Tired of being tired? Looking for a way to reclaim that vitality and stamina that has seemingly waned for good? Here are 10 easy ways to re-energize.
- De-stress. Chronic stress and anxiety not only make you weary, they can also negatively impact your brain and body. When you are overwhelmed and tied up in tension, you can’t think straight, your heart races, your blood pressure rises, and eventually your health suffers. Unburden your mind and body by learning to de-stress. Exercise, journal, change your schedule, and work to eliminate stressors – or at least lessen their weight – and enjoy the return of your vim and vigor.
- Rule out medical conditions. Most of the time, being tired is related to lack of sleep, poor diet and chronic stress. However, it is important to rule out medical conditions that cause fatigue. See your doctor and make sure you don’t have anaemia (low iron), hypothyroid, chronic fatigue syndrome or any other illness that is sapping your energy. If you do have a medical condition, work closely with your healthcare team to find the most effective treatments.
- Change your routine. Boredom or being stuck in a rut is draining because you have nothing novel to look forward to when you wake up to face your day. Humans, by nature, are curious creatures who thrive on stimulation, and, unfortunately due to routine lifestyles, can become lethargic when nothing new piques their interest. Though you may not be able to change your work or school schedule or just pick up and move across the country, you can commit to do one novel thing every day. Whether it be sweat to a new workout, take a different route to the store, pick up a new hobby, or try an unfamiliar recipe or ingredient, just do something out of the norm.
- Sleep, sleep and more sleep. When is the last time you got seven solid hours of sleep? Lack of shut eye is a primary culprit in unshakeable fatigue. One or two nights of troubled slumber can cause drowsiness, and if you are running on few hours of sleep every night, exhaustion is going to take over your life. Prioritize getting more sleep so you wake up feeling refreshing and energized all day.
- Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast sets you up for a lethargic morning and can keep you weary all day long. By eating a well-balanced breakfast that includes protein and complex carbohydrates, you fuel your mind and body for hours of work or play. Breakfast boosts your energy and sharpens your mind with long-lasting endurance. Even if you tend to wake up and rush out the door, take advantage of quick-fix meals, like heat and eat egg and sausage dishes, nut butter and jam on toaster waffles, fruit and yogurt smoothies, or trail mix and ricotta cheese.
- Opt for smaller, frequent meals. If your daily diet tends to be two or three large meals spaced hours apart, your lack of energy may be from low blood sugar. Heavy meals tend to make you drowsy because of the energy needed for digestion, and if your next meal is hours after your food digests, you end up with low blood sugar, which is another energy drain. Aim for four to six smaller meals spaced apart by three to four hours – lighter meals won’t weigh you down and frequent meals will keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Just make sure you downsize your usual portions and maintain a healthy caloric intake.
- Snack smarter. Snacking has gotten a bad rap with all the high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat convenience foods. However, snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables, salads, light soups, small sandwiches, nuts, whole grains, yogurt and cheese is a healthy way to up your energy when the mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump hits. Whole foods are full of vitality and are an optimal way to raise blood sugar levels as well as ensure you are getting your recommended daily intake of key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Keep in mind that snacks are miniature meals to tide you over until mealtime – snacking on large portions may contribute to weight gain, which can also drag your energy down.
- Drink up. Even slight dehydration can cause mental and physical fatigue. You need about eight (8-ounce) glasses of water – or other uncaffeinated liquid – every day, and more when you exercise or are in extreme climates. Try drinking a glass of water every two hours from the time you wake up until bed. It will keep you refreshed and well-hydrated throughout your day.
- Limit your caffeine. That initial jolt of energy you experienced when you started drinking coffee has likely tapered off and only occurs when you drink more – and then some more. Your body naturally develops a tolerance to caffeine, so relying on your cups of coffee to boost your energy is a short-lived solution. And jolting your body with caffeine every time you feel fatigued only adds to your tiredness – you get an instant lift, followed by an energy crash. Stick to a cup or two in the morning. If you are getting enough sleep and eating healthfully, chances are you won’t feel like you have to drink coffee all day.
- Re-energize with exercise. Though you may think exercise is only going to make you more tired, getting your muscles pumping will oxygenate your brain and body and give you an enlivening endorphin boost. Merely taking a brisk walk can revitalize your energy reserves. Exercise will quickly wake you up, tame your tension, and improve your health. When that midday malaise starts to set in, hit the gym, yoga center, or local park to work out and win your fight against fatigue.
Michele Borboa MS
A fresh perspective
With the arrival of 2020 we all need a fresh perspective in order to take on the New Year.
Tell yourself you can change.
“Happiness is not the belief you do not need to change, it is that you can change,” Achor says. Take a moment to notice the relationship between change and personal growth.
Try this: “Write down the three greatest moments of change in your life that have brought you to being the person you like being today,” Achor advises. They can be obvious milestones, like moving to a new city, or more subtle and personal, like meeting your best friend. Hang your list in your bathroom or above your desk to encourage yourself to adapt your attitude and stay positive.
Go someplace else.
When you are taxed, it is easy to blow small negatives out of proportion. But research shows that a new environment can change your perspective for the better.
Achor describes an experiment where Yale medical students left class to study ancient paintings at a local art museum. After their trip, as a group they showed a 10 percent improvement in their ability to recognize important medical details, compared to students who did not take the same break.
Try this: If you are stuck, expose your brain to a new environment—physically go to another place, or read or look elsewhere—to gain a positive change of attitude.
Refuel and re-energize.
Everyone knows that tired plus hungry equals unhappy, but this combination might be more damaging than you think. Your brain interprets lack of sleep as a threat to the central nervous system, Achor writes, which can cloud judgment. Missing one night of sleep can cause you to remember 59% fewer positive words, which could make you overly focus on the negative.
Try this: If your attitude is chronically cranky, look at your eating and sleeping habits. A mid-morning snack (like the protein-fat combo of apple with peanut butter) could steady your blood sugar.
Identify both the positive and the negative.
No matter how bleak it may seem, every situation has a silver lining, Achor insists. “I have never encountered an environment where positive details could not be found,” Achor writes.
Try this: Focus on an object or task and list as many descriptions as you can for 30 seconds. You get three points for positive descriptions, and one for negative. Why include negatives? “Awareness of negatives can motivate us to take action, and the act of looking for them can make our brain even more flexible and nimble,” Achor says.
Talk to the right people for support.
Venting your drama to your officemate or your sister might be more harmful than helpful, according to Achor. Continually talking to like-minded people could mean you hear the same perspective on repeat, which discourages problem solving. To get a positive attitude, seek out different viewpoints to recognize all aspects of the issue.
Try this: With big decisions (ending a relationship; asking for a promotion) use a three-person reality check, Achor says. “Find someone with a different personality, different economic status, and different age group, it covers all of your bases.”
Channel your stress.
Stress makes every bad situation worse, or does it? Hormones released during stress can boost memory and reasoning ability, and teaching yourself to think about the positive aspects of stress can actually improve performance as well as physical and mental health. In one study, managers trained to recognize the upside of stress reported a 23% drop in physical symptoms like headaches, backaches, and fatigue.
Try this: When you are overwhelmed, pinpoint the real reason. If you are worried about a work presentation, it might be that your stress is about impressing your boss, not talking in front of a group. Aim to direct the stress into a more confident delivery.
All these tips will help you to take on the New Year, and not let anything stand in your way. Happy New Year!
Author of the book Before Happiness