I think it is a combination of many things, but many of my friends and clients are struggling with feeling tired and raising energy levels through healthy means. The opandemic effected many, having young children can effect many, and the demands of modern living – so many people are exhausted all of the time!
It’s okay. We have all experienced the struggle to get up in the morning. We have all been there. Experiencing spells of tiredness and feeling like our eyes will shut close at any second. At times like these, you wish you were more energised so you could make better use of the time. Sometimes we feel guilty for not being able to do more, and do it with more vigour! Sometimes low energy levels come with frustration. We often feel frustrated due to our inability to do everything we initially planned for our day. Many of us feel completely depleted of our energy by the end of the day and have to chug multiple cups of coffee in order merely stay awake. Are you one of those people who overindulge in sugary sweets just to keep your eyelids from sagging? Don’t do that. Although the sugar rush will provide you with an initial energy boost, remember with the consumption of sugar (as with caffeine) often comes a crash, after which you will feel more drained than before.
The reasons for your fatigue and sluggishness can range from unhealthy eating or lack of sleep to having a chronic condition or stress.
Luckily there are multiple ways through which you can naturally raise your energy levels and get rid of your fatigue. You don’t have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle to feel more energised. In fact, making small tweaks to your daily routine can make a big difference in terms of your energy levels. Today, I’m offering up a bunch of different strategies that will give your energy levels a boost.
- Manage your stress
Stress can drain you of all your energy and can leave you both mentally and physically exhausted. So, discovering effective strategies that help you cope with the stress that works for you can actually be the key to your battle against fatigue and sluggishness. You can also try consuming a diet rich in essential nutrients that can make you feel more energised; when you experience prolonged stress, your body losses out on essential nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B. While magnesium aids in calming your nerves, vitamin B allows you to cope with stress. Adding these nutrients to your diet can definitely make you feel much less stressed and much more energised. Nutritionist Joy McCarthy says incorporating vitamin C into your diet can also help you combat stress. According to her, “Your body also uses up a lot of vitamin C when you’re stressed because vitamin C helps to make cortisol.” In addition to eating a diet rich in these nutrients, you can also practise relaxation as a way of dealing with stress. Try meditation, self-hypnosis, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxing exercises in order to calm yourself. Another great way to reduce your stress is to make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Do whatever you like. You may take up running, jogging, biking, lifting weights, or whatever interests you. Daily exercising produces stress-relieving hormones in your body that have a positive effect on your mental well-being.
Nutritional biochemist Dr Lily Weaver says ‘If you feel stress is at the heart of your low energy, consider this: the real word for stress is fear.” In order to control your stress, try asking yourself what you are afraid of. Unleashing the things that cause you stress can aid you in managing it. If you feel like you are unable to cope with your stress on your own, share your problem with your family and friends and see if it helps. If it doesn’t, try talking to a support group or seek professional help from a hypnotherapist or counsellor. In a nutshell, a high level of stress can take a toll on your overall well-being and is an important reason behind you feeling drained. Therefore, effective stress managing strategies are essential to feeling more energised and active.
- Revamp your method of relaxing
What is your idea of having fun? Is it staying up late at night and binging watching Netflix? If it is, you may need to change your way of relaxing? Binge watching your favourite tv shows at the expense of your sleep often falls under a term called “revenge procrastination”. The term revenge bedtime procrastination recently became popular on social media. It is a phenomenon where people, instead of going to bed, engage in activities that they don’t have time for during the day. Although the term has been here for some time now, it has gained momentum in recent times with the rise in the use of mobile phones and social media. Although sacrificing your sleep for some extra leisure time can be very tempting, it can lead to sleep deprivation which can cause laziness throughout the day. So, if your idea of relaxation is forcing yourself to stay up late, then you need to understand the negative effects of this on your overall well-being, both mental and physical. Therefore, better advice is to adopt more healthy activities to relax, for example, taking a trip to the forest and enjoying nature in solitude. The main motive behind being surrounded by nature is to feel the vastness and experience something greater than yourself. So, if you want to relax from the mundane daily life, plan a day trip to a beach or just go for a hike. Going on a weekend camping trip can also help you connect with nature. Acknowledge and absorb the vastness and relax. The setting of the sun, a sky full of stars, and dancing aurora lights all offer you an opportunity to forget everything else and just relax. Hopefully, finding new ways to relax will make you energised.
- Don’t open multiple brain tabs!
We are all aware that when we open up multiple tabs on our phones and browsers, they tend to operate slower. The same applies to us. Dr Weaver says, “The feeling of having too many tabs open in your brain is a sure-fire way to exhaustion.” When we overburden ourselves with too many tasks to be done, we are essentially draining ourselves. Too many unaccomplished responsibilities piling up can also make us overwhelmed and stressed, which leaves us feeling less energised. A good way to close your brain tabs is to not make a to-do list every day. If you are a list person and need a to-do list to function through life, try making a realistic list and don’t crowd it with too many tasks which are humanly impossible to do in a day. Moreover, make sure you reserve some time for yourself. Let your brain get a breather. Only taking enough burden, you can carry makes sure that you don’t get overwhelmed and have enough energy to get through the day.
- Practise gratitude
“Think positive and positive things will happen.” It is true! When you think positively, you are more likely to feel more active and zestful. However, if you have a pessimistic outlook on life, then it is very well possible that you are going to feel that you lack the will and power to get through the day. Getting caught up in the busy and tedious cycle of life can deplete you with energy. According to Dr Weaver, “Most people spend their days pursuing, achieving, pushing, but this can become really exhausting. Instead, allow yourself to notice what you have.” Most of us find ourselves in the busy and self-absorbing cycle of life. Sometimes spending life in the same way over and over again can get really frustrating and exhausting. The monotonous and mundane cycle of life cannot only be tiring but can also make us feel out of control; in order to break away from this self-absorbing cycle of busyness, practise gratitude. Try listing down the things you have and the things you are grateful for every day. This list will serve as a healthy distraction from the cycle of busyness, and this practise will keep stressful thoughts at bay and make you much more energized. Not only will being more grateful serve as a mood booster, but it will also have a positive effect on your mental and physical well-being and will allow you to meet the new day with much more energy and vigour. You must also reflect your gratitude in your language. Choose a more positive language while talking about your life. In her blog “How to manage time to break away from the cycle of busy”, Cathy Goddard advises people to change their vocabulary. She says, “Although challenging at first, you too must drop ‘busy’ from your vocabulary.” For example, when someone asks you how you are doing, instead of responding with I am busy or not fine, try answering their question in a grateful manner. Try this: “I am doing great. So lucky to be surrounded with all my loved ones.” Hopefully, this positivity will make you more energetic and enthusiastic.
Read this great article on the topic too: The Science of Gratitude.
- Get yourself checked
If you are waking up with low energy levels, chances are you are not getting enough sleep. According to Dr Charles Samuels, medical director at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance says, “Approximately 30 per cent of North Americans do not get enough sleep, and many complain of poor-quality sleep.” If this is the case, then sleeping a few more hours is very much likely to help solve your problem of exhaustion and fatigue. However, if you think that no matter how much sleep you get, you still feel sluggish, then you may have a sleep related issue of some kind. But don’t self-diagnose yourself with any condition. It is important you get yourself checked with a sleep analysis. A sleep analysis can help your doctor diagnose your problem properly and allow him to advise you on the ways you can make your sleep better, which will make you more energetic when you leave the bed in the morning. Again, a hypnotherapist can help you with a range of sleep related disorders too.
- Add more red to your life.
As surprising as it may sound, adding red into your life can help give you an instantaneous boost of energy. Research shows that wearing red clothes or writing with red pens can make our reactions faster and more intense. While the reaction only lasts a while, it can have a potent effect on our physical actions. This is because the human body perceives red as a dangerous colour. Scientists of the University of Rochester conducted a study to test out their hypothesis that the red colour makes people more energetic. The students in the study were asked to squeeze a handgrip. When students were presented with the red handgrip, they exerted the most force. This study concluded that the colour red gives us an instant shot of energy. While it is a good idea to add more red dresses to your wardrobe, don’t overcrowd it. A study showed that when there are too many options, people are more likely to suffer from decision fatigue which can lead to not only procrastination but also reduced physical stamina.
“Things you do either give you energy or drain you. Choose wisely.” It is true that whatever we do has a direct impact on our energy levels. Therefore, we must do things that make us feel more energised and zestful. If you feel sluggish and lazy all the time and want to become more active and energetic, try out the six strategies mentioned in this article. Managing your stress, allowing your brain a break, and changing your relaxation methods are the most effective strategies when it comes to naturally raising your energy levels. It is important that you take a good look at your lifestyle to see habits that make you tired. If you feel tired, it is time that you leave behind the habits that drain you for good. Replace these habits with activities that make you feel more awake and fresher. Hopefully, after trying out these habits, you will feel more refreshed. Remember, everyone is different, and one fits all may not apply here. It is very well possible that the strategy that works for your friend doesn’t help you with your energy levels. Try out all these strategies and choose one or more that work for you and then stick with them.
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