episode 12. Or I tackle that subject again in Weight Loss for CEOs episode four. There are great resources for you there if you want to dig in.
I know that with the holiday parties and extra networking events, that for me, I have not been eating as much green and it is affecting my energy. So listen to your cravings for some green vegetables and lean protein and see if this helps.
So those are the physical reasons, but don’t miss where your body is getting your attention here, or where you notice where one small shift – for me, going to bed early – or a new habit, for example, eating more green, might just make the difference for you. I know that the small commitment of an earlier bedtime has made a big difference, and it’s affecting so much.
I’m more productive, I’m clearer headed in the mornings, my early AM networking isn’t as disruptive. I don’t need that big killer nap in the afternoon that I never take, by the way. I’m more grounded in the mornings, and I have more time by myself at those times. It’s easier to stop work at 5pm as well. I’ve gotten my work done and I’m doing the creative work when my brain is so much better at it earlier in the morning. At least that’s what’s working for me.
And therefore, I’m not trying to make up for lost time by working late at night. That was a previous vicious cycle and it was not working for me. This is where the grounded energy part for you can come in. Make a decision, a small shift that will give you better energy. Where’s your hunch? What’s your body telling you?
If you get quiet here, you’ll know what it is. Is it better food? Better sleep? Or a refreshing break? Small shifts consistent over a long period of time can create really powerful outcomes.
And this is where we’re tapping into mindset. You’re a big thinker. You love making big decisions and moves. Well, save those for your business and work decisions. But in terms of creating energy and great health, small steps done consistently offer you a much greater reward and will help you to shift your mindset from thinking that you don’t have the time by breaking these things into small parts and just doing them over and over so they’re a habit.
Well, let’s lean in a little more on the mindset of exhaustion. This is what I experience myself and I see so often in coaching conversations. When coaching a client on getting their healthy eating or exercise in line with their weight loss goals or just goals in general, most times the frustration comes from being exhausted. They’re too tired to workout, to shop, to take time to cook and hang with their family.
And certainly, we can take action here. We can solve it by action. We can get healthier takeout meals, we can hire a shopping service. But it does not solve the feelings of exhaustion and the obstacles that are created from feeling exhausted, and this pattern can really get in our way.
Think about this for yourself. In those moments when you’re just too tired to do what you had intended on doing, just stop and ask yourself, why? Why are you exhausted? What’s going on for you? This is the beginning of your detective work on your mindset. Ask a curious why.
Any emotion that you feel in that sinking time of the day, ask why am I feeling so either exhausted, discouraged, disappointed. Typically, these things come up this time of day. This will give you insight on what your brain is thinking in these moments. These are such common thoughts. Let me see if they resonate with you. They do with me.
When I ask the question again, why am I so exhausted, why am I feeling discouraged at the end of the day, the thoughts are, I feel like I’m not getting enough done. I’ve had such a long day. I’m discouraged, I’m not getting great results. I’ve been on the phone all day and not one appointment.
Or, I just don’t have enough time, I’m so behind. I didn’t get to that project. Now I have to stay late. I’ll never get that done. I’m going to be late getting home again. And now we’re worried about how our family feels about it, right?
These are thoughts. They seem so real. They seem like the cause of our angst, but they are just thoughts that happen in the middle of the afternoon when we’re evaluating how we’re going to spend the rest of our day. But they’re great information. Let me help you go just a step further. These thoughts are very typical for us when we feel exhausted. And if you’ve identified one of your own, continue with me here.
When you think that thought, I’ll pick my go-to that my brain offers me at this time in the afternoon. It is, “I’m so behind, I didn’t get everything done. I’m discouraged.” That is how my afternoons have been going. And that feels exhausting, by the way.
When I feel this way, when you feel this way, how do you react? This is an important place to pause. How do you react when you feel depleted like this? I typically look at what will give me relief, and I tried it for a time. I give up my workout and try to get everything done. I thought I’d feel better. And what happened is I truly did not get that much done because I’m mentally exhausted at the end of the day and I ended up missing my favorite time of day, a class at Wizlib Studio here in Atlanta.
And it’s a place where I have workout pals, it’s a consistent place of exercise for me, so it’s a great way to transition from my workday to my evening. Those disappointed, discouraged, depleted, exhausted feelings will create an action, a reaction every single time. And so commonly, a reaction that we didn’t want to make. But it was because of that negative emotion, it was a natural response to how we were thinking.
And remember, it almost happens without our permission. That thought to feeling and action are just wicked fast. So stay curious here. Keep asking why you’re feeling a certain feeling in the afternoon or at this time and stay curious and remember, you can change the thoughts so that you can feel differently and react differently.
This pattern of being overwhelmed, discouraged, and disappointed at the end of the day is so common and responsible for a lot of unhealthy responses. This is where we give up on the workout or we throw up our hands and grab something to eat on the way home. Or we work late into the night and miss spending time with our family and having any time off.
Now, I’m not saying that we all live lives and run businesses that we can just shut off at 5pm. But I might suggest it every once in a while. I am saying here that if you manage your mindset around this afternoon crunch time of the day, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you can do.
I’m going to stop here and share something that was an amazing realization for me. On one of the most exhausting – yes, that was from a lot of exhausting emotions by the way – was the week in February this past year when I launched my podcast. I also had a filming day in that week and created videos that went live at the same time.
So everything was due at the same time. Now, it’s Friday night, I hit every one of my deadlines, I was super proud. I worked until about 10pm to get all the info my videographer needed so he could put everything together. I grabbed an Uber ride and went to my favorite restaurant and celebrated.
I closed up Diana Murphy Coaching for the entire weekend. I was physically exhausted and after all the nerves of doing something very new and pushing through it, I was emotionally spent as well. Saturday came and I could do whatever I wanted and whatever I craved to do, nothing, Netflix all day, I truly gave myself permission to do nothing or anything I wanted.
And guess what? All I could think about was cooking. I don’t even know where that came from. So I started pouring through a few cookbooks, I chose three recipes, went to the store. I came home and I cooked all day. Don’t worry, I’m getting to my point here. But there’s something in this that I never realized, and I want you to watch for this.
I had been waiting, wanting to cook at this period of time. I’d really been saying it for about six months. I had wanted to be cooking at least once a week for a long time, in the middle of the week. Now I know why I was craving this. I would work late, so late that I never truly had time to cook. But I was craving this outlet. Cooking lit me up.
I realized that it was a creative outlet for me because you know, remember, I shared with you how exhausted I was. This totally energized me on Saturday. I mean, I needed another really good night of sleep, but I’m serious. I was lit up and giddy that day cooking. I don’t understand why, but it works.
So I remember this every time and now I say yes to cooking. Sometimes my husband goes and grabs the groceries so that I can cook fresh for us more often and it’s working. It’s something I really wanted to do for a really long time. And again, it lights me up and gives me energy.
So look for activities in your life in the afternoon, and other things that actually light you up. It is a beautiful way to energize yourself. So if I caved to this afternoon drama of, I didn’t get enough done and work late, it doesn’t serve me, and I remind myself how much I like to cook and how fresh can be so good for me. And I close up my desk on time so that I can workout and make it all happen.
Now, I don’t do this all the time. This isn’t about being perfect. I grab takeout, I just know where to go. Do you know where to go for good takeout? It’s a culture now. But you might need a routine. I know I did. So this is the exercise I have for you not only to be onto your thinking in the afternoon, but to help you get out of the office, close up your computer or your desk if you work at home, and to help you to energize your afternoon instead of feeling exhausted and depleted at the end of the day.
Pick a time in your afternoon where you can pause. Typically, this is the time of day when you decide to work late or decide what to do about dinner and your workout. Stop and look over your day.
One, take note of what you did accomplish. Two, what can you complete realistically by the time you want to stop working? Three, what can you delegate if needed? Four, what can I put on my calendar and honor at a better time or first thing in the morning? Whatever will fit for that, whether it’s urgent or not.
Taking this time out to close out your day can stop that cascade of emotions that can hit at five. It’s a beautiful way to regroup in the afternoon, take a pause, refresh your brain, get out of the details of what you’re working on and trying to crunch out until the end of the day. Take a breath and plan the rest of your afternoon.
Again, start with positive. Take a note of what you did accomplish. Your brain is going to look for what you didn’t do. Train it to look at what you did accomplish. It really sets a more emotional positivity so that you can get creative about solving the rest of your day.
Then what can you complete by the time you need to leave? And write that down, get to work. And if there’s something urgent that someone else can take care of, what can you delegate in that moment?
Fourth, what can you put on your calendar so you don’t forget to finish what wasn’t done for the morning or for another time that week? Take that time so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. This planning has amazing results. This planning can create the mental space to knock out what’s left to do on your to-do list.
You can be uber productive in the afternoon if you do this. It can also give you some time to figure out how to get a workout in. You pick out where to go, or decide whether to make a shopping trip on the way home. It’s a great time to plan your evening meal, either with your family or with yourself instead of just grabbing food on the run.
Again, this is taking 15 minutes at the most and do a little bit of planning so that you can hash out the rest of your day in the way that you most want to. This planning interrupts a negative mindset that comes from focusing on what you didn’t get done and moving it to what you did.
These afternoon reset moments have changed so much for me and has been just as important as getting to bed earlier. What are the shifts that you want to make? Grab a couple of ideas and put them to work. Is losing weight for good in your goals for 2019? I am closed at Diana Murphy Coaching until January 3rd, but I’ll be taking consult calls in January.
Don’t be afraid to look at whether life coaching just might be your answer to your weight loss and productivity issues. I’d love to meet some of my favorite listeners. Don’t be bashful about hopping on the phone. The link to my calendar is in the show notes. Dianamurphycoaching.com/CEO12.
And if you’re listening to this on time, Merry Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve. I hope you’re really planning some special things with your family. If this isn’t the holiday you celebrate, I know that this is a time that you stop and rest. So whatever you have planned, I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season. Thanks again for being a listener. You’ve made this year really special.
Thank you for listening to this episode of Weight Loss for CEOs. If you enjoyed this episode and want more, visit dianamurphycoaching.com for Diana’s latest free coaching tools to get started losing weight without having to start a diet now.