These modern replies to “How’ve you’ve been?” have become standard in today’s increasingly hectic world. If you’ve found yourself with low motivation, lack of focus, increased frustration, and diminishing patience you could be suffering from energy drain — and you wouldn’t be alone. Luckily there are lots you can do to counter these lows and give your energy a boost, and we’ve got 7 strategies, below, to help get you started.
1. Wave Your Stress Goodbye
Stress is a huge energy suck. While it’s not realistic to think you can just wave a wand and magic the overwhelming parts of your life away it IS often possible to find temporary reprieve. Re-examine your to-do list, and move anything not urgent to a to-do-later list and tuck it away. Prioritize what’s left, and ask for help from partners, family, and friends whenever you’re able. Then take a few moments each day to meditate, read, knit, or have a bath — anything that helps you relax and take time just for you.
2. Go to Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is a surefire way to find your energy lagging. But while developing better sleep habits will help you get more out of every day, it can be hard to do. You can make it easier by avoiding caffeine at night and starting to wind down at least an hour before you head to bed. Keeping your bedroom dark and the temperature cool can help you get to sleep — and stay there — too. And on those days sleep evaded you taking a short nap can give you the burst of energy you need to get through the rest of your day.
3. Fuel Your Body Better
We are — as they say — what we eat, and how we fuel our bodies has a huge impact on the energy we get in back in return. For some, eating smaller meals throughout the day helps maintain level energy throughout the day but whether you’re eating one meal or six, what’s most important isn’t how often you eat — it’s what you’re eating. Choosing complex carbs — like whole grains — and foods high in fibre, protein, and good fats over processed foods high in sugar, bad fats, and salt gives your body the nutrients it needs to function at its best and provide the energy you need.
4. Walk it Out
Though it may seem counterintuitive, getting fresh air can be a great way to give your energy a boost. Taking a brisk walk — in the woods, a local park, or your immediate neighbourhood for as little as 10 minutes can increase your energy for up to two hours. And if you make walking a regular activity you might just see your overall energy — and spirits — lift!
5. Get Moving!
Regular exercise not only reduces risks of developing serious illness, it almost guarantees a sound sleep. If you’re not sure how to begin, extending your walk is a great place to start. But any activity that grabs your interest — biking, tennis, hula hoop, yin yoga, CrossFit, kayaking, even gardening — will do just fine.
6. Drink Water, Regularly
Drinking more water is a simple way to improve your energy and your mood. Even slight dehydration can leave you lethargic, so when you find yourself fatigued a glass or two of water may be just what you need to perk yourself up. Better yet, make a point to drink water regularly and stay hydrated — and energized — all day long!
While low energy can make you less inclined to attend social gatherings, social isolation has been shown to increase low mood and tiredness, especially as we age. In fact, strong social networks have been linked to low rates of disease and living a long, healthy life. So, say yes to that dinner party, go for drinks with your girlfriends, or have your neighbour over for tea. Make time to have fun — it’s good for you!
Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based freelance writer, bartender, and assistant editor of the Whole Family Happiness Project. She lives in Halifax, with her son and a penchant for really strong tea, yoga, hammocks, and hoppy beer.
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