Overcommitted? Overworked? Overbooked? It’s no wonder so many of us feel our energy flagging. Whether it’s waking up exhausted, or suffering through late-afternoon energy dips, the struggle of balancing daily to-dos with work and personal activities can leave us feeling fatigued and low on energy. But it’s not just day-to-day living that cause a lack of energy; how we eat, sleep, and exercise, as well as the environment around us, all play a major role in determining how we feel. Here are five easy ways to move the energy needle up, and increase energy levels throughout the day.
1. Watch What You Eat: Protecting our health, and warding off diseases such diabetes, heart disease, and depression, is one major incentive to eat healthy. But since our bodies run on food, it’s worth spending time assessing the kind of fuel we’re putting inside ourselves – as registered dietician Stacey Whittle points out, “Certain eating strategies will definitely help you ward off fatigue.” Take note of how food affects you: Does a big lunch cause low energy later in the day? Did your morning latte propel you through email and morning tasks, or did it leave you feeling jittery and tired? Did you remember to drink water? You may not feel thirsty, but dehydration can make you feel sleepy. Discover foods that will help increase your energy throughout the day.
2. Simplify Your Surroundings: Take a look at your home and workspace: Are they cluttered and chaotic? Dark and disorganized? It’s difficult to feel efficient and energized if your mind is circling constantly — and probably unproductively — around a cluttered space. Aim to cut your clutter, and go for orange decorating accents, since orange provides an influx of energy. Get invigorated by incorporating scents like citrus and peppermint into your surroundings. In an interview with Entrepreneur.com, Beverly Hawkins, owner of the West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy, advises that “a simple inhalation of an aroma can cause many changes in the body.”
3. Get Moving: A day spent indoors entirely is sure to result in low energy in the evening or subsequent days. As well as being good for your health, research shows that regular exercise can improve energy levels of fatigued people. It feels contradictory — when you’re tired after a long day, who wants to put on gym clothes? Experts debate endlessly over which exercise is the best, and how much is necessary, but there is no question that some exercise, for some amount of time is better than neglecting exercise entirely. As researcher Patrick O’Connor, from the University of Georgia, comments, “Exercise is a way for people to feel more energetic. There’s a scientific basis for it, and there are advantages to it compared to things like caffeine and energy drinks.”
4. Rest Right: A good night’s sleep can seem like unobtainable goal. But maintaining good sleep hygiene, and getting a regular amount of rest each night can do wonderful things for your energy levels. And, don’t downplay the power of a nap. Unfortunately, at the office, when the afternoon slump hits, a nap typically isn’t an option. But if you have freedom in your schedule, a midday nap can leave you feeling refreshed and reenergized. Sara C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, recommends a brief nap to increase your energy level, saying that even a fifteen minute nap allows you to “reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance.
5. Get Outside: According to recent studies published in theJournal of Environmental Psychology, skipping the coffee and heading outdoors may be a better way to feel energized and alive. Richard Ryan, one of the authors, remarked to the University of Rochester that ” One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings.” From a catnap to a quick walk, there are plenty of quick ways to change something about your day, and get more energy as a result. What’s your favorite trick? Share your own recommendations for boosting your energy – you can find us on social media @getyourmoodon. Use the hashtags #energy, #createit, and #mood to talk about what you’re doing to increase your energy.