We all have days where we feel like we simply do not have the energy to do everything we might have wanted and, on occasion, there is not a lot that can be done about it – it really is just one of those days. However, when a lack of energy starts to become a real problem, spanning days, weeks or even months, it is time to act to get those energy levels back up again.
The world itself is more energy-sapping than ever before. Between diets, social media and a constant stream of entertainment, there has never been a time in history where people can be more easily distracted and run down by a constant stream of information – which is every bit as responsible for sapping energy as physical activity. However, building those energy reserves back up is not difficult, nor is it overly time consuming, and we present 10 ways to get back to the peak of productivity.
1. Focus on your Sleeping Habits
When looking to squeeze more hours into the day, it is often sleep that is the first thing to be sacrificed. However, when the quantity of waking hours goes up, the quality can often go down. Sleep makes it in at number 1 simply because without it, efforts towards the other 9 points within this feature can often be in vain. Consider sleeping well as the baseline for having more energy, and only when you are happy with how rested you feel each day is it worth moving on to the other points.
2. Reduce Caffeine Intake
As the old saying goes, what goes up, must come down. Some people are caffeine dependent, while others simply have a couple of coffees each day for the temporary boost that it provides. However, few other substances consumed on a regular basis are so effective at preventing balanced energy levels. It may feel good at the time, but the crash is inevitable, and that is all without even considering the negative impact on sleep as outlined above.
3. Eat for Energy as much as for Taste
Healthy eating habits are not only for those that want to lose weight or carry out any kind of drastic body transformation. Between food and sleep, we have the equivalent of filling up the tank of your car, and in much the same way that putting diesel in a petrol engine can lead to shocking results, you need to fuel yourself with what works. Briefly put, foods that are high in nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables, are great for energy levels. Processed foods and those high in carbs, while great for a quick boost, are negative in the longer term.
4. Get Up and Move
If you are typically the kind of person that does not move around all that much, you may well have noticed that when you do exercise, you actually feel like you have more energy than when you started – perhaps counter-intuitively. Something as simple as a 5-minute walk will release the energising endorphins that make people feel good, while lethargy breeds laziness.
5. Cut Down on Alcohol
We are not anti-alcohol by any means, but it is important to consider moderation, much as with anything else. Alcohol can have a drastic impact on the quality of sleep, even among those that tend to find it easier to fall asleep initially after a few drinks, but it can also reduce energy levels during waking hours too. Specifically, alcohol negatively impacts glucose levels in the blood, and both an increase and decrease can lead to cravings for high-energy foods that conflict with point 3 above.
6. Try Cold Therapy
While it may sound complex, cold therapy can be as simple as taking a cold shower. While nowhere near being as comforting or relaxing as its warm equivalent, there are known benefits to taking cold showers such as the release of the same endorphins as exercise for a fast, effective energy boost as and when required.
7. Be Consistent with your Meal Routine
It was inevitable that food would make more than one appearance among these tips, and while we have covered what to eat, when to eat can be just as important. Some sources suggest never skipping a meal, referring to the conventional concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner. While that works in many cases, we have also encountered people who have had success with intermittent fasting. Essentially, there is no one size fits all approach to mealtimes, but once you find something that works for you by way of a schedule, try to stick with it.
8. Attempt to Ignore or Deal with Stress and Anger Effectively
As noted already, the brain can be more of a drain on energy levels than the body, and a pair of emotions that can often be considered as the main culprits are stress and anger. Dealing with either effectively can be easier said than done, but meditation, breathing exercises and other techniques can be highly beneficial.
9. Power Nap and Power Snack
Optimal sleep conditions tend to favour reducing naps or eliminating them altogether. However, there are times when a 20-minute power nap can make all the difference if they do not become habitual. Of course, 20-minute naps are not always possible, but a power snack can be an adequate replacement, with a focus on protein, fibre and small amounts of fat – and preferably no carbs.
10. Be Open to Professional Advice
The modern lifestyle can sap energy, but ongoing energy issues can be an indicator of a medical problem and this should not be ignored. If slight habitual changes are having a limited effect, we would always suggest seeking advice from a doctor on whether there may be any underlying issues at play.