We’re all familiar with full on physical exhaustion – tired, achy muscles and your eyes are just fighting to stay open. What you may not recognize is the more subtle, mental exhaustion where no matter how fun or enticing something is, you just can’t psych yourself up enough to get up and go. This was pretty common for me before, where after work I usually stayed put unless I really had to go out. I just did not have the energy. So I decided to work on boosting my energy levels so I could get out there more, and this is what’s worked for me:
I know, I know – when you feel tired, exercise is that last thing on your mind but hear me out. Getting just 30 minutes of exercise in per day can help boost not only your energy, but your mood as well. I’m not talking about a hardcore, intense weightlifting session either – just going for a walk around the block or dancing to some upbeat music does enough to raise your energy levels and if you make it a habit, you’ll find you feel less tired when you should be alert.
Try Something New
Starting a new project at work or home, or learning a new language will make you feel good and perky. It has something to do with the newness and unfamiliarity that releases feel good chemicals called dopamine, which in turn will give you a nice boost.
Shallow breathing prevents your body from getting enough oxygen and tends to happen when you’re feeling tense. Taking a deep breath in forces more oxygen to your cells and even helps lower blood pressure. You’ll feel refreshed, less tense and more awake.
Eating on a regular basis keeps your blood sugar on an even keel without the spikes that occur when you go too long without food, then suddenly overload your system. Stick to protein, complex carbs like veggies and fats at every meal and avoid simple carbs like cookies and chips. They may provide an initial rush of energy but your body will burn them off quickly and you’ll crash shortly after.
Listen to Music
Listening to my favourite, up-tempo music makes me feel happy, energized and ready to go! Pleasurable activities like listening to music or watching a funny movie helps release endorphins, the same chemicals released when you exercise that make you feel good. I try to avoid things that drag me down whether it’s negative people or a task I’m not looking forward to and focus on having fun.
Stick to water for the most part because dehydration can cause headaches and make you feel more tired. It’s recommended to drink half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day but I do also advocate drinking green tea and the occasional coffee. Both of these drinks contain caffeine and antioxidants and if drank in moderation, can also give you a lift.
When you stress, your body releases another hormone called cortisol that can wreak havoc on your energy levels. Worrying too much is like having a hole in your bucket – if you don’t do anything about it, it’ll just keep draining your energy. Practising some form of meditation or yoga can help significantly lower stress levels and in turn, saves your energy for more productive things.
Try going outside at least once during the workday as it’s been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress hormones in the body. Sunlight also helps the body produce more serotonin, another feel good chemical naturally produced by the body. Breathing in the cool, fresh air will definitely make you feel more awake and alert.
These are just a few tips that have worked for me to get me out of my energy slump – how do you keep your energy levels high throughout the day? Leave a comment and let me know!