How to get energy – that is the million dollar question. When extra-long days of work and socializing become the norm during the holiday months, all of us crave a little more of whatever it is that the Energizer bunny is having. There are days we feel so fatigued that all we want to do is crawl under our desks and take a nap; but that isn’t possible for most of us. Forbes’s leadership columnist Erika Andersen’s advice on how to inoculate yourself against energy suckage is to first remember to be kind to your body.
“It’s easy to get into a vicious cycle when you’re busy: You don’t take the time to eat or sleep properly, which makes you more tired and less effective/efficient, so you have even less time to eat and sleep well, so you’re more tired and even less effective/efficient…You get the picture. Whenever you’re tempted to throw your own body under the bus of your crazy schedule – stop. Just for today, have a simple, healthy, delicious meal (not fast food, not from the vending machines at work, not out of a bag or a box), and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Things may look very different in the morning.” Here are 15 other ideas on how to get energy now.
Do Morning Stretches
Doing neck, shoulder, legs and back release exercises when you wake up will get the blood pumping, open blocked energy pathways, reduce pain and energize you for the entire day.
Drink Plenty of Water
Aim to hydrate every two hours from the time you wake up until bedtime. Even mild dehydration can cause mental and physical fatigue. Your body needs about eight glasses of water daily.
Have a Good Breakfast
Never skip breakfast. Never. Make time for some protein and wholegrain carbs in your morning routine and you will see how much more energized you will feel until lunch. This is the time to indulge in eggs, turkey sausages, nut butters, Greek yogurt and granola to fuel your motors.
Take a Brisk Walk
Even if you can’t get to the gym that day, take a brisk walk to wake yourself up. It can revitalize your energy reserves and getting your muscles pumping will oxygenate your brain and body, giving you an endorphin boost.
Have a Hearty Lunch
Just like you shouldn’t skimp on breakfast on those long days that lead into social nights, a good lunch with proteins, carbs and vegetables is the smart way to go to avoid running out of fuel at 4pm.
Okay, so lunch was a 12:30 and now it’s 3pm and you want to eat a horse. Go ahead and indulge in a miniature meal of fresh fruit, raw veggies, whole grain bread with peanut butter, Greek yogurt or nuts and cheese, are all healthy ways to up your energy when the slumps hit.
Play Music by Mozart
Giving yourself a musical time-out with music by Mozart will awaken you and help brain performance. Studies say that classical music by the famous composer improves the duration and intensity of concentration.
Connect with Others
If you work in an office, get up from your chair every now and then and connect with your officemates. If you work at home, go outside and connect with neighbors or folks at local businesses. When you start to relate to those around you in this way, you’ll feel more connected, energized and in a far better mood.
Have Five Minutes of Fun
Taking a short break in the midst of your chaos can do wonders to rejuvenate you. Whether it’s a laugh-out-loud moment with friends at work or a hilarious YouTube video; a piece of chocolate eaten slowly at 3pm; or gazing out of the window at the beautiful sky and just breathing deeply.
Take a Power Nap
Sleep when you need it and wake up refreshed. Be sure to keep the nap to 20 minutes or slightly less, and if you need the extra sleep, wait until the 50-minute mark. This will safely keep you on the power side of your nap.
Opt for Smaller, Frequent Meals Throughout the Day
Heavy meals tend to make you drowsy because of the energy needed for digestion. Aim for four to six smaller meals spaced apart by three to four hours, to avoid low blood sugar slumps.
Do Breathing Exercises
Overwhelmed by your day? Try a traditional yoga breath exercise known as bhastrika (“bellows breath”), which involves a rapid and forceful inhalation and exhalation powered by the movement of the diaphragm.
Complaining is draining. If you notice yourself spending more than, say, 5% of your time talking about how bad things are, walk yourself down a more constructive path, it can be a real energy-booster. Kvetch-ers are an unhappy looking bunch!