When I’m tired or sick, my mind runs wild with thoughts that are typically never helpful.
If left unmanaged, I can work myself up into irrational fears, worry, or anxiety.
If you can relate to this, I have a mindfulness practice that will help you manage your mindset when you’re feeling tired. The same approach works when you’re sick, too, and not feeling your best.
The next time you’re tired (or sick) try this for managing your mind:
First, check in with your body.
Before jumping to conclusions (which your brain loves to do), go inward and check in with your body.
Are you tired? Are you sick? Are you somehow physically not at your best?
Acknowledge this expressly (it will be incredibly powerful).
It sounds like, “Oh, I can see that I’m feeling tired right now.” With this increased awareness, there’s this sense that you can calm down your brain.
Second, talk back to your brain.
Once you uncover that you’re tired or sick, talk back to your brain with intentional thoughts.
Here are some of my favorites:
- I’m tired right now, and these are my tired thoughts.
- I’m having a thought error.
- I don’t have to listen to my brain.
- I can check in on these thoughts another time.
- It’s not a good moment to trust my thoughts.
When I use my Inner Coach to talk back to my default thoughts when I’m tired, I give myself space to be human (and have these thoughts that aren’t useful) while also knowing I don’t have to believe them.
CLICK HERE to download the podcast directory (and get the best mindset podcast episodes to listen to.)
Third, give your body what it needs.
If you’re tired, get some rest. If you’re sick, give your body what it needs, like fluids, medicine, rest, etc.
When you’re not feeling your best, your prefrontal cortex “goes offline” in the sense that it’s much harder to access and use.
For example, you’re not going to want to plan your goals or your schedule when you’re sick or tired. It takes a lot of brain power and future focus. These are prefrontal cortex activities.
The same is true with thinking better feeling thoughts. It’s just harder to do when you’re sick or tired. To the extent possible, give your body what it needs, knowing that you’ll explore your thoughts afterwards.
Fourth, check back in the next day.
After you get some rest, check back in with yourself.
For example, if you had thoughts about worrying about a future problem that seemed really anxiety-producing, and then you check back in after a night of rest (or recovery from being sick), is this even an issue anymore?
Often you’ll find that either 1) the thoughts that were such a problem aren’t a problem anymore, or if they are still a problem, 2) they’re much less of a problem.
This is why it can be useful to put a boundary in place where you only think about your “real” problems at times when you’re feeling refreshed.
If I ever find myself worrying at night, I talk back to my brain and remind it that we can revisit this challenge in the morning and that nighttime is never a good time to worry.
A Final Note
Your brain is designed to conserve energy and keep you safe. When you’re tired or sick, your primitive brain can take over in an effort to meet these two goals. Your brain evolved this way, and even though it’s not useful as a modern woman, you can manage it with the steps above. Just remind yourself that tired thoughts are just thoughts and you can revisit them once you’re rested and feeling better.