I don’t know about you, but there are some mornings when it’s all I can do to drag my almost lifeless body out of bed. Apparently I’m not alone either as, according to one study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, almost 38 percent of the workforce appears to be dealing with feelings of fatigue on a regular basis.
Not only does being chronically tired make the days feel even longer than can sometimes be, but it can also hinder your ability to achieve the levels of success you want because your productivity most definitely lags when all you can think about is going back to bed in an attempt to recharge your batteries.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that can help you boost your energy (and they’re even legal!). Here are 12 that have worked for me when I’m feeling this way that might just work for you too:
Drink More Water
When I used to transport prisoners for a living (in my pre-freelance writing days), I often found that the long car rides would make me want to pull over and close my eyes, even if just for a minute. Since that wasn’t exactly an option, I had to come up with other ways to keep myself wide awake, and drinking water often did the trick. Some health experts also recommend adding lemon to your glass of water because it contains vitamin P (which is the name given to the bioflavonoids), which help with oxygenation of the cells, thus providing you with energy.
Eat Every Few Hours
Harvard Medical School suggests that you eat small, frequent meals to give your brain the nutrients it needs to keep going and also to stabilize your blood sugars level so as to avoid the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. Of course, the key is in the word small, suggesting that “a piece of fruit or a few nuts is adequate.”
Increase Your Fruit and Veggie Intake
Have you ever noticed that you have much more energy after having a salad for lunch or snacking on a piece of fruit? That’s partly because, with all of the vitamins and minerals in these types of foods, your body gets the boost it needs naturally. Some of the best energy-increasing fruits and vegetables include bananas, spinach, oranges, grapefruit, and sweet potatoes, so add those in your diet and top off your energy fuel tank.
Limit Your Sugar Consumption
While eating something sugary will likely give you an instant surge of energy, give it a few minutes and you’re going to feel the complete opposite as you crash, prompting you to go in search of more sugar to feel that higher level of energy again. The problem with taking this route to solve your energy crisis is that sugar is extremely harmful to your health due to the fact that it increases your risk of obesity and also causes inflammation in the body. Not that you can’t ever enjoy something sweet, but save it for special occasions versus using it as a quick pick-me-up.
Have a Cup of Coffee
If you’re feeling as if you can barely keep your eyes open, having a cup or two of caffeine can oftentimes help. Additionally, research has found that coffee can help prevent some major diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Just be careful that you don’t go overboard, as it isn’t going to help your energy levels if you spend all night awake thanks to drinking too much of it.
Take a Nap
Another way to effectively increase your energy level is to take a midday nap. In fact, just 20 minutes or so is usually enough to improve your performance, enhance your mood, make you feel more alert, and increase your attention span. So close your office door, turn off your lights, and shut your eyes to rejuvenate yourself. Just make sure you set your cellphone alarm so that you don’t oversleep and miss an important meeting or get so much sleep that you have a hard time going to bed that night.
Take Time to Decompress
Sometimes fatigue is caused by stress, which means that taking the time to regularly decompress can help refill your energy stores. For some, relaxing might be reading a book, taking a hot bath, or listening to soothing music. For others, decompressing could be more physical, such as going for a run, dancing around the room, or playing a sport of interest. There is no right or wrong answer here, just find something relaxing to you and do it. Often.
Get Physically Active
Speaking of doing something physical, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) reports that 20 minutes of light to moderate intensity exercise just three days a week is often enough to reduce your feelings of fatigue. So take your breaks and use them to walk around the block, get up 20 minutes earlier and do some cardio, or go for a hike after dinner. It may seem difficult at first, especially if you’re feeling super tired, but the more you do it, the more you will notice that you have more energy to get through your days.
Plan Something Fun
If you tell a child that you’re taking them to Disneyland, what happens? They explode with energy and bounce off the walls, right? Well, maybe you need something fun like that (well, probably not Disney per se, but something fun to you) to look forward to in order to give your energy a jolt. Plan a mini-vacation or even just a night out on the town and you’ll likely feel as if you’re plugged into the wall and recharging your batteries.
Make Sleep a Priority
Of course, sometimes fatigue comes because you’re not getting enough sleep, an issue that can be rectified by making your time spent in bed a priority. Although some people think that it’s a luxury, sleep is actually mandatory if you want to avoid making bad business decisions and improve your ability to concentrate and problem solve. Everyone is different in the amount they need to feel more alive, so get the right amount for you and you will be more wide awake during the daylight hours.
Get Fresh Air
When I’m stuck at my desk all day working on a time-intensive project, it’s not uncommon to find myself yawning repeatedly, rubbing my eyes in an attempt to get them (and me) to function better. However, if I make myself get up and go outside for 15 minutes or so, I notice that I’m much more alert and awake when I return to my computer. Try it yourself and see if a little bit of fresh air puts a little pep in your step too.
Last, but certainly not least, when you’re feeling low on energy, take the time to laugh and you’ll feel more lively and full of vigor. If you don’t have someone around who makes you laugh, watch funny videos on YouTube or subscribe to a smile-inspiring page on one of your social media sites. A few chuckles is all you need to feel lighter and more ready to go.
These are just a few of the things I do when I’m feeling fatigued. What do you do to help you increase your energy stores? I’d love to know so I can try it on days I’m fighting to stay awake, so feel free to share your ideas below!
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