Fatigue, or lack of energy, has become an incredible burden to Americans. According to surveys of both working individuals and community residents, nearly 40% of us complain of being excessively tired. We’re not talking about just yawning until we get that second cup of coffee; this is the kind of tired that’s involved in causing auto accidents, many of them fatal.
A sample of the U.S. workforce found the economic costs of lost productivity related to fatigue were estimated at over $100 billion per year. Another group of scientists estimated these losses at more than $136 billion per year. (Ricci JA, Chee E, Lorandeau AL, Berger J.J Fatigue in the U.S. workforce: prevalence and implications for lost productive work time. Occup Environ Med. 2007 Jan;49(1):1-10.) Sounds like a lot of dough, doesn’t it? Oh, but I forgot to add on the lost productivity costs due to a lack of sleep (no doubt caused by fatigue, right?) This accounts for another $411 billion. (Hafner M, Stepanek M, Taylor J, Troxel WM, van Stolk C. Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep: A cross-country comparative analysis. Rand Corporation. Accessed 7-26-21 at: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR1700/RR1791/RAND_RR1791.pdf) Without overlap between these two, the total productivity loss due to fatigue-related causes is $547 billion per year. (see additional info on fatigue and energy at: https://www.21chcllc.com/energize)
If you’re burned out on reading articles touting the latest methods of or findings on weight loss, join the growing club.
As anyone who has worked in this field knows, you can give a monkey a copy of the latest diet book and (s)he will make great progress losing weight (so long as you reduce the amount of monkey chow you feed them every day.)
Meditation is not something you can be bad at, like anything it’s a practice. Your brain will always seek to think, plan, drift & worry, so the main intention is to bring your thoughts back to the breath, quieting the mind.
Mindfulness meditation in steps from the Harvard Gazette:
Find a quiet space. Using a cushion or chair, sit up straight but not stiff; allow your head and shoulders to rest comfortably; place your hands on the tops of your legs with upper arms at your side.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. Feel the fall and rise of your chest and the expansion and contraction of your belly. With each breath notice the coolness as it enters and the warmth as it exits. Don’t control the breath but follow its natural flow.
Thoughts will try to pull your attention away from the breath. Notice them, but don’t pass judgment. Gently return your focus to your breath. Some people count their breaths as a way to stay focused.
A daily practice will provide the most benefits. It can be 10 minutes per day, however, 20 minutes twice a day is often recommended for maximum benefit.
You can practice your meditation in a designated quiet space in your home. Or sometimes going into nature, such as near water, on a hike or even a park will do. Whatever is available to you and whatever you choose is perfectly ok.
Your area can simply be a cushion in a corner or you can design a serene space however you’d like.
Calm and Headspace are 2 apps you can use for guided meditations, but there are so many free YouTube videos and websites you can utilize.
Personally, I lost my job and 3 family members in the last year. I’ve slowly found my way back to peace using some of the steps above to reduce my anxiety and bring me a sense of calm.
I do hope you found some value in the above.
Do you have a meditation practice of your own? What do you do to lower your stress levels?