You check the clock. It’s only partway through the day, and you’re drooping. There’s still a lot more to accomplish.
Sagging energy levels not only decrease productivity, they also drag down your mood. Your happiness levels can be tied into how much energy you have. Try some simple ways to boost your energy so you get more done and feel better.
Make Meals Matter
Eating a meal is like putting petrol in your car. Both provide energy. Balanced meals help keep you going all day. Some guidelines for energising meals include:
- Cut down on heavily processed foods. If it didn’t exist 50 years ago, don’t eat it.
- Eat a variety of colorful foods. Think fruits and vegetables.
- Have complex carbohydrates at every meal, such as whole grain bread products, oats, brown rice and pasta, beans and potatoes.
- If you’re not a veggie, eat lean protein such as eggs, skinless poultry, lower fat ground beef, lentils and fish. Fit one in at every meal if possible.
If you think you’re not a breakfast person, think again. Your body needs fuel. Last night’s dinner has been used up, and it’s a long time ‘til lunch.
Sneak a Snack
If you’re feeling sluggish mid-day, you might be tempted to have another cup of coffee. A healthy snack is a better energiser.
Have snacks handy so you’re not forced into a vending machine choice. You probably won’t be presented with the best options.
Examples of snacks that rev you up and are easy to pack include:
- A piece of fresh fruit
- A handful of nuts, dried fruit and seeds
- Vegetable sticks or pretzels with hummus
- Whole-grain baked chips with spreadable cheese
- Yogurt with fruit or cereal
Work the Water
Staying hydrated helps keep you energised. Daily activities seep away your body’s water reserves, causing fatigue, dizziness, memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
Without sufficient water, your blood volume decreases, which is not good. In order to carry sufficient oxygen and nutrients through your blood stream, your circulatory system must crank it up. This hard work is tiring.
Sipping water throughout the day helps stave off weariness. If you start to wilt, drink water to perk up.
How much water is enough? The main rule to follow is drink when you’re thirsty. If you’re well hydrated, your urine is light yellow.
That works out to about three liters of fluid a day for men (around a dozen cups) and 2.2 for women (around nine cups). This liquid intake includes all beverages you drink — not just water (though drinking water alone is of course best) — and water-filled foods, such as certain fruits and vegetables.
Lift With Light
Throughout the day, make sure you get proper time outside so you can bathe in daylight. Right after you wake up, light affects parts of your brain that influence sleep. Light makes these areas function differently, which speeds up your waking process. During the day, you’re probably in well-lit rooms. Even so, energy levels flag. When this happens, opt for natural light.
As we’re coming into summer now it’s (hopefully!) easier to pop out and get exposed to sunshine and fresh air. Absorb some stimulating vitamin D. Fifteen minutes is enough to invigorate you.
It’s not like you forget to breathe during the day. But if your posture’s not great — are you slumping right now? — You may not be getting enough oxygen.
When you feel tired, take time to breathe deeply. Do a short exercise. Sit up straight and close your eyes. Breathe in for a count of six. Hold for a three-count. Exhale, and wait for a count of three. Repeat several times. All that oxygen to your brain should perk you right up.
Dance to the Music
You don’t really have to dance though it always gives us a lift! Even just listening to high-energy, loud music wakes you up. Listeners automatically pace breathing to music. If it’s fast, you’re breathing more often. It’s another way to get extra O2 to your brain.
Move It, Move It
Regular exercise increases overall energy levels. For lasting benefits, push yourself to work up a heavy sweat. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym. Find an activity you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.
If you need a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day, move around. This isn’t heavy-duty exercise, so you won’t be sweaty when you go back to work or whatever you need to do. Take a 10-minute walk, go up and down stairs, or do stretches. You’ll feel more alert and active.
Obviously don’t try all these energising activities at once 🙂 It’d be overwhelming — and, ironically, probably exhausting. Instead, ease into the list, trying one or two at a time. Your energy level and mood will thank you.