How to Feel ‘Good Tired’ Instead of Just…Depleted

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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This article is part of SELF’s second annual Rest Week, an editorial package dedicated to doing less. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that taking care of yourself, physically and emotionally, is impossible without genuine downtime. With that in mind, we’ll be publishing articles up until the new year to help you make a habit of taking breaks, chilling out, and slowing down. (And we’re taking our own advice: The SELF staff will be OOO during this time!) We hope to inspire you to take it easy and get some rest, whatever that looks like for you.


Everything feels exhausting lately. Maybe it always has; lately is, of course, a subset of always. There’s just so much to do every day, and boundless opportunity, thanks to the constant stream of information at our fingertips, to consider the ways in which we’re falling short. Every day influencers arise at the crack of…whenever, to make “Get Ready With Me” videos for adults who wish that more entertainment geared at people our age had the tone of a Sesame Street segment about how to tie your shoes. We are constantly bombarded with images of people who are not only beautiful and successful, but who also seem to always be at their best. How are we regular slobs (no offense, reader) supposed to keep up?

Well, there are infinite devices and products that promise to help us feel less drained (or at least look less drained). A million mattress companies, all of which allegedly offer a superior night’s sleep, seem to have sprouted up overnight just to fill advertising space on podcasts. Supplements are an infinity-dollar industry, and their purveyors swear they can give you everything from lasting energy to relaxation at the end of the day—the way I imagine the sober members of Metallica party when they’re on the road these days. Plenty of foods promise jolts of energy too. Coffee, sure. We all know about coffee; that’s 101 stuff. Now mushrooms have come into fashion as an additive to your morning cup o’ something. They’re purportedly loaded with adaptogens, which I thought was the technical name of the compounds that turn regular turtles into the Teenage Mutant Ninja kind. If you really want to add some zip to your morning, you could shell out for a ginger shot (kind of like throwing back the opposite of tequila) or an acai bowl, which sounds exotic, but is mostly just there to answer the question, “What if oatmeal were made of gummy worms?”

The problem is, no matter what you do, you’re going to get sleepy. Every single day. There is no amount of rest that exempts you from that biological fact. Even people who manage to do everything “right” require several hours of unconsciousness in any given 24-hour span. No matter how much we’d like to, we simply can’t make it to bedtime fully awake and alert, shut down our operating system entirely at 11 p.m., and roll that extra energy into the next day when we reboot—and there is no amount of ginseng or pilates or Brooklinen that can get around that fact.

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