Many people would like to have more energy, and especially as the day nears its close, they find themselves trying desperately to keep up their energy, focus on their work, and then come home to do all the household and childcare tasks that may be required. There are some medical reasons why you may be suffering from a shortage of energy, especially if it occurs daily. The first tip in your quest to have more energy is to see your doctor to rule out serious conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia, and hypothyroidism.
When you’ve gotten a clean bill of health from your doctor, attack your energy crisis on several levels. First you’ve got to examine your life and ask yourself some basic questions, such as the following:
- 1) Do you regularly get at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep?
2) What is you diet generally like?
3) How much stress do you have in your life?
4) How often do you exercise for at least 15-30 minutes?
5) Does your life include any fun activities?
Major “energy thieves” are things like poor diet, low exercise levels, inadequate sleep, stress, and too many commitments. Even one of these areas can provoke problems and make it harder to have more energy. This is especially true of poor diet, sleep, no exercise or stress.
You have to view sleep as just as important to your body as things like eating and going to the bathroom. If you’re not getting adequate sleep at night, you may want to schedule some time for a brief nap or rest period, about 15-30 minutes during the day to help boost energy. These so-called power naps, really can make a difference in your overall energy, though getting at least six hours of sleep at night is still preferable.
Increasing exercise, even by something as simple as walking, can also help you have more energy (and may promote better sleep). Cardiovascular exercise of any kind tends to elevate mood, makes it easier to deal with stress, and might help you take off a few pounds. This last is just as important, because every extra pound you carry may result in lower energy levels, since your body has to work harder to move.
Diet is an equally important component if you want to have more energy, and changes can be the hardest to implement because we often crave sugars when we’re low on energy. Bear in mind the types and amounts of foods you should be eating. Unless otherwise directed, calorie intake for adults should be a minimum of 1500 calories a day, with emphasis on consuming lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you don't want to cook, these types of foods are easy to purchase. You can buy pre-cooked chicken breasts, peanut butter, whole grain bread, and washed and sliced veggies and fruit; these will save time and energy and allow you to eat healthily.
Stress is another barrier to high energy levels. Dealing with constant stress can sap our energy reserves quickly. Evaluate where the stress is coming from: Work, kids, yourself, relationships or a combination of stressors. Start dealing with stress in simple ways. A little meditation, prayer, or breathing exercises can combat some stress, but you also may need to look at ways you can minimize stressors.
For instance, if cleaning up after the kids causes you daily stress, enlist the kids in helping do their own chores. Extremely stressful work environments may require change if they continually steal your energy, or you could downgrade, if possible, from a higher stress to a lower stress job. If you’re still having difficult dealing with high stress situations, consider therapy to cope with the things in your life that you probably can’t change.
Lastly, we will often feel we have more energy when our lives permit us to have some fun. You may feel guilty if you leave the kids to take a salsa class once a week, but remember the adage that it’s hard to take care of anyone, if you don’t take care of yourself first. Give yourself some time to pursue a new interest or something you love doing to restore yourself and be ready for the next onslaught of demands from others in your life.
The quest to have more energy is usually not solved in the long term by excessive use of caffeine or energy drinks. Instead, taking an honest look at your life, and amending it to include the suggestions above may help you feel “stronger, faster, and better” than before. By addressing the issue from a “whole life” perspective, you may soon feel energy returning.