We all know people who appear to have an overflowing amount of energy. We either feel exhausted after we're with them or we feel energized because we are able to feed off of their enthusiasm. But as is true for a majority of the population, many of us are tired or struggle to get through the day without mainlining caffeine, sugar, a melt-down, or a two-hour nap. Our natural Circadian Rhythm may be partially to blame and/or it can be a less than stellar lifestyle that has caught up with us. Thankfully there are some strategies that we like to refer to as "practices" to help get your groove back so that you too, can be one of those peppy people who go through life with energy to spare and share.
Practice #1: Exercise
If you are working out in the morning and still notice a major mid day slump, you may want to switch things up a bit. Give yourself just 10 minutes in the morning for a little quick burst training or yoga – then at lunch hour get outside for a power walk or intervals with some strength training mixed in.
If you happen to work at a desk, make sure to get up at least every hour and take a loop around the office, drink a glass of water, do some push ups – something to encourage circulation. Also, take one full minute of deep belly breathing since we tend to shallow breathe most of the time. Deep breathing will help re-oxygenate the brain, which will help energize the body.
Practice #2: Stop watching negative television
Do we really need to give reasons why we should all just stop this? Blood, gore, slander, bitterness, murder, scheming, war, death, politics – just writing this list is exhausting. Do you ever walk away from the television set feeling energized after watching the news? How about after watching CSI anything? Chances are it leaves us feeling more anxious than anything else and that drains energy big time. It also sets us up for disturbed sleep, which then creates the vicious cycle of fatigue and insomnia. So, why not give it up for a little while or try and find the most uplifting programming available and try and limit viewing time to weekends.
Practice #3: Stay hydrated
Dehydration can stagnate the blood, thus reducing and slowing down blood flow to your organs. This can not only leave you feeling tired and sluggish, it can be harmful to your health, certainly to your kidneys and digestive system.
Practice #4: Set Regular Sleep and Wake hours (and Make Sure You are Scheduling Adequate Sleep)
If you're not staying up watching bad television, there is no reason you cannot be in bed by 10 pm (and ideally 9 pm) every night. There's something to be said for early to bed, early to rise people – they tend to have more energy than night owls for starters. Who really wants to be a night owl anyway? It's pretty lonely.
Practice #5: Don't Skip Meals
Skipping meals can lead to major fluctuations in blood sugar and this can majorly impact not only our energy, but our health. Aim for 5 small meals throughout the day or 3 meals with 2 decent snacks (100-300 calories depending on your caloric needs) every day. Choose natural, whole foods that don't come from a package. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and alternate whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and oats. Choose lean natural meats and deep sea, cold water fish.
Practice #6: Consider Green Tea (and other things like Acetyl L-carnitine, Quercetin)
Admittedly you do get a little caffeine hit with the green tea, it still has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, and antioxidant polyphenols that are pretty darn good for our health. As long as you stick to drinking green tea before 3 in the afternoon, you should be good in terms of sleep. Unless you have a known sensitivity to caffeine, green tea should not make you stay awake all night.
Other nutrients like Acetyl L-carnitine, an amino acid derivative, has been shown to help the body produce energy. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid nutrient found in red wine, the skin of apples and onions (especially red onions), berries, buckwheat, and green tea. Quercetin has a positive effect on blood sugar, and energy expenditure, supporting optimal metabolism. It has been shown to increase the production of mitochondria, which are the part of cells responsible for energy production, in brain and muscle cells.
There's no question that carrying extra weight around can lead to greater levels of fatigue. There are several things that tie into this. Lack of physical activity, higher incidence of depression and low self-esteem, poor food choices – these can all increase symptoms of fatigue. Begin with self care and self love. Begin with one day at a time and just focus on one meal, one glass of water at a time. Combined with the other 6 practices you will be well on your way to greater energy and greater heal