Author Topic: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help  (Read 8232 times)

Ukwhat?

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« on: May 15, 2016, 01:07:49 PM »
Hello,

This is more of a question on issues with my life in general rather than directly on anything financial, although for various reasons financial may have an affect. I'm asking this here as from what I have read over the last few months, a lot of posters have the same sort of mindset as myself. Some of this I haven't said before and is hard to talk about.

About me.
I'm 27, I have a good career local to home and cycle instead of drive, me and my wife have a 7 month old son with my wife on maternity leave. My 'hobby' seems to be obsessing with money and finding ways to save it where I can, apart from this I don't really do anything outside of work and general family life and activities. 

Problems.
I frequently have low energy levels with no desire to do anything. It's currently 7pm when writing this and all the jobs are done, the son is in bed and all I want to do is sit down and sleep, or look at ways of saving money.
Coffee is free at work so I have 3 or 4 small cups whilst there and a couple at home.
Instead of eating I will often have a drink or do nothing as it is easier (6ft4 and 70kg).
We seem to be in a viscous cycle of junk food and snacks and I hate it but then need the sugar and energy.
I see work as a way of getting money to retire early, not something to look forward to for another 15 years so I hate getting up.
I am incredibly irritable and short tempered at times at ridiculous things - for example earlier on I dropped a roll of paper and got incredibly annoyed, and in typing this on my phone I keep hitting return instead of space which is really p*****g me off.
Now I am being way more careful with money means I resent spending money on food ( so I have smaller portions during meals and then more junk), the gym or wasteful things that would have brought me happiness (cars, iPhones, Sonos etc) so I'm more irritable and eat more junk and drink more coffee etc.
I moan at my wife about her junk eating but I am not much better.
We have broken sleep with a 7 month old.
I used to cope on less sleep but need more and more.

Ideal outcome.
To have energy to do things instead of sitting and wasting my life.
To have the desire and willpower to cook healthy food instead of the junk snacks.
To be bothered to go to the gym.
To look forward to the day.
To be a good example for my son.
To be laid back and not annoyed by the little things.
To encourage my wife to go along with this ( I think I have pulled her into my negative way of thinking).

The issue with achieving the ideal outcome is that I don't feel as though I have the energy to start anything.

I also have no idea what to cook or eat as snacks (our meals are healthy) or how to get my appetite back.

I feel like if I had someone come and provide all my meals for a month then I would be healthier again, have more energy and be OK to do all the food myself, but now I don't know where to start.

Maybe someone reading this has been in a similar situation, or can link this all together to a diagnosable condition or spot the biggest problem and give some guidance on where to start?

How do I pull myself of this hole get my life back on track?

Thanks

ETBen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 405
    • I started a journal about single parenting and the new life towards FIRE
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 01:22:26 PM »
It really depends on your preferred approach to self help. Also, besides getting on your wife about junk eating, how much angst is there otherwise between you two?

You have a new baby. You are sleep deprived. You are depressed. And focusing on financial stuff to prepare for life and try to get some sense of control of all this craziness that comes with this stage of life.

My approach would be to focus on getting enough rest, taking a short walk each day, and improving one meal per day. The problem is that people dial it up and try to take on intense workouts, diets, savings, and sleep training their kids all at once.

Everyone will tell you this stage of parenting and marriage can totally suck. Your goal is to be kind to each other and the baby and try to survive for the next 2-3 years. If you can focus on those things, then you get to move on to attempting more.

Kaybee

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 131
  • Location: Alberta
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 01:34:03 PM »
I'm not a doctor but sleep disturbances, self-isolation, lack of appetite, low moods are also symptoms of depression.  Is there an EAP program at work you can use for talk therapy sessions? Have you spoken to a doctor?

It might be premature to consider as an option (did you have these issues pre-baby?) but I'm putting it out there.  Depression doesn't necessarily mean medication, cognitive behaviour therapy can also be life-changing. Good luck and *hugs*

sjc0816

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 246
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2016, 01:46:20 PM »
The first year (or more) of having your first child is a HUGE adjustment. I think we lived in a fog that year and we weren't concerning ourselves with anything except for survival (our first born had some health problems). How often is baby waking? Sleep deprivation exacerbates any and all emotions. So if you're prone to depression or anxiety....they will be much worse.

Some of it will just improve with time....but in the meantime, control what you can control. Clean/healthy eating, exercise (just whatever you can fit in), increased water intake, decreased coffee and alcohol intake, etc. These things are huge.

I don't think it's all that abnormal to crash at the end of the day and lack energy to do much. Our kids are older and we are busy with activities and school but obviously our kids sleep all night....and we still crash when they go to bed at 8:30ish.

One more thing. Get a babysitter and go out with your wife.

FrugalFan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 910
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2016, 01:47:07 PM »
Having a 7 month old baby is hard. And I can relate to the low energy thing lately, but could you be dealing with depression? Maybe others with more direct experience can chime in on this.

I agree with a previous poster that trying to fix too many things at once can be hard. And just like how you feel all the negative habits are spinning out of control, you can create positive loops by changing keystone habits (changing one good habit which starts to have positive effects in other parts of your life - see the Power of Habit book). For example, finding free ways to get exercise can bring more energy into your life, which might decrease your desire to eat junk food, which might give you more energy to take on a new hobby, etc. Maybe you need to increase spending a bit if you think that not spending is making you unhappy. Not on things like junk food, but on items you think could add positive value to your life. Better to spend 16 happy years working than 15 unhappy years working. And it doesn't sound like your job is the key problem right now. If it is, could you look for another job? Change can have a rejuvenating effect sometimes.

Kwill

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1441
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2016, 01:49:10 PM »
Maybe give yourself permission to have bigger helpings at meals and meals that have more protein and fat, less simple carbohydrates, in exchange for cutting down on snacks.

If you've been part of a faith community in the past, this might be a good time to reconnect with it. Often churches will have groups for young couples and families to get together for social occasions, Bible study, or potluck meals, sometimes with babysitting included. It might help to just be part of something distinct from work that's not focused on money or retirement. It seems like you need to sort of feed yourself spiritually and maybe find someone to listen who's either been through this before or counseled others.

If faith-based activities don't appeal, there are probably hobby-centered groups or community organizations.

Cyaphas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
  • Age: 36
  • Location: DFW, TX
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2016, 01:49:41 PM »
I'd see if you can have someone take the baby off you and your spouses hands for 24 hrs every week or two weeks. Go on a date have a couple of drinks (at home if you have to) have a good time within reason and make sure you get a good 9 hrs of sleep/cuddling.

Broken sleep effects me in a big way. 3rd shifts and 2 little boys in the house (not mine) take their toll. After I get some uninterrupted rest I feel 10x better.

You might also want to start finding some kind of physical activity outside.  Sunshine really does help you with vitamin D. Not necessarily sweat your ass off. Maybe take up fishing (not very expensive) for a couple of hours a week to get some sun and just shut off all the noise.

Fix your rest and start spending more time not in the house. Force yourself to go outside and have some kind of goal in mind when you do. Preferably don't do this alone, if she's in a better mood it'll get you and the baby in a better mood.

Frugal Lizard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2016, 01:53:22 PM »
I am not a doctor.  If I had your symptoms I would get a physical to make there is nothing wrong (such as iron deficiency or sleep apnea) that is easily remedied.  I do agree with others that your symptoms sound a lot like depression. 
With a 7 month old, your are through the really really hard part and now you get to the fun parts of baby.  This is the time that baby thinks you are brilliant and funny and wows you with baby brilliance and achievement.  It would be a shame that you miss this most beautiful phase.  Take care of yourself so that you can enjoy this magical time of life.

cerat0n1a

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1480
  • Location: England
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2016, 02:04:08 PM »
me and my wife have a 7 month old son with my wife on maternity leave.

Don't be so hard on yourself.

First few months of having a baby can be really tough.  A toddler is way more fun, when they're walking and talking and sleeping better and you can do lots of stuff together.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8359
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida

CATman

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2016, 02:12:44 PM »
A little exercise and good food will go a long way in helping you out. However you have to make the decision to make that a part of your life. You don't have to go out and run a marathon, but taking a 30 minute walk in the morning or at night before bed is a great way to start. I'm sure you and your partner could take turns watching your child so the other can get away for 30-60 minutes a day.

As for food, you're looking at it from the wrong perspective. Most people think that junk food is cheaper, but they ignore the long term effect it has on health. Not saying you have to go all in, but just adding a variety of fruits/veggies to one meal a day will help you get some of the vitamins/minerals that I'm sure your deficient in if you're not eating well now. You're health is something you can and should invest in. As for the time factor, cooking in bulk is very, very helpful. When I was on a very strict diet due to training, I would take 4-5 hours on sunday and literally prep all my food for the week ahead. Everything went in containers stacked by day of the week. All I had to do was pull out the day's containers, heat them up at breakfast/lunch/dinner, and I was good to go. If you're looking for a place to start cook some kind of starch (rice, potatoes, bread) some kind of vegetable/fruit (possibilities are endless here and they can also be consumed raw which is an even big time saver, and some kind of protein (this doesn't have to be meat, but could also be something like beans or tofu if you're so inclined to go meatless).

It can seem like a completely overwhelming task to turn the ship around on your lifestyle, but you don't have to do it all at once. Take little baby steps and before you know it, you'll be feeling worlds better than you did before.

Rezdent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 813
  • Location: Central Texas
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2016, 02:26:26 PM »
See a doctor.  And discuss these specific symptoms.
I was in the same boat, and spent several years alternating between zombie and angry, but for some reason I never discussed this with my doc.  I wish I had, because when I finally did, she ordered more specialized tests for me.
These tests came back with multiple irregularities.
I cannot express how much better I feel now that I am addressing these issues.  I still have low energy days, and I still get irritated often, but both are getting less frequent and I can now believe they will go away.

If your tests come back as normal, then you discuss that with the doc too.  They should have good suggestions on next steps.


JJsfr

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2016, 02:32:31 PM »
A little exercise and good food will go a long way in helping you out.

Agree with CATman. Being healthy can often help with the energy things and motivation. Further:

... EAP program at work you can use for talk therapy sessions?

Kaylee has another great recommendation. Talking to somebody in person can go along way with improving your mental well-being.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2016, 02:38:38 PM »
Lots of really good advice here.

Don't have much to add as far as the baby stuff. But I will say reading through your post reminded me a lot of how Hubs and I were feeling a year ago.  The junk food, the eating like crap, the feeling like crap the relying on coffee and sugar. Sugar is super addictive and can cause massive withdrawal symptoms the highs and lows and constant need for more to keep level is a vicious cycle.

It doesn't sound like you are giving your body the basic nourishment it needs to function, let alone keep up with having a baby.

We made changes by starting with a "whole 30" reset. We struggled trying many different things before this, it was what we found worked for us. Also, 30 days isn't a huge time commitment so even though it has shaped our lifestyle going forward, it doesn't seem so bad when you start.

There is a huge, massively supportive thread over here:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/whole-30-starting-sept-8th-want-to-join-us/

GoConfidently

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 208
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2016, 02:38:52 PM »
It sounds counter-intuitive, but you need to exercise. Nothing extreme, as has been mentioned, but even just a 20 minute daily walk with the wife and baby will do wonders for your mood.

Stop obsessing over money. You have a system in place, so let it work. It's much more rewarding when you sit down after a few months and see big growth than when you check every day and see little gains. I keep a spreadsheet that gets updated each quarter. I don't run the full numbers before the end of the quarter, and love seeing my net worth increases when I do.

Work on changing your mindset and cultivating gratitude. When you start to feel irritable or down, write or say something that you appreciate. Tell your wife how much you appreciate having her in your life. Play with your baby and tell him how much you love him. Keep a gratitude journal. Anything to make your brain focus on the good. And confide in your wife about how you're feeling. Maybe she's feeling the same way and you can make a plan together. If she's not feeling the same, she needs to know so she can encourage you. You two are a team. Lean on her so she can help.

Challenge yourself to unplug from tv and the Internet for one weekend. Get your wife on board. Play a card game, grill for dinner, read a book, go for a drive,take a nap, hit the pool at the gym, etc. It doesn't have to cost anything to mix up your routine, but it will require some creativity and willpower. Onve you've done it for a weekend, add in one weeknight. Changing your life is about changing one thing at a time and building slowly. Just take one step.

Nickels Dimes Quarters

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
  • Location: Near the Middle
    • Nickels, Dimes & Quarters ~ It All Adds Up
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2016, 03:56:41 PM »
This phase is a really stressful time for a new mom and new dad. Make sure that both you and your wife are getting as much sleep as you can. Surviving this phase isn't easy. Here are some of the things I did back then:

1. Reach out. Ask a friend or relative to take care of the baby while you both sleep, or go out to dinner alone.
2. Drink water. Have that morning cup of coffee, but then switch to water the rest of the day.
3. Exercise. Get a child cart for walking/jogging or to attach to your bicycle. While you are out with your baby, mom can have alone time.

NDQ

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3006
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2016, 11:00:15 PM »
Something that helped me when I started to change my lifestyle is to cook foods that are treat foods at home. For example home made mac and cheese is better than store bought or restaurant,  and I can each as much as I want. If you eat store bought or restaurant mac and cheese you will miss the better version. This way you can slowly train yourself to eat better.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6445
  • Location: BC
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2016, 11:21:01 PM »
its not you... its the baby...   really..

Things that recently helped me.

1.  Eating 5 fruits and veg a day  Commit to it..

then.

2  Get more sleep.

then.

3.  Stop alcohol for a couple of months.

If after 3 starts, you don't naturally start getting more energy and self starting new behaviours: then....

4.  Start a healthy diet and  / or start taking more gentle exercise to get oxygen through to your brain.  Taking walks with baby and / or wife is a great start.   Or, try talking more with your wife as an adult (I am just superimposing my challenges with a 7 month old onto you, here, you did not mention any lack of adult time in your post)


You would be amazed at the difference in your life after the simple items above...


DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2016, 05:27:16 AM »
I'll agree this does sound like depression, but its also very normal and common for someone with a baby, be it post partum depression of the mother, or a similar equivolent of the father.  Its due to feeling like your tiring situation will never change, but babies do start to sleep through the night, and better rest will help you a lot.  Also, a 7 month old is very easily taught to sleep through the night - there are lots of techniques on the internet.  I would start there.

A therapist 'could' help, but that's costly and in a few months your life will be different.  I would also not recommend getting on any meds for it during a transition time like yours.  I've known parents who each did every other night up with the child, and they slept near the child so the crying wouldn't wake up the parent who's night it was to sleep.  Just a thought for you.

Dmy0013

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
  • Location: Central Canada
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2016, 08:44:29 AM »
I personally find that my food choices have a major affect on my mood...

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14050
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2016, 08:53:09 AM »
As has been mentioned a couple times, having a baby is an ordeal.  It's sold as some sort of wonderful experience.  This is a lie.  They are screaming pink things that vomit and crap at the drop of a hat, don't have the decency to sleep for more than a couple minutes at a time, need constant attention, and don't even recognize you for several months.  Although it seems like the misery will last forever, they really do get moderately less terrible as they age.

By about two and a half you will have regained about 70% of your humanity back.

CowboyAndIndian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1503
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2016, 08:56:49 AM »
When I had my first kid, I was scared since I was responsible for this life. Was quite a major adjustment. Add this to a lack of sleep and I can see why you feel the way you do.

By about two and a half you will have regained about 70% of your humanity back.

Yes, and then they become teenagers ;-)
Just kidding ...

Hope you

The Happy Philosopher

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 343
    • thehappyphilosopher
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2016, 09:16:08 AM »
Things that have helped me in no particular order of importance.

1. Meditation and or mindfulness practice (10 minutes/day)
2. Gratitude. Easiest way is to journal or incorporate it into #1
3. Exercise. Doesn't have to be hardcore. A half hour walk is a great start.
4. Diet. Cleaning up the fuel you put in your engine will make you run better. Lower carbs. Lower processed junk food. More healthy fat. More vegetables.
5. Alcohol and caffeine.  Drop the alcohol, cut back on caffeine. You will feel better and probably sleep better as a side effect.
6. TV and news. Completely eliminate. They will just induce low levels of chronic stress. Get outside or read instead.
7. Realize you are probably normal, but also probably mildly depressed. Most people can manage their mild depression conservatively, some people need professional help.


theSchmett

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2016, 09:21:30 AM »
What frugal doc says.

Babies are impossible, BTW, your brain will go through a whole rewiring procedure over the first year or so... so make sure that includes loving your kid and everything will be A OK.

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2016, 09:34:13 AM »
as everyone says having a new baby at home is tough.  Our baby is also 7 months old so it seems like each day is different than the previous.

I will have to say that proper nutrition is key for pretty much everything in life, so if you're looking to tackle one aspect of your life this would be the first place to start.

#1  Start eating.  It sounds like you skipping meals which is doing more harm than good.  So you may have to schedule your meals and snacks.  Serisouly, open up your calendar and schedule "10am and 3pm every day eat snack".  Keep baby carrots, cut celery on hand for these snacks.  Buy a veggie party tray from the grocery store and eat those as snacks.

#2  Meal plan.  Go to www.budgetbytes.com, sit down with your wife and pick out 2-3 weeks worth of meals that can be made ahead of time.  Spend a day, make a dozen meals and put them in the freezer. Take out tomorrow's dinner from the freezer and put it in the fridge before going to bed. That way you don't have to think about it and the effort is already done.

 You mentioned that it would be great to have someone cook for you for a month, but then what?  What would happen after that month was over?

#3 Drop the alcohol and cut back on caffeine.  Alcohol doesn't help anyone and it has been shown that it will mess up your sleep cycle.  Same with caffeine. 

TFTF

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2016, 10:29:03 AM »
This book - while it looks incredibly cheesy and is in fact mildly cheesy - really helped me change negative thought patterns and get annoyed less easily: http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-New-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380810336

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2016, 10:38:46 AM »
I agree about getting outside especially. I work from home and we have an 8mo old. It's all too easy to be stuck in the house all the time. My only 'escape' is in the form of fishing and specifically fly fishing. Although it's not something I can do all the time, it is something I look forward to doing when I'm able to. Even if it means taking a walk to the park down the street to practice fly-casting. There's something about it that's very stress-relieving. Albeit, my current job isn't very stressful but there are times I don't look forward to work.

I also agree about cutting back on the caffeine and alcohol. I've noticed if I ever have those things, I tend to be more awake at night. Exercise definitely helps with getting better sleep, as does avoiding too much junk food. Junk food is mostly non-existent in our house. I think the both of us were just never really into it all that much. But I think reading label and educating ourselves on all the preservatives is something that keeps us scared away from that stuff too. We're not religious about it as we'll splurge at times, but we try to make an effort to do some grocery shopping and cooking. When you're making all these changes too, it helps not to try to go all-in, as that can often result in early failure and then giving up. Choose one area, and really conquer it and then move onto the next.

When you say your "meals are healthy" can you give some specifics on what you're eating? It seems you aren't filling up enough to actually make yourself more full during these meals, or even having enough meals throughout the day as mentioned above. Getting enough fiber and protein and the relevant portion sizes? For snacks and junk food, what kinds of items are you eating? Cheetos/Doritos/Chocolates/etc? If so, try to find the alternatives and limit yourself on portions too. Eat more fruit and veggies (apples, celery, and peanut butter, oranges, carrots etc). It's OK to eat the junk food once in a while but the key is not overdoing it.

Easier said than done, especially with an infant. Many of us have been there and have gone through what you're going through to some extent.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 10:44:34 AM by jplee3 »

esq

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Location: Humble, TX: World's Biggest Oxymoron
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2016, 10:56:38 AM »
Both my babies were terrible sleepers, and #1 refused to go along with any kind of schedule, ever (despite what all the "books by experts" said).

Something that really helped at our house was that either me or my husband would make sure the other got a good night's sleep by taking care of night time baby needs in another room. Sleep deprivation can seriously destroy your ability to think clearly.  Soon you'll be able to step back and look at your situation more objectively.  Writing it down in black and white like you did here is the first step.

The other thing I would suggest is having healthy snacks available around the house instead of junk food.  Start with one or two, and buy a bit less junk - little by little, you can work through this as well.

Best of luck to you.

Ukwhat?

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2016, 01:52:07 PM »
Wow...I am truly staggered at the amount of replies. I thought their might be a couple but this is astounding.

Thank you everyone for your replies, I have read each in detail and will re read numerous times to pick out the ideas. I don't think any 'therapist' could have given anywhere near as useful advice - I knew people on here would be the best place for me to ask!

I don't know where to start with answering questions or thoughts so I will just put a few down.

Key points I achieved today...
1. Only had 2 cups of coffee, one before work and one after lunch.
2. I was getting extremely irritable this evening so I took the advice and had a 45 minute walk in the evening sun to a local park where I sat and looked out at everything and started to realise how life good can be if you take the effort to look for it and look at the simple things. At the park I saw I dad walking and running around with his two daughters and a dog, all of them laughing (maybe not the dog) and all of them happy - this is the sort of dad I want to be, not the people driving by the park in their BMW X5s.
3. Deciding to forget the budget and obsessing about the finances, I will look at it again in 2 weeks time, with the aim of then extending this to monthly.

Our son is generally quite a good sleeper at night and has been since early on, normally it's only 1 wake per night but that is stopping.

I like the idea about preparing healthy snacks - I will look at doing this.

I can eat anything and everything - todays food was. Crumpets for breakfast, Homemade vegetable, cheese and chicken pasta for lunch, vegetable risotto for dinner. Snacks were apples, pears, nectarine and a plum and a cake a colleague made for charity. Reading it back this is not enough. To put weight on I have to eat what works out to about 3500 calories which the above clearly isn't... I will try and find ways to eat more. I talked about the whole30 challenge with my wife, but as we are following the baby led weaning approach with our son and so he eats what we eat and when we eat, she doesn't think the timing is right, and neither of us have energy to prepare separate meals at this time. I tried putting meals in the calendar a few weeks ago but with work, timing is to inconsitent with meetings etc that I would miss the snack and then waste it - I will try and find a better way of working this.

Moving on to my wife... She is incredible with our son and I try and give her all the time she needs to relax and have time to herself (4 or 5 exercise classes a week) so she doesn't end up like I feel. I might need to start thinking of me a little bit more as well it seems.

TV and News - I like the idea of cutting these out a lot. So far today, no TV and no junk - All is going well.

Grattitude - I am very lucky and I know it at the time of writing this however when I feel rubbish it is a lot harder to realise, I need to focus on what I am grateful for more and the idea of lists or journals is something I will explore.

Depression - I do think I have a mild form of depression, I went to the doctor about a year ago (before son was born) saying I had a lack of energy and generally didn't feel happy or 'right'. He didn't think I was depressed and instead thought it could be a food intolerance so did a blood test to test for that and many other things which all came back OK. So he decided i was OK. So yeah doctors around here aren't that helpful in my experience with things like this.

Internet and phone detox - another brilliant idea that I will bring up with my wife after a while of trying the other things so as not to do too much at once. I think this will have a big impact.

Sorry if anyone feels I have ignored any part of their post, I haven't - there is just too much fantastic advice to respond with quotes to all.

Again... thank you to all of you. I do think this could make some significant differences to my life and in turn my sons life, which I can't thank you enough for.

JJsfr

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2016, 03:35:41 PM »
Good luck. Check back in after 2 weeks and let us know how it's going ;)

adizb

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2016, 04:01:57 PM »
Yo, whenever you feel down or dont want to do anything try listening to some motivational speeches on youtube, it sounds silly but some of the "cheesy" generic motivation lines are exactly what you may need to hear. It can really kick you in the butt and into gear to start moving. Im also struggling with being irritable(27 y.o.) though thats just something you have to work on. Like MMM's positive gun, focus on the upside, good luck!

GreenQueen

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
  • Location: Up North
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2016, 04:04:35 PM »
You sound like you have adrenal burnout. I had this a number of years ago after doing too much for too many years. My Western and Chinese doctors both missed it, but fortunately a good friend who became a naturopath diagnosed me over the phone, made recommendations (including cutting out coffee, and taking bovine hormones for a while to give my adrenal glands a break, sounds weird but no worse than other supplement), and I recovered. It made a huge difference in my quality of life.

Either way, I recommend seeing a naturopath, if only for a second or third opinion. Sometimes we're just out of balance.

Good luck!

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2016, 04:05:08 PM »
I'm not a doctor but sleep disturbances, self-isolation, lack of appetite, low moods are also symptoms of depression.  Is there an EAP program at work you can use for talk therapy sessions? Have you spoken to a doctor?

It might be premature to consider as an option (did you have these issues pre-baby?) but I'm putting it out there.  Depression doesn't necessarily mean medication, cognitive behaviour therapy can also be life-changing. Good luck and *hugs*

Yes, sounds like you are most definitely suffering from depression. I'm nearly the same as you described, especially with having no interest in anything when not busy except sleeping and surfing the webs for ways to get done with the drudge of work faster. I've struggled with depression most of my adult life, so there's no quick fix but I imagine as your child gets older and your sleep habits are able to improve, so will your symptoms. Best thing I can tell you is nix the junk food ASAP and do what you can to only eat fresh, healthy stuff. You'll find you won't "need the sugar" if you do this and will feel more even through the day. Getting better sleep is going to be key, but with the kid, that's hard I know.

Definitely use your EAP benefits. Even just a handful of meetings with a counselor may give your some useful tools to help you recover your sanity.

Chrissy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 946
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Chicago
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2016, 08:20:34 PM »
What everyone else said, and a second vote for WATER.

Depressed?  Omega 3s:  fish and Omega 3 supplements.

Inexpensive, but healthy & quick snacks for work: 
--nuts (raw, toasted, mixed, in nutbars, whatever)
--eggs, hard-boiled
--yogurt
--granola or oatmeal
--popcorn

notactiveanymore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2016, 10:22:54 AM »
I have spent several years of my life explaining away my clinical depression as a factor of my current life situations and not something deeper. But instead of getting better after a stressful period was over, I just got more hopeless. OP, I have no idea if that is the case for you or not, but it's kind of my life's mission now to encourage people to find help before it gets so bad that you feel beyond help.

Talking to doctors about depression and anxiety is literally my least favorite thing ever. But it can certainly be amazingly helpful if you find the right medication to even out brain imbalances. The side-effects for me were too much, so I'm not currently on a daily med, but I do have something for panic attacks. I take about 1 pill a month, but it makes me feel like I have control over the situation. I also totally understand the desire to avoid meds completely. And changing behaviors can have the most significant effects. For me, it's all about finding a way to take control.

Feeling like you're doing something to be in control of your life and emotions seems to me to be the best way to feel hope and joy again. Food and exercise are both big parts of that.

Some of my tricks and tips for taking control or getting healthier emotionally, for OP or others:
  • V8 Fusion - (not V8 Splash which is just sugar) it has good vitamins, several servings of fruit/veg, and calories, so even on days when you don't feel like eating, it's a good addition
  • Lunch meat & Cheese Sticks - easy easy protein. And if you eat the whole container of turker/ham, you don't have to feel bad!
  • Libraries and Mall Walking - Sometimes it can be hard to go into public and deal with people. Libraries and mall walking are places where you can be around people (going somewhere everyday is helpful) without having to deal with them
  • Start a New Show - cutting back on mindless tv or internet usage can help, but so can starting a new, compelling show. Friday Night Lights and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were super important to my recovery lol.
  • Supplements - For me, it is megadosing on Niacin, which has had some legit studies demonstrating it's benefit for people with depression and/or bipolar. Maybe it doesn't work, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something to get better. Some people will swear by b12 supplements or melatonin for sleeping. Honestly, it's probably mostly the placebo effect, so whatever you prefer!
  • Relaxing Hobbies - for me, this is knitting, coloring, sudoku, or frecell. My husband just started learning to juggle, so he's been doing that for a little while before bed and it's helped him during a stressful work period. Many returning soldiers have turned to crocheting and knitting to calm anxieties. When you're not feeling rested, even after a full night of sleep, you can feel like your brain hasn't gotten a break. These hobbies help provide that break.
  • Moments of Laughter - whether it's watching youtube videos of puppies in swimming pools or babies laughing, or if it's putting on a netflix standup special in the background while you work, getting yourself to laugh is amazingly helpful to combat periods emotional detachment.

OP, glad to hear you're seeing some brightness at the end of this time of low-energy. I second all the recommendations above about considering an employment change if that is within your options. But if you continue to feel this way even with changes, please do the difficult thing and talk to your doctor (maybe a new one) and your spouse about the situation.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 10:26:53 AM by theotherelise »

StarBright

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1406
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2016, 01:39:29 PM »
Regarding snacks and just wanting someone to do it for you - Have you ever tried any subscription boxes? They are sent to you weekly and are full of snacks. Graze and Nature Box are the two I can think of off the top of my head.

I think they both run around $10 a week. They aren't cheap but you can cancel at anytime and if you just need a month where someone takes care of this one task for you, I think it could be worth it. A bonus is that is can feel like a special treat to get a surprise delivered in the mail!

You can also do them for meals and they come with pre-measured ingredients. Again, not super mustachian but cheaper and healthier than take out.

I didn't let anyone "help" me through two post-partum periods because I'm "strong" and "can do it all" - it really was not good for me.

Apologies if this posts twice - I'm having weird interweb stuff.

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 840
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Missouri
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2016, 01:56:05 PM »
What everyone else said, and a second vote for WATER.

Depressed?  Omega 3s:  fish and Omega 3 supplements.

Inexpensive, but healthy & quick snacks for work: 
--nuts (raw, toasted, mixed, in nutbars, whatever)
--eggs, hard-boiled
--yogurt
--granola or oatmeal
--popcorn

I've got to second the motion on Omega 3s. And don't mess around with the cheap crap, get something good like this, which is what I use currently: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004O2I9JO/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0081O7P8W&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=16KA33Z0QBWJE4EMA4JV

Vitamin D can be just as critical. Most people are severely deficient and current dietary guidelines as well as what the medical currently defines as the normal range are way too low. Go for 5,000 IUs or more per day. I'm taking 10,000 IUs per day of a Vitamin D pill from the same company as the fish oil link I posted. I've noticed a great difference with both products.

I've also used Lemon Balm VERY successfully to help my poor sleep and depression. I take it before bed and wake up feeling more refreshed and alert than ever.


golden1

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Location: MA
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2016, 02:11:40 PM »
Google dysthymia.  It is a chronic low level depression.  If there is a happiness scale from 1-10, you are stuck at a 3 most of the time.  You can get to work, and function at a basic minimum, but you aren't thriving.

Step 1:
Getting outdoors and move for 30 minutes a day.  I find this the most helpful first step.  I have to work it into my routine or I won't do it, so I take a walk at lunch time. 

Even better:  Vigorous exercise that raises your heart rate for 30 minutes a day.  I personally like running, but biking or any other cardio is really good for mood elevation.  I personally have never found weights to do anything for my mood, but it is certainly good for you. 

Step 2:  Get a good night's sleep for a few days.  This is hard with a kid, but usually if my mood deteriorates it is related to poor sleep. 

Step 3:  Try meditation in some form.  Some people can't sit and meditate, and prefer walking meditations. 

Step 4:  Try this book:  "Feeling Good" by David Burns.  It is the definitive cognitive behavioral therapy handbook and when I read it it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.  Really, it's THAT good.  I reread sections from time to time. 

If none of this is making a dent, don't be opposed to trying some medication.  It can be helpful in getting you to a place where you can do the steps above. 

FIREdancer

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 134
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2016, 02:17:34 PM »
From your update, it sounds like some of the tips have already helped a little bit.  And in your original post, it seemed like you already know what you need to do...it is just a matter of finding the motivation to do it.  You've already gotten some great responses here, and I'm probably repeating a lot, but just wanted to add my two cents. 

You mention being in a junk food rut, and not wanting to eat that, but needing the sugar for energy...it really is a vicious cycle.  If you try cutting out that sugar, you will probably find that you are more energized.  Plus, sugar is addictive, so it is hard to cut it out, but once you do, it becomes easier to eat those things that are better for you.  Others have already mentioned some great snack alternatives.  Some of my favorites are homemade granola, homemade granola bars, popcorn, cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies, plain Greek yogurt with maple syrup and frozen fruit or granola, mixed nuts, fruit and yogurt smoothies.  Also, I always feel more energized when I start the day with eggs or oatmeal.  Something with protein to keep you full and energized.  I have also found that eating more whole grains has helped me feel better overall...I still eat processed breads and pasta occasionally, but I try to eat more oatmeal, rice, quinoa, whole grain breads, etc., and I have so much more energy and I feel better mentally and emotionally, too.  Another good addition to any meal is beans...super economical, energizing, filling, and tasty.  I also simply don't buy junk food...if it's not there I won't eat it, and I'll save money and my health.  If I buy junk food, I inevitably eat an entire bag or box of something in one sitting...not very economical or healthy.

I also second the responses to get a little exercise.  Even if you don't go to the gym, just taking a short walk every day or doing some gentle stretches or easy exercises you can do from home are helpful.  It might sound kind of silly, but if you have a clear space and an empty wall try a handstand.  Being inverted really energizes you.  Handstands are great to strengthen your arms and core and to help with balance, but they really do clear your mind, too.  Instant energy boost.

Also, some things that have already been mentioned, but that I really like: drink lots of water, reflect on the things you're thankful for, try to cut back on internet/tv time, take a minute or two to meditate (simply deepen your breathing for a few minutes a day...this is especially helpful for those times when feeling irritable).

And don't worry about trying to change everything at once.  Try a few things at a time.  See what works for you.  And make sure you are doing things for yourself...it is good to take care of your family, but you can only take care of others if you take care of yourself first.

Finding that motivation is the hardest part, but I think that can only come from you.  There is no secret formula or magic tool to find motivation.  You have to just want to make a change.  I think if you set an intention each morning to try to be positive, it will be easier to find that motivation.

Cottonswab

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 177
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Boulder, CO
  • Occasional Advice Dispensary
    • My Journal
Re: No energy, not enjoying life, stuck in a rut - help
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2016, 02:38:31 PM »
Depression - I do think I have a mild form of depression, I went to the doctor about a year ago (before son was born) saying I had a lack of energy and generally didn't feel happy or 'right'. He didn't think I was depressed and instead thought it could be a food intolerance so did a blood test to test for that and many other things which all came back OK. So he decided i was OK. So yeah doctors around here aren't that helpful in my experience with things like this.

I went through something similar.  After seeing 5 different doctors with no improvement or confirmed diagnosis, I concluded that most doctors are lazy and really not willing to put in the time/effort for a thorough diagnosis for non-life threatening complaints.  Improvement only came for me when I started developing my own diagnosis and treatment plans.  Be methodical.  Be thorough.  Don't expect doctors to do all the heavy lifting.  Also keep in mind that many tests have false negatives and therefore the results may be misleading. 

In my case, I ordered an endoscopy and colonoscopy.  I also started taking invidual vitamin and mineral supplements.  I found that my stomach lining had been eroded and that I had developed vitamin and mineral deficiencies.



« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 12:39:03 PM by Cottonswab »