What comes to mind when you think about having more energy?
For me, when I close my eyes and think about having more energy I see myself feeling up-beat, positive and ready for anything that comes up.
Like a lot of us, I don’t envision what it takes to get to that place where I’m energized and ready to take on the day. I just see the final product.
The truth is, there are a number of factors that contribute to how energized or run down you feel. Too many to go into detail with in one blog post, so I’m going to give you a high-level overview of what to consider when you’re looking to improve your energy level.
Sneaky Energy Drains
Here are some sneaky ways your energy level might be depleting without you realizing it.
Misusing your energy – Consider where you are spending your energy. Sometimes it’s not that there’s anything wrong with your energy level, but that you’re spending your energy on things other than your main priorities. Can you do less? Can you delegate some of your tasks? Ask yourself these questions to look for places where you can conserve energy.
Energy drains – low vibe people or experiences can drain your energy. Keep an eye out for times when you feel your body contract, or your mind go into negativity. These are signs that you’re slipping into a lower vibration where your energy is more dense, so you’ll feel tired a lot easier.
Not enough joy in your life – this goes hand in hand with energy drains. If you have things to look forward to and enriching relationships, you’ll have more energy. Consider whether you have enough joy in your life. Lack of joy could be a cause of low energy.
Eating too many carbs – can make you feel tired, especially if you’re choosing refined grains or simple sugars. If you’re not eating an abundance of carbohydrates, it could be that you’re not getting through protein and healthy fats to balance the amount of carbs you’re eating.
Nutrient deficiencies – these can come about from eating the same foods all the time. Variety in your diet is key to getting the range of nutrients your body needs. See your doctor for a blood test annually to check your nutrient levels.
Underlying health conditions – what a lot of major health conditions have in common is fatigue as a symptom. Whether it’s cardiovascular disease, cancer, or autoimmune conditions, fatigue is a symptom. That’s not helpful if you’re trying to narrow down a condition you’re affected by, but it can point you to an underlying problem if you haven’t considered one before.
Poor sleep – if you’re not getting proper rest at night you’re more likely to feel fatigued during the day. This is an easy one to point to for lack of energy.
Poor recovery from exercise – you might be working out to stay healthy, but is it working against you? If your body isn’t able to properly recover (with rest, nutrients and sleep) from your workouts, they could be making you more tired. Pay attention to how you feel on your workout days (especially after your workout) and if you’re drained, it’s a good sign to scale back on the length or intensity of your activity.
Emotional fatigue – big emotions like grief, anger and sadness can take up a lot of energy. Especially if you don’t have the tools to process them. If you’re going through a difficult time, you’ll need more rest to catch up.
Thought loops – thinking can drain your energy just as much as movement can. Negative thoughts in particular (and especially if you’re stuck ruminating on them) can take up a lot of energy and make you feel sluggish and tired.
Stress – there are so many ways stress shows up in the body. Feeling extra tired is one of them. Pay attention to how your body responds to difficult situations. You might notice a correlation between work pressure and feeling fatigue. Double up on your rest and relaxation to help you manage your stress.
How to Have More Energy
Now that we’ve looked at possible reasons you’re feeling depleted, here are some ways to boost your energy level.
- Drink more water – it’s amazing how much energy we get from being properly hydrated. Aim for 60+ oz of water each day. Even better if it’s filtered. Space your water intake throughout the day for best results.
- Manage stress – this might go without saying but being proactive about managing your stress level will help your body have more energy long term. Mindfulness practices, meditation, going for a walk, and talk therapy are all great ways to manage stress and preserve your energy level.
- Rethink your movement – your body’s movement requirements change in different seasons of your life. Moderate gentle movement like walking, a light jog, yoga or tai chi are all great ways to keep your body moving without burning yourself out. Slow and steady might be exactly what you need when you’re feeling more tired than usual. It’s important to listen to your body though. You might benefit from taking a few days off from movement if you’re really wrung out.
- Get enough sleep – aim for 7-9 hours per night and a consistent bedtime. Your body likes routine, so support yourself in having a great night’s sleep by creating an evening routine to wind down before bed. This should include time away from your screens and direct sources of light.
- Eat complex carbohydrates – foods like brown rice, beans, squash and sweet potatoes are all complex or “slow burning” carbohydrates. These won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as simple sugars, so they’ll keep your energy level stable for a longer period of time.
- Add more joy to your days – probably the most underestimated source of energy is joy. Look for things you love and do more of them, often.
- Drink less alcohol and coffee – stimulants mess with your body’s natural rhythm. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, especially in the evening.
- Revamp your relaxation – if you’re used to “relaxing” in front of your computer or watching Netflix, it’s time to rethink this strategy. When you’re watching a screen your brain is highly stimulated. Ideally your down time activities take you away from screens and allow your body to wind down. Try reading a book, meditating, or doing gentle yoga in low light as a relaxation technique instead.
There is no one size fits all approach to improving energy. It’s multiple factors that work together to make you feel energized and ready to take on the day, or depleted.
Want to pinpoint the cause of your energy drain and turn your lifestyle around to support your energy level? The Eats & Asana method has stress management and eating for energy built-in so you can feel your best every day. Find out more here.