10 Things To Do On Days When You Have No Energy

Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith shares some concrete actions you can take if/when you’re feeling burned out.


We all have days when we have no energy, and if you use some creativity, you can make these days work for you (even if you have to drag yourself out of bed). It’s OK to move a little slower, as long as you keep moving. Here are 10 things to do on days when you have no energy.

1. Keep smiling. As long as you have a smile on your face, other people will never know you aren’t feeling like Snoopy at suppertime. Finding something to smile about will make your day a little brighter and actually give you something to smile about.

2. Take a quick shower. Even if you’re feeling a bit unwell, it really is the healthiest thing to do. You can also take a long bath, but keep the water temp comfortable. Your energy level will pick up a little, and it may get you through the rest of the day.

3. Put on clothes that make you feel good. Truth be told, I’m a sweats guy, but if I need to show up and want a boost, the power suit comes out of the closet. This triggers my professional mode, and it helps keep my mind sharp. The other advantage of wearing a suit is people take you more seriously, so sometimes you can just sit there and look good.

4. Stop and smell the roses. Find something lovely to get a little extra inspiration. This is why I garden, as does Sir Michael Caine, so I know I’m in good company. The idea is to let a little natural beauty inspire you.

5. Do things in bite-sized chunks. Take a break every 30 minutes or more if you need it. If you overdo and exhaust yourself, it can take days to recover, so respect what your body is telling you and try to do a little at a time.

6. If it’s not something you absolutely have to do, don’t do it today. This truly is one of those cases where procrastinating is not a bad idea. If it can wait until your energy returns, then let it wait.
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7. Phone it in. Remote work is very helpful on days like these, and if you can work from your bedroom when you need to, that’s a gift. You don’t always have to be the brightest light in the room. Sometimes just a faint glow is enough.

8. Ask a friend. If you can’t muster the forces to do something you’d planned with other people, and someone else can fill in, ask a friend to be there for you. The people you were going to meet will respect that you were honest about your physical and emotional state, and they’ll be grateful you found someone who can go in your stead.

9. Act until you can get home. Sometimes you have to put your Oscar face on and act your way through a difficult day. We’ve all done it, and sometimes the acting can kick the negative energy out.

10. Remember, you will probably feel better tomorrow. Another sunrise may make all the difference, so when you rest, allow the possibility of a new day to lift you up. I know it may sound corny, but I just did it, and I’m feeling pretty good now.

Low energy days are a part of life. When your body tells you it needs a break, my suggestion is to listen. It sucks when you have a day off and you’re too tired to play in the garden or pick up your guitar, but just let it go for now and respect what your body is saying. An easy day today could mean a big success tomorrow.

(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)
©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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