Feeling drained? One of these sneaky saboteurs may be sapping your reserves without your even realizing it.
Your Coworker Is a Positivity Vampire
Maybe she keeps one-upping you on purpose, or subtly belittling your contributions. That passive-aggressive behavior can suck the life right out of you. And aside from killing your motivation, “it can eat at your confidence, too,” says Jennifer Guttman, PsyD, author of A Path to Sustainable Life Satisfaction Workbook.
Shield yourself: Remember that competitiveness stems from insecurity, says Guttman, so try to “lean into compassion” for your nitpicky colleague (as hard as that may be!). The next time she takes a jab at you, think, “Wow, she must be in a really negative headspace.” That kind of empathetic reaction will reinforce to your own brain that her behavior has nothing to do with you or your value at work.
Your Posture Isn’t Perfect
When you sit at a desk from 9 to 5, it’s hard not to let your shoulders slump. But the effects are wearying: “Slouching puts your vertebrae in an unbalanced position, and that causes strain on both sides of your back,” explains Annette Marshall Franey, a physical therapist in East Hampton, New York. Hunching can also make you feel tired faster because it changes your breathing, she adds; your lungs can’t fully expand as you inhale, which means your cells get less oxygen.
Straighten up: Do a wall squat (with your knees at 90 degrees) to realign your spine. “Bring your shoulders down and back so you’re lengthening your spine, and hold for 10 seconds,” says Franey.
You Don’t Get Enough Iron
Your love of spinach may rival Popeye’s, but you can still be low on iron—the essential trace mineral that helps your cells generate energy. If you eat mostly plants, iron is a trickier nutrient because we simply don’t absorb as much of it from plant foods as we do from meat.
Focus on combos: Health’s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, offers this trick: “Have a source of vitamin C with plant-based iron, and you can increase the iron’s absorption sixfold.” Saute´ spinach with bell peppers, or top black bean tacos with red cabbage slaw. For a sweet snack, pair dark chocolate (yes, it’s iron-rich!) with strawberries.
Your Lingerie Drawer Is a Disaster
Do you dig through a jumble of underthings every morning? Untangling your thongs from your shapewear may be more taxing than you think. “Little frustrations like that really bother us,” says Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers. “Anything that slows you down during your day depletes your energy.”
Tame the chaos: It won’t take long to give your drawer a makeover. Just folding your undies and lining them up vertically can make a difference, says Zaslow. You can use dividers to corral delicates, and a pretty box to store extra straps and fashion tape. Then tuck in a sachet and a little souvenir or keepsake that’ll make you smile while you’re getting dressed.
You Suffer from the Sunday Scaries
The weekend is when you replenish energy stores. But if it’s only brunch o’clock and you’re already fretting over tomorrow’s meetings and to-dos, you’re missing out on “precious time you need to rejuvenate yourself,” says Guttman. And that means you’ll be heading into the week at a deficit.
Check your fears: Sunday anxiety is often a result of over-thinking, Guttman explains. We tend to make negative assumptions about how situations will play out in the week ahead. So instead of trying to prematurely problem-solve over avocado toast, ask yourself if there’s any real evidence things won’t turn out fine. If not, give yourself permission to relax and deal with work on Monday.