All people have good days and bad days.
The thing is, though, when you always feel low or drained of energy, it can interfere with work, personal time and your overall lifestyle.
It also doesn’t help that nowadays, more complicated types of stress seem to afflict people leading fast-paced lifestyles, where the drive to accomplish a lot simultaneously and as soon as possible conditions people into stretching themselves too thin to the point of breaking.
This is where exhaustion sets in.
But as long as there is no underlying medical or psychological cause for your apparent lethargy, there are a number of natural ways by which you can feel more energized and jumpstart each day so you accomplish all your daily tasks, and more. Below are six of them:
Move your body
Everyone knows exercise is essential to health and wellness.
It may just be a 15-minute morning walk or a 30-minute gym workout; whatever physical activity you can integrate into your daily routine can help energize your body.
Although some people think it counterintuitive to exercise and not feel tired after, those who actually do it feel a difference in their energy levels. In fact, one study showed that “sedentary people with persistent, unexplained fatigue decreased their tiredness by around 65%,” that is, after some low intensity cycling.
Soak up the sun
Just as darkness lulls people to sleep, sunlight is associated with waking up and energy. Sunlight is known to elevate people’s mood and energize the body.
So if you’re stuck with your 9 to 5 job inside your cubicle in a cold workplace, take a few minutes to step out and soak up the sun. Of course, it’s best to get your dose of sunlight quickly to avoid exposure to harmful UV rays.
Some experts recommend getting 13 minutes of sun exposure during midday when the body is primed for processing vitamin D. This way, you get just the right exposure to UVB rays that start the synthesis of vitamin D without the harm associated with excess sun exposure.
Sometimes, one of the primary reasons why people feel lethargic is dehydration.
When you are dehydrated, your mood is affected, as well as your brain functioning and energy levels. To keep yourself well-hydrated, drink water, especially when you are thirsty. Drink more if you lead an active lifestyle or if you tend to perspire heavily, especially during the summer months.
For some, a dose of energizing healthy coffee, green tea or green juice in the morning is enough to jumpstart their day. But always make sure to drink enough water throughout the day as there is nothing quite like it to keep you feeling refreshed and alert.
Try to steer clear of energy drinks that can temporarily give you a jolt of energy but completely sap you afterwards.
Stay away from added sugar
Reaching for a lollipop or your favorite choco-caramel bar seems convenient when you feel like falling asleep at your work table.
However, exert some control and think about it. Consuming foods high in added sugar increases your chances of becoming obese, or suffering from diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, the sudden sugar spike in the bloodstream which is associated with the rush of energy you expect can also lead to a slump afterwards. This is why people who have a habit of eating high-in-sugar breakfast cereals and breakfast items tend to feel tired by late morning or mid-afternoon.
If you like a hearty breakfast, opt for options with complex carbohydrates, low glycemic loads, and/or high fiber such as oatmeal, brown rice, bran cereal, sweet potato, beans, fresh fruit, nut butters or whole nuts, quinoa, chia seeds, etc.
In between meals, you can take energy boosting snacks like fresh fruit (think banana and apple or berries), yogurt, nuts and turkey sandwiches.
Ensure you get adequate sleep
While some claim to be capable of optimally functioning on six hours of sleep (or less), you may not be one of them.
For optimal health, try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every day.
If you sometimes find trouble sleeping, try to keep the following pointers in mind:
- Keep to a routine. Have a regular waking and sleeping schedule no matter how stressful some days may be. This way, you prime your body for both resting and sleeping, and then waking up. By sticking to a schedule (this includes weekends!), you also ensure you get the optimal number of sleep hours to ensure you are energized in the morning.
- Avoid napping. If you’ve tried napping in the daytime and found yourself waking up several times in the night, napping may not be for you. If you must, keep naps short (about 15 to 20 minutes only).
- Cut out screen time one to two hours before bedtime. Condition your mind and body for sleep by staying away from electronic devices as the blue light they emit can interfere with sleep.
- Keep your bedroom dark. When bedtime comes, ensure your bedroom is dark. Shut out or turn off any light sources or wear a sleep mask. Invest in blackout curtains if the smallest ray of light tends to disrupt your sleep.
- Avoid heavy dinners. This includes rich, oily foods and spicy or acidic foods which can cause indigestion and heartburn.
- Stay away from alcohol and tobacco. It’s common knowledge that alcohol can relax or induce drowsiness, but it can interfere with the sleep cycle. Tobacco, on the other hand, has nicotine, a known stimulant which can cause you to toss and turn in bed when you should be sleeping fitfully.
Since stress has been identified as a precursor for various ailments and maladies, stress management is essential.
And although stress is part and parcel of human life, there are some strategies you can adopt to keep it under control:
- Learn to switch off or unwind. Read a book, watch your favorite feel-good movie – anything that can help you settle down and relax.
- Get a massage. Book a spa appointment and include a massage in the package. It has been proven that massage not only helps treat pain but it also helps induce relaxation and sleep.
- Go for a walk or have coffee with a friend. Just as there are toxic people who can add to your stress and sap your energy, there are also those who can lighten your load. Knowing you have friends and family with whom you can talk things out without judgment is one way of feeling energized about life and all its possibilities.
- Practice meditation or mindfulness techniques. This will require focus and attention. But once you are able to integrate them into your morning and/or evening routine, you can start each day with enthusiasm, and wrap it up knowing you’ve done your best.
It also helps if you have an optimally nutritious diet that ensures you get the energy you need, and you can manage daily stress.
You may also opt to take vitamin supplements to complement your diet. If you are on medication, be sure to consult a health specialist.
Face each day with energy and enthusiasm
There are certainly other ways by which you can ensure you face each new day with energy and vitality, not the least of which are the ones discussed above.
You need sufficient rest and sleep, recreation and relaxation, exercise and proper nutrition, among other things. You also need to physically and mentally arm yourself to be able to deal with everyday stress.
In doing so, you’ll be looking forward to each new day at work, and have enough energy to take care of yourself and your loved ones.