One of my all time favourite comedians is Bill Hicks. I follow a couple of fan pages of his and saw this meme shared recently:
“There are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”
I really like this and it inspired me to write today’s article.
On the increasingly rare occasions that I login to Facebook, when I scroll through my newsfeed, I see how many people regularly complain about lacking energy being tired, drained, fatigued. Coffee gets celebrated as being the cure; the more the better, and then in the evening, it is alcohol to the rescue; to relax, soothe and increase enjoyment of life. Alcoholic drinks end up being cheered and are used to help after a day of fatigue or torment induced by lacking energy. The irony being that they impair sleep quality and contribute to our ability to be energised the next day.
There do not seem to be that many people celebrating being energised all day long and loving it, free from caffeine in the day and booze at night, which are used to pep them up.
For many, energy levels are like a roller coaster; they rise and dip throughout a typical day. During those dips, sugary snacks and caffeine get consumed to really ensure those ups and down continue and often results in people feeling burnt out, unable to four for any considerable amount of time, and end up feeling more tired in the long run. Of course they are also supplements that actually help to have more energy and feel better like vital reds, so you can go on with your day of work without trouble.
We all have a huge reservoir of energy available to us that is granted through natural sources.
Lacking Energy? 9 Things To Do
So if you are lacking energy, here are nine categories of things you can do daily to ensure you are energised all day long, feeling good, revitalised, invigorated and productive as a result:
1. Eat Well.
These days there is so much conflicting advice about how to actually ‘eat well’ – I recommend that people examine the research and then find an approach that works well for them. I think that eating more whole foods and limiting your intake of processed foods and sugar in particular will do you a world of good.
The days of low-fat obsession are over. Science proves that eating plenty of healthy fats can help you reduce weight, is good for cognitive functioning, better focus and clarity – and is great for being energised for longer. Fats from foods like avocado, coconut and olive oil, nuts and fish provide the body with valuable nutrition and fuel. These types of healthy fats also ensure you feel fuller for longer, so you don’t feel hungry and start snacking on sugar washed down with caffeine for an energy spike that will lead to a crash after the peak!
Additionally, get fuelled up and ready for the day by having a good breakfast. Typically, when people do not have breakfast, they are prone to having energy crashes. When people are hungry, they tend to binge and good decision making tends to get surpassed when we fight our biology. Consider eggs, bacon and vegetables instead of sugary cereals. A good, healthy eating plan should remove the need to snack in the day, if and when you do decide to snack though, consider raw vegetables, nut butters, yoghurt and avoid carbohydrates, sugar-filled, processed snacks that result in an insulin-powered crash and tiredness later on.
You may also want to research foods that are high in Vitamin B. A deficiency in vitamin B is often linked to low energy levels as well as mood swings, lack of focus and anxiety; things which tend to accompany a lack of energy. Do look for foods rather than seeking out supplements if at all possible – scientists tend to say that unless you’ve been prescribed vitamins by a doctor or health professional then you are best off not taking them and they could even be detrimental to your health.
2. Drink Well.
Your body loves water. It really loves it. Heck, your body is made up of a lot of water.
If we do not drink enough water we can become dehydrated which leads to less oxygen circulating in our blood stream, and in turn this leads to fatigue and sluggishness. Drinking water has lots of other health benefits too as well as helping us with our energy levels. Drink enough water and keep well hydrated without over hydrating.
Certainly see if you can exchange caffeine for water more often.
3. Enjoy The Great Outdoors.
You know the outdoors, it’s that place on the other side of the front door and should not just be somewhere you encounter in between journeys to work.
Even if conditions are not ideal, even if it is wet, even if it is cold, go and take in some natural light and breathe in some clean, fresh air – both of which refresh and invigorate. The US National Institutes of Health recommends getting 10-15 minutes of natural sunlight a day and with our body’s internal rhythm being dictated by our intake of light, we tend to feel more alert with more natural sunlight. Open the curtains and let it in while you are indoors and make an effort to get outdoors each day. It’ll help you to unplug from electronic stimulus and busyness of the day too, which brings me nicely on to the next point….
4. Have Regular Time Out.
A good way that we all know to avoid burnout with work is to have a holiday, relax, unwind, unplug, let go and rejuvenate while your mind is free of the day-to-day concerns and stresses of work. We all know this. having time-off to catch up with a non-work related to-do list is also beneficial. Additionally though, each day needs some mini-holidays…..
Punctuate each hour with a small break at least, and ensure your day has plenty of breaks in it.
– Move your body: Stroll, walk, stretch, shake and get your body moving differently.
– Listen to energising music: Something that fills you with energy. Many find instrumental music without a message or lyrics to distract works best, others prefer something to zone in on. Sing, hum, join in and even consider moving to the music (go on, have a little “dance like nobody’s watching” moment).
Music has the ability to lift us up out of a slump and energise us when we need it. You may prefer dance music, rock music, heavy metal or pop, however, research has suggested that those who workers who listened to classical music such as Bach and Mozart in particular increased productivity levels, were better at problem solving and more creative. Without a major central melody to distract you, an orchestra of varying instruments relaxes the mind.
– Use cold water: Taking a cold shower or plunging into an ice bath is very invigorating and energising. If you can’t face doing such a thing, You can take a break and splash cold water on your face. Cold water requires us to just our internal temperature and keeps us alert.
– Do an energising breathing exercise: Our body requires oxygen and becomes energised when more of it is in our system. So learn how to breathe effectively, and consider learning a breathing exercise the energises that you can use during a break. In particular you might like to google the ‘breath of fire’ breathing exercise used by practitioners of Kundalini yoga. It is very energising.
– Have a power nap: Some city based companies have sleeping pods and facilities for employees to have a power nap as they know it improves energy levels and productivity. When we take a nap we get to have a reboot.
A nap ranging from 5-30 minutes can be incredibly healthy. Too much longer can leave us feeling groggy. The power nap helps reduce stress, increases alertness, it is good for the heart (research in Greece on over 20,000 people showed that a 30 minute nap 3 times a week reduced risk of heart related illness by 37%), it aids cognitive functioning (NASA researchers showed that a 20 minute power nap increased cognitive faculties by 40%), and has restorative benefits to those whose night sleep is disturbed or not long enough.
5. Real-Life Human Interaction.
Go and have a conversation with a friend, colleague or family member. I know from personal and professional experience that a lot of benefit derived from therapy sometimes is just that the person got to speak to another person who listened. Talking and being heard is energising. Discuss stuff that interests you, stuff that engages you. Then also become an active listener yourself; listen without thinking about what you are about to say next. Tune into conversations.
Also be on guard for people who can and do drain the energy from you. People who tire us out. Become aware of how people make you feel when you are with them, and spend time engaged with those who energise you, make you feel great and alive rather than those who leave you exhausted or fed up and low.
You do not have to wait until Spring for a tidy up and de-clutter session. Having a purge of a space you spend time in can really uplift and energise as well as feeling like it is clearing the mind. Just a single cupboard or set of drawers works wonders and leaves many feeling great afterwards. Stepping into a work space that has been de-cluttered can make us feel very productive and energised.
7. Physical Activity, Movement and Exercise.
When people first start to exercise, it can sometimes make them feel tired, but when it is regular, it is energising without a doubt. Many might think exercise tires us out, but one of the best if not THE best thing to do when we feel drained and low in energy, is to be active. Exercise increases blood flow, gets oxygen pumping around the system, gets energy substrates to the brain and muscles, releases fleeced chemicals and ensures we have more energy available to us.
Within my own marathon and ultra marathon training, I actually run to recover on some days. Running at a slow rate, below a certain heart rate, actually advances recovery better than sitting still for a day.
The good news is, for those who do not wish to run for hours as I do, you can get energised by quick, short workouts that will advance energy levels for a full day (so it is worthwhile considering doing it early in the day instead of late if you can). As previously mentioned, get some upbeat music on your headphones, do some exercise, go for a rigorous walk, climb the stair a few times, stand up and sit down repeatedly, do lunges, do squats, lift weights, do press-ups, whatever suits you best. Power yourself into the day.
8. Sleep Well.
Work out how to sleep better – this sounds obvious. Think of your sleep hygiene; that is, do not have any electronic light fizzing your brain for an hour before bed, make sure your bedroom is the right temperature, your bed is comfortable, do not eat or exercise too close to sleep time, cut down on caffeine and alcohol etc.
So much restorative, energising, replenishing, repairing work occurs within us while we sleep. If we are not getting enough sleep or if our sleep is of a poor quality, then it is going to effect our energy levels in the day.
Consider going to bed earlier. You’ll get more sleep and will wake up more refreshed. It sound obvious and simple, but so may people ignore this and get caught up with late work regimens, drawn into TV shows and stay up so late that it effects them badly the next day. If having a power nap as mentioned earlier is just not doable for you, then consider going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night and it’ll help you greatly.
9. Self-Hypnosis & Meditation.
Of course! You knew I was going to mention self-hypnosis. A self-hypnosis session gives you a break, it gives you ‘me-time’, it has restorative benefits, it moves you away from other life issues and matters, and it has an impressive evidence base indeed for advancing health in a number of areas. For energising, just read these articles and use them to advance your energy levels and improve alertness:
Self-hypnosis is also a great methodology to help advance the quality and length of your sleep as well as being an effective preparation for sleep. It also helps to combat a number of issues that are often accompanied with low energy levels such as anxiety and depression.
Meditation helps to combat stress and anxiety which drain us of energy in a fast and furious fashion. Learning how to meditate daily, and have quiet time out is a proven antidote to accruing anxiety and stress. It instigates the relaxation response, frees up the mind and balances the nervous system and endocrine system which aids with calmness and of course, adds long-lasting energy.
So…. Quite the contrary to addictive sugar and caffeine fixes that can result in crashes, slumps and hamper quality sleep, all these categories of things you can do engage your senses, stimulate you effectively, power up your energy levels and have no health risks or unpleasant side effects. We all want to live life as effectively and as enjoyably as possible, so it makes a lot of sense to tend to our energy levels and live a life of zest, vigour and joyous energy instead of one where we are besieged with sluggishness, fatigue and tiredness.
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Has lack of energy held you back and is it still doing so now? Do you need more drive?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others become more energised and driven?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom lack of energy and drive is negatively effecting the success of your business? Do you need more inspiration to fulfil your career ambitions?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.