We’ve all been there; you wake up in the morning, full with energy and with many plans for the day ahead. But then comes early afternoon, and you find yourself in a slump, tired and lacking the motivation for just about anything. What a bummer! If you’re feeling more tired than usual, this can happen for all kinds of reasons; poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and stress are just some of the things that can make us all feel drained and exhausted. Here are 10 tips on how you can boost your energy!
Having energy for the day starts with a good night’s sleep. This is when we regenerate not just our body, but also our mind. Unfortunately, we’re living in such a busy world where we think that hours of sleep could be better used elsewhere. No wonder we feel tired during the day! 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night is the sweet spot for adults. So if you do not get enough, start with heading to bed earlier. You can do this slowly, going to bed half an hour earlier than usual. Gradually add some more time over several days or weeks until you get the required amount where you wake up refreshed in the morning!
A good start to the day requires some fuel. After sleeping for several hours at night, your body is essentially running on fumes and needs some calories. But just eating any breakfast isn’t all there is to it. It needs to be the right stuff so you can fully energise your body. Avoid eating fatty and sugary foods. A good breakfast should contain valuable proteins and be rich in complex carbohydrates and other beneficial ingredients such as fibres and minerals. So ditch the white bread and stock your fridge with fresh fruits for a healthy start in the morning!
You may not want to hear this if you love your cup of joe in the morning, but caffeine as an energy booster is a very poor choice. Coffee doesn’t provide a natural boost of energy, but rather stimulates adrenaline release for only a short and temporary boost. And once your coffee kick wears off, you may feel even more tired than before. So try to stay away from any caffeine and substitute your java for green smoothies or freshly pressed juice. You can gradually reduce your caffeine intake to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches or irritability.
Along with a lack of sleep, not drinking enough water is yet another major reason why people may feel exhausted. You should drink at least eight cups (two litres) of water per day so you can stay properly hydrated. While pure water is always good, fresh fruits and vegetables can also provide you with the necessary fluids to keep your body well-hydrated. But you should definitely stay away from sodas, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol because these can dehydrate you even more.
Most of us have poor breathing habits. Especially when stressed, we tend to make shallow breaths through our mouths that deprive our body of oxygen. And less oxygen means less energy, which makes us feel worn out and tired. To learn proper technique, you should concentrate on deep breathing a few times a day. You can do this easily at home or at work. Sit back, relax a bit, and breathe slowly and deeply in and out through your nose. Inhale for five seconds, exhale for five seconds. The more often you do this simple breathing exercise, the more you will start to naturally breathe this way. Your reward will be new energy levels for your body and your mind!
While we’re on the subject of improving our breathing habits, how about a few daily minutes of meditation? Just 20 minutes of quiet meditation can do wonders to give your mind and body a well-deserved break from stress and chaos. When you breathe deeply and clear your mind, it can help you to restore your energy levels to normal again. Alternatively, instead of meditating, you can also take short “power naps” of around 20 minutes, which can have the same re-energising effect.
Drinking alcohol is probably the worst thing you can do if you want to restore your energy. The reason is that alcohol has exactly the opposite effect; although it may stimulate at first, it is actually a sedative that makes you tired. Together with a meal at lunchtime, alcoholic drinks are a sure way to drain your body of much of the energy that you’d like to have for the rest of the day. If you can’t be without your glass of wine or beer, try to limit your drinking to later in the evening.
We may eat a few healthy and energising meals per day, but what about the time in between? Eating unhealthy snacks on-the-go or on our break at work can be yet another reason that we feel tired and drained. The best snacks are those that contain plenty of proteins, fibres, and healthy fats. Fresh fruits are excellent, as are yogurts (with no added sugar), nuts, and vegetables. When you substitute your large meals for several smaller but healthy snacks every day, this can also help restore and boost your energy levels.
Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining daily energy. Unfortunately, we often don’t get sufficient amounts of this valuable mineral in most of our diet. Whole grains, nuts, dark leafy greens, beans, and lentils have good amounts of magnesium, so consider adding these to your diet. Alternatively, but just as a last resort, you can also look into magnesium supplements.
You might think that exercising would just make you even more tired, but nothing is further from the truth. To get renewed energy, you actually have to spend a bit at first. When your heart starts pumping and your body is flooded with oxygen, this can provide you with bouts of new energy that can last the entire day. The good thing is you don’t have to overdo it with exercising. An easy 20 minutes of walking may be all that you need to re-energise your body and mind!