Low energy keeping you from tackling your to-do list or taking care of your health? Burnout and stress are at all-time highs across professions, so if you are feeling tired and drained, you are not alone. With a pandemic, ongoing economic concerns, and challenging world events, now more than ever, we need tools to help us cope with our day-to-day lives.
The good news is that these tools exist, and they are easier to implement than you might imagine. If you feel stressed out and exhausted, read on for five simple ways to build your energy.
1) Get Outdoors.
One of the best things you can do to give your energy a boost is to go outside. Studies show that walking in nature for 40 minutes lowers cortisol, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved immune function. The same study showed that walking in a lab for 40 minutes didn’t have the same effect, so next time you plan to use an indoor treadmill, consider getting out into nature instead.
Getting outdoors doesn’t mean you need to travel to the deep wilderness. An urban park, a stroll through your neighborhood, or even just exercising in your backyard can be beneficial. The simple fact you can breathe fresh air and see the sky can improve your mood, boost your energy, and help you gain perspective. Be sure to go outside for at least a few minutes every day.
2) Focus On Your Sleep.
It might seem counterintuitive that you need to focus on your sleep to boost your energy, but sleep is essential in rejuvenating your body. You can think of it like gas for your car — if you don’t have enough, you aren’t going to be able to get to where you need to go.
During sleep, your nerve cells communicate and reorganize, enhancing your brain function. Your brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste. And your body repairs its cells, restores energy, and releases hormones and proteins. If you are operating with a sleep debt (when you sleep fewer hours than your body requires) on a regular basis, your brain, body, and energy levels all suffer.
To get better sleep, log off your devices an hour before bed and create a calm, clutter-free, sleep environment. Establish a soothing bedtime ritual, and if you regularly have trouble getting a solid eight hours of sleep, consider a natural supplement like melatonin. Sleep is essential for your energy.
3) Keep An Energy Journal.
What’s an energy journal? It’s a place where you track your energy and start to look for patterns.
Take some time each day to notice what gave you an energy boost and log it into a journal. Energy boosts can be a conversation with a good friend, a nourishing meal, a walk with your dog, or a vigorous workout. Track your energy for a week or two and notice what makes you feel alive. Then dedicate time to doing more of those things.
On the flip side, observe what drains your energy. Notice if you have some relationships you need to reassess, a work environment that needs to change, or a home environment that could use an upgrade. As you begin to pay attention to your energy, you’ll become clearer about what nourishes your spirit and what drains you. And from this place of clarity, you can start refining how you spend your time to give you optimum energy.
4) Meditate Daily.
In addition to making your thinking more stable and consistent, a daily meditation practice will literally change your brain. When you meditate, your brain stops processing as much information, stops perceiving imagined threats, and goes more “offline.” This slowdown offers a relaxation response, allowing you to experience better focus, less anxiety, less stress, and more energy.
Not sure how to meditate? You can try guided meditation, breathwork like this pranayam reset, silent meditation, and more. If you want help getting started, use this guide to experiment and find the meditation style that’s best for you.
5) Take Movement Breaks Throughout Your Day.
You eat and drink throughout your day to replenish your body, but have you thought about taking 5-minute exercise snacks to boost your energy and clear your mind?
These movement breaks are surprisingly simple. Every two or three hours, stop for 5 minutes and move your body. You can walk briskly, do jumping jacks, squats, front bends, or whatever works best for you. Find an exercise or series of exercises that get your energy moving and schedule them into your day. Wondering about the easiest way to do it? Set up an alert or a timer to remind you to take your 5-minute breaks. Notice how you feel afterward and log it in your energy journal.
If you are feeling tired and drained, there are simple, practical steps you can do immediately to start replenishing your energy. Pick one of the simple hacks from the list above and incorporate it into your daily schedule. When that new habit has been firmly established, add a second. Keep going until you’ve incorporated all five and watch your energy move from tired and sluggish to radiant and vibrant.