The most common complaint I hear from the ambitious professionals I work with is “I’m tired.” Just plain old tired.
There are so many things in our environments today that demand energy and attention. No wonder we’re feeling depleted! When you’re tired you don’t show up as your best self. It’s easier to make mistakes, be moody, and a lot harder to concentrate. Learning ways to manage your energy naturally is key to moving forward during busy days and weeks.
Before you go reaching for an extra cup of caffeine, try these natural ways to pick your energy up and restore a sense of alertness in your day.
In today’s world, we are constantly on the go, a steady state “busy-ness” is the norm, and we’re always running from one responsibility to the next – literally! So, it’s no wonder that physical fatigue is such a common complaint.
The good news is that there are some really simple (and natural) ways to increase your energy so you can keep up with your busy life.
1. Get off the blood sugar roller coaster
One of the simplest ways we can boost our energy is to stabilize blood sugar. When we don’t eat enough food throughout the day or when we eat foods that are higher in sugar, our energy levels bottom out.
You can balance your blood sugar, and boost your energy naturally by:
- Eating every 3-4 hours to give your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady.
- Consuming foods that are low on the glycemic index (think fruits and veggies, whole grains) instead of the higher sugar white breads and pastas.
- Eating protein and healthy fats with every meal to slow down the release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Protein and healthy fats are broken down and released slower so you’re less likely to have a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash.
2. Get your body moving
When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, as hard as it can be to get your butt off the couch, it’s one of the best things you can do to fight fatigue.
And, it turns out that you don’t even have to commit to a long workout!
A California State University study concluded that even a brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy for up to 2 hours.
So when you feel that afternoon slump coming on, skip the coffee and lace up your running shoes instead.
Can’t leave the office to take a walk? Do a few yoga poses (like sun salutations or warrior II and chair pose to get your blood flowing. Even some deep stretching will wake up your muscles and make you feel more alive.
3. Be serious about sleep
It may seem obvious that lack of sleep causes fatigue. However did you know that the quality of your sleep can have an even bigger impact on your daily energy? Even slight disturbances in our sleep can affect how rested we feel the next day.
Here are a couple of tips for a more restful sleep:
- Avoid tech in the bedroom, or within 1-2 hours of bedtime. Even the small amount of light, especially the blue light emitted from devices, interrupts your body’s circadian rhythm. Your brain still thinks it’s daytime and won’t wind down.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day – or avoid all together if this is a problem for you.
- Try to create a regular sleep/wake schedule to help your body develop a sleep routine = good sleep hygiene.
- Dab a bit of calming lavender essential oil on your temples before bed or put a few drops on your pillow. Breathe in the calm.
4. Take a breath break
Deep breathing signals to your nervous system that it’s ok to calm down and relax. When you’re rushing through your day in a fight-flight state of urgency (most of us are, whether we realize it or not) your breath becomes shallow.
Practicing breath breaks gives you the opportunity to check in with your body and re-establish deep breathing. Giving your body a fresh dose of oxygen will energize you and calm your mind.
To get started, set a timer on your phone or computer to signal you 3-5 times per day so you remember to stop, sit up straight, and breathe.
This is something we talk a lot about in the virtual Eats & Asana University. EAU is a 90-day practical program helps ambitious professionals have less stress and more energy so they can play full-out personally and professionally. Find out if EAU is right for you by booking a free Stress-Less Breakthrough Call today.
5. Drink more water
Before you reach for that coffee or energy drink to perk you up, consider switching to water. While caffeine is usually the first choice for busting out of an energy slump, it’s not really what the body needs. Caffeine triggers a “false” sense of energy that can leave you feeling more depleted later on.
And then there’s dehydration. Even mild dehydration impairs our concentration, decreases our mood and zaps our energy. (Caffeine can be dehydrating).
How do you know if you may be dehydrated?
Check the colour of your urine. If it’s a pale yellow or mostly clear, you’re good to go. If it’s a darker yellow colour, it’s time to drink up.
If you’re still craving a caffeine hit, try the Energizing Matcha Smoothie recipe below.
Matcha gives a longer lasting energy boost than coffee. It doesn’t hit you hard and then cause you to crash. Plus the recipe really is delicious!
Glycemic Index Foundation – https://www.gisymbol.com/about-glycemic-index/
California State University Long Beach, Public Affairs & Publications – https://web.csulb.edu/misc/inside/archives/vol_58_no_4/1.htm
National Sleep Foundation – https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/what-good-quality-sleep
Time.com Health Land – http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/19/bad-mood-low-energy-there-might-be-a-simple-explanation/
Energizing Vanilla Matcha Smoothie
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (your choice, no added sugar)
1-2 tsp matcha green tea powder (start with less if you’re new to matcha – it packs a kick!)
½ frozen banana
Ice cubes (optional)
1 large handful of spinach or kale (optional, but recommended)
How to prepare
Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired smoothness is achieved. Sip and enjoy!