10 Ways to boost your energy
By LESLIE A. PANFIL
I’m a morning person. I wake up with firecrackers in my pants a go like gangbusters until 2 p.m. At that magic hour every day I look longingly at the floor and my head fills with fog. Since my to do list usually won’t allow me to get vertical in the middle of the day, I’ve come up with some tricks to work through my daily fatigue.
Develop a routine. Trying to figure out what you want to do and how to do it when your gas tank is empty is unproductive. Having a routine allows you to get things done on automatic pilot. The reason I get so much done in the morning is not only that my energy level is high but, I have a routine which covers all the bases. I save tasks for my “sleepy time” that I know I can do with little creative or physical energy. I also like to choose a lot of little tasks since I find it hard to focus for long periods of time when I fatigued. This also allows me to feel really accomplished. The momentum of getting many little things done carries me into a time zone when my energy level returns. Review your daily routine and look for subtle changes that you can make to be more productive.
Vitamin B Complex. Part of my afternoon routine is to take a B complex supplement. Vitamin B complex contains several critical mind and mood nutrients. This supplement is known to ease anxiety, lighten depression, stave off PMS and boost your energy! Beyond the medical benefits which I don’t have the credentials to claim, it just plain works for me.
Exercise. Before you skip over this suggestion, hear me out. I’m not talking about hitting the gym, although I’m sure that would be beneficial. It doesn’t take much to put some wind back into your sails. A good stretch or a short but brisk walk will do the trick. If you have the luxury of working from home, consider a series of yoga poses. The combination of full body breathing and stretching can bring you back to life in no time. Need some inspiration? Pump up the volume, with music that makes you want to move. Because I write for a living, my workspace is eerily quiet. Injecting music to my environment can instantly boost my energy and mood.
Lighten Up. If you work in a cavernous building in a cubicle with nothing but florescent lighting, you will really benefit from a break that includes some daylight. The truth is most of us would fare better with a fuller dose of daily sunshine. Studies show that the brain produces more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin on sunny days than on darker days. While you can’t control the weather, you can take advantage of the sun while it shines (with a healthy dose of sunscreen of course.)
Breathe. Sitting for hours at a time, breathing shallowly in front of my computer, it is easy to see how I like many people don’t get the kind of oxygen into my lungs needed for vibrant energy. Periodically throughout the day I take a deep cleansing breath, close my eyes, tip my head back and pull my shoulders down. Making deep breathing part of your “sleepy time” routine will shake the cobwebs from your head and help you refuel.
Peppermint Tea. Look, I love good old fashion caffeine but in an attempt to live a healthier lifestyle my afternoon drink of choice is peppermint tea. While there have been no clinical studies done on the health benefits of peppermint, it is widely believed to help the digestive system and soothe headaches. Some school systems provide peppermint candy to students before administering standardized testing to boost their focus. For added health benefits you can add peppermint extract to green tea.
Snack Time. It can be tempting to load up on sugar when mid afternoon exhaustion strikes. A wiser investment in long term energy is protein and foods containing those B vitamins. I’m not a nutritionist but the mid day snacks that work for me are nuts, Greek yogurt, oranges and carrots.
Drink water. Fatigue can be a result of dehydration. When you are dehydrated the volume of blood in the body is reduced. This makes the heart pump less efficiently. As dehydration progresses, the body has a harder time diffusing internal heat, and tension is created through the body in muscles, joints and organs. That tension often manifests itself as fatigue. Drink enough water and you can consider the trips to the bathroom as exercise.
Mix it up. If you have had a physically taxing day it may be time to rest. If you have been sitting in front of the computer all day, it’s time to move your body. Crunching numbers all day, switch to reading or writing. Are you in the groove or a rut? Nearly every project benefits from a break. Switching gears and coming back to a task will give you fresh eyes and help your energy level.
Take a nap. While not the most practical of tips, sometimes a nap is just what the doctor ordered. According to medical studies, 20 minutes seems to be the magic number.
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