You won’t need me to tell you that living with tinnitus can be exhausting. Many of us in the Tinnitus Tribe find the constant awareness of sound depletes our energy more quickly than life before tinnitus. The result? We get to the later part of the day and feel utterly wiped out. Energy levels = 0%. That’s not good for us, for our hobbies, for our family and for our quality of life.
What I have found incredibly useful in my tinnitus journey is to think of my energy stores for each day as a battery. Most of us own electronic devices that run off a battery and need regular recharging, such as a phone, tablet, Nintendo, laptop or even, these days, hearing aids. It’s rare we allow these devices to run down completely. Instead, during the day, we take the opportunity to plug them in and top up their energy levels.
How often do we stop and recharge during the day? Obviously, it’s not quite as easy as charging a mobile phone – we can’t plug ourselves into an energy source and keep working. But there are lots of things we can do to maintain our energy levels as best we can and top them up when we need to. Here are some ideas.
- Pace your listening. Take breaks from noisy situations or sounds that make your tinnitus seem louder. For example, if you’re at work, nip to the bathroom for 5 minutes or take a walk up and down a few flights of stairs.
- Take a nap. You might only be able to manage a 20 minute snooze at lunchtime in your car, or you might have the luxury of a cosy couch or even your bed. Wherever you end up, 20 – 30 minutes is enough to refresh body and mind without leaving you groggy or affecting your sleep that evening.
- Grab your dog, or someone else’s (probably best to seek their owner’s permission!) and go for a pooch mooch to the park, or just around the block. If the air quality is good, take some good deep breaths. I often do this on spring and summer nights when I’ve finished work. It leaves me feeling so much better than heading straight to the sofa and Netflix.
- Put your favourite music on (not too loud of course!) and boogie around the room for 10 minutes. Sing your heart out if that’s your thing and you won’t set the local dogs howling!
- Phone a friend who never ceases to make you laugh.
- Chill out with TikTok, social media or YouTube, or play a game on your phone (Wordle anyone?). I recommend setting a timer for this kind of break otherwise hours can pass before you lift your head.
- Grab coffee or lunch with a friend or work-mate who won’t sap your energy with a litany of complaints about life.
- Hit the shops, if that’s your thing. I’m not a big fan of wandering around city shopping malls, but point me in the direction of a bookshop and it’s like plugging me into a power source!
- Meditate for 10 minutes. You can access lots of free guided meditations on apps like Headspace and Insight Timer.
- Hit the gym, or the dance class, or the yoga studio. Exercise increases your body’s energy supply and allows your body to use its energy more efficiently. Plus, it causes an increase in hormone levels that leave you buzzing at the end of your session.
- Seek the sun. Research shows that topping up your vitamin D can help significantly with energy levels, and during spring and summer the sun does a great job of providing the vitamin D we need.
- Listen to an audiobook or piece of music with full attention. Tempting as it may be to multi-task, this is a break to restore your energy so resist all distractions!
- Spend time with the ultimate source. If you have a faith, why not spend time praying, reading your holy book or simply sitting in silence.