Do you always feel tired? Feel like you are running on empty? This is a common feeling, with most people wishing they had more energy. The stress of dealing with the sheer pace of modern life seems to be a common factor when it comes to feeling sapped of energy.
In order to get that bounce back in your step, you need to first work out what is sapping your energy and then take some steps to rectify it. And there is plenty of information out there to help, including some natural ways to give yourself a boost.
That lethargic feeling could be caused by many things, such as disrupted sleep, trying to do too much, a poor diet and a general lack of fitness.
Get enough sleep
In order to feel relaxed and have enough energy to take on the day you need a good night’s sleep. Stress and anxiety can stop people falling into a proper, productive sleep, instead keeping them in a state of limbo halfway between awake and asleep.
You can try keeping a sleep diary for a week and see how much you are actually getting. Write down how many hours you slept for and what time of day it is when you feel tired.
Generally, everyone needs at least six to eight hours sleep a night. Refraining from eating at least two hours before bedtime, making sure your bedroom is dark, and letting fresh air into the room will also help you drift off earlier. Ensuring your mind isn’t restless by not watching TV before you go to bed is key, and meditation, reading an easy book, listening to soft music, or enjoying a massage from a loving partner will also do the trick.
Don’t do too much
Trying to do everything for everyone only saps your energy and you end up not being as productive anyway. You need to give your body a chance to re-boot and have 20 minutes a day to yourself. It’s not being selfish to want to be alone or do something you enjoy – in fact, it’s absolutely necessary.
Multivitamins, exercise, drinking lots of water, and cat naps can also help restore your energy. If you work full time, remember to breathe deeply often, stretch and move around to get your body’s juices flowing again and a techno-detox one day a week can also help. This is where you ban mobiles and laptops, so you’re completely contact free.
Poor nutrition will deplete your energy. Eating too much sugar and fat, caffeine alcohol, and dairy foods can also make some people feel lethargic, as will too many carbohydrates in the middle of the day. They only give you a short boost, leaving you feeling hungry and lethargic once the sugar hit wears off.
A better option may be eating protein-packed meals of turkey, tuna, beans, chickpeas, fish, or vegetables without the carbs. This will make you more alert and aware and give you more energy. Other energy foods include bananas, apples, avocadoes, nuts, and eggs. Make sure you always have breakfast, and don’t overeat because your stomach will struggle to digest all the food, which will cause tiredness.
One in four women and one in six men will suffer from some form of depression during their lives. If we’re feeling low, our energy levels tend to follow.
If you’ve noticed that you don’t have as much energy as you used to, if normal activities seem difficult, and if you don’t want to socialise, then you could be at risk.
Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that makes us feel happy, alive and energetic. It responds to sunlight, exercise and fresh air, so get outdoors and get active. Just a 15-minute walk a day is proven to help relieve depression.
It’s also important to be around friends, family, pets, and children and to take up a hobby as all these will lighten your mood. You can also try listening to music that uplifts you and watching live events such as plays, sporting games and concerts.
Get some exercise
Walking is easy, accessible and you don’t need special training or equipment. In experiments conducted by Robert Thayer, PhD, at California State University, a brisk 10-minute walk not only increased energy, but also the effects lasted for up to two hours. And when the daily 10-minute walks continued for three weeks, overall energy levels and mood were lifted.
Some other ideas
Try magnesium – This mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men. Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews to your daily diet and increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal. Eating more fish may help, too.
Take a power nap – research has shown that both information overload and pushing our brains too hard can zap energy. But studies by the National Institute of Mental Health found that a 60-minute “power nap” can not only reverse the mind-numbing effects of information overload, it may also help us to better retain what we have learned.
Don’t skip breakfast – studies show that people who eat breakfast report are in a better mood and have more energy throughout the day. Other studies have found that missing any meal during the day leads to an overall greater feeling of fatigue by the day’s end.
Reduce stress – easier said than done? Like worry or fear, stress can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Programming more relaxation activities into your day can help. Another tip is to try diaphragmatic breathing. Stress, poor posture, a snug waistline, and habit are some of the reasons why our breath doesn’t make it down to the bottom of our lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a simple way we can increase our qi energy and improve our stamina.
Herbs for energy – ginseng and ginkgo biloba are recommended by many herbalist and nutritionist to improve energy levels.
Sluggish thyroid? – this gland, found at the base of the throat, secretes hormones that help control metabolism, heart rate and more. The less active your thyroid is in producing hormones, the slower your metabolism and the less energy you have. Signs of an underactive thyroid include constipation, menstrual irregularities and dry skin, hair and nails. A blood test can reveal whether your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone are high – a sign that the thyroid isn’t working up to speed.
The best approach to the lack of energy dilemma is to correct the cause. You simply cannot think your way out of physical tiredness. You must make changes to your diet and lifestyle. By changing your diet and lifestyle, you’ll be happier and more energetic. Your whole life will improve dramatically when your body is full of energy to cope with everyday situations.