Many of us feel sluggish or sleepy in the afternoon. You have several hours of work to complete and you go to the vending machine for a snack and get your latest cup of coffee. We’re hoping the sugar and caffeine will give us more energy and make us more alert. Often a hard day at work leaves many of us weary and tired. If you feel you need more energy in your life, you’re not alone. I’ve been reviewing the information available, looking for natural ways to add energy.
I will start with the notion that we all know smoking is a big negative for healthy living. If you are a smoker, you know you should quit. Talk with your physician about healthy ways to stop smoking. Have a physical if you haven’t in the last year. Now let’s look at other positive actions that can change how you feel.
I. Get Your Rest
Sleep is one of the most fundamental acts of self-care. When we get overwhelmed or stressed, sleep is usually the first sacrifice. For adults 18 – 60, 7 hours sleep is recommended, but according to the CDC , more than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Go to bed at a decent time. Develop an evening routine that helps you relax. After a busy day, you need to let your mind and body heal themselves to recharge for the day ahead. For more tips check Self Care: Tips To Help You Sleep Better for a well-rested night’s sleep .
II. Decrease Stress
One of the biggest energy zappers is stress. Make sure that you are not overworking yourself. One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork. Overwork can include professional, family, and social obligations. Low but chronic levels of stress erode energy levels, so over time, you find yourself doing less and feeling it more. Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks. Pare down those that are less important. Ask for help when needed. Many of us are caught up in the same cycle each day. We wake up, go to work, deal with home life, and sleep. It describes a large portion of my life. It’s time we gave ourselves a break. Despite our hectic lives, we do need to find time to take care of ourselves. If you get caught with your mind racing with mental overload, check out my ideas to relax your mind:
III. Eat Right
If you find that you are often feeling sluggish, then you might review what’s going in your body. It’s wise to avoid processed foods as much as possible. These tend to have a way of sapping you of your energy with lots of sugar, salt, and fat. The goal is to keep your blood sugar balanced. Eat whole grains and less sugar. When you’re eating a sweet treat, you get a spike in blood sugar, which gives you an initial burst of energy. That’s followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar, which in turn can leave you feeling very wiped out. Whole grains provide a slow, steady release of fuel to prevent spikes and drops.
Have a power snack in the afternoon that combines protein, a little fat, and some fiber – like peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker or slice of bread, or some yogurt with a handful of nuts. The carbs offer a quick pick-me-up, the protein keeps your energy up, and the fat makes the energy last.
Make sure that you are eating the right foods. And that basically just means getting plenty of fruit and vegetables into your daily diet. The more of these that you eat, and the greater a variety of them, the more likely it is that you are going to have lots of energy in your daily life. You should make sure that you are eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruit every day. You could drink a lot of smoothies or juices, or you could sprinkle berries on your morning cereal. Last, remember NOT to skip meals and eat 3 times a day. You may not think you’re hungry for breakfast or lunch, but your body needs fuel. Grabbing a donut at the office is NOT the way to start your day.
IV. Exercise Every Day
While it may seem as if moving about when you feel exhausted is the quickest route to feeling more exhausted, the opposite is true. Experts say that increasing physical activity — particularly walking — increases energy.
The long-term health benefits of physical exercise are numerous; they include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, improving metabolism and weight control, as well as generally strengthening the heart, muscles, and bones. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it helps to lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes, and prevent some forms of cancer. New research also indicates that 20 minutes of regular exercise can reduce inflammation. Exercise strengthens the immune system.
The kind of workout you do is up to you, but some are particularly good for boosting your energy levels. Find activities that you enjoy that get you moving. Join a walking or biking group, add a yoga or water aerobics class, and take the family for a walk in the park. You’ll be happier and your body will thank you.
Eating a balanced diet can help ensure your vitamin and mineral needs are met. But if you still find yourself too pooped to pop, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency. Magnesium 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. To make sure you’re getting enough, add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews to your daily diet. Eat more whole grains, particularly bran cereal. Eat more fish, especially halibut. Another option is to take a good multi-vitamin each day.
I’m hoping these ideas help you develop a routine to prevent energy loss. Wishing you clear skies and happiness!
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This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.
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