Everyone is familiar with all-out energy drain, those times when no matter how enticing that new movie, fabulous shoe sale, or friendly barbecue, you just can’t psych yourself up to go. What can be harder to recognize is chronic energy drain. In this case, you may not necessarily feel the classic signs of exhaustion — like achy muscles or that all-over tired feeling. What you do experience is an increasing lack of get-up-and-go for many of the activities you used to love. If this sounds familiar, take heart. Try these tips and strategies to help increase your energy while avoiding that fourth cup of coffee.
Increasing physical activity actually increases energy. The key is to focus on daily physical activity and not just “exercise!” Scrub, dig, shovel, walk, play, ride or wheel through your day. Small steps like turning off the TV after dinner to go for a walk with your partner, dog or children can make a big difference.
Making time for sleep is essential to feeling alert and ready to take on the day. Most people need at least eight to nine hours every night. To help create a restful atmosphere – fully darken your bedroom (turn your alarm clock away if the display gives off too much light), regulate room temperature (too hot or too cold, and you’ll wake up), and use white noise (a fan or quiet music) to help induce sleepiness.
Meal timing is another important factor in maintaining energy levels. People often skip meals, and wonder why they are tired in the afternoon. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar swings, often resulting in fatigue. You should eat at least three nutritious meals each day with the last meal well before bedtime.
One of the biggest energy zappers is stress. Stressors like worry or fear can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. Counter these energy killers by programming more relaxation activities into your day. For many folks, increasing exercise burns off the chemical effects of stress and anger, while others find relief in quiet pursuits such as listening to music, reading a great book, or even just talking on the phone.
Get some sun
The body makes vitamin D after exposure to sun, which can help with higher physical performance and improved mood. Try to get 10 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun at least three times a week.