Feeling depleted is, unfortunately, common for a lot of Americans. We’re working more hours, getting less sleep, and generally “burning the candle at both ends.” Having energy is critical to maintaining a hectic life, whether it’s feeling more energetic with your kids, being powered up to take care of to-do lists, or having a sense of overall well-being and happiness.
We’ll look at 12 energy boosters that will help with fatigue and lethargy, and then identify some things not to do.
1. Control stress: this is so important. Stress can promote the release of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, and begin the “fight or flight” response in the body. From an evolutionary point of view, this prepares the body for fighting or for running, but it also taxes the body, leaving you feeling tired and worn down.
Try meditation, yoga, or simply taking a 5-minute break from your desk to focus on your breathing in a mindful way. I work with guys who love this, and say that the benefits are worth a regular practice. Talk with someone close – your wife or girlfriend – about the things that are stressing you, and you’ll also deepen your relationship with her at the same time.
2. Watch your carbs: carbohydrates – especially refined carbs like white flour products, sugar, and potatoes – give you a short-term energy boost, but crash your system a little later. These food are high in glycemic indexes, so choose foods with lower GI’s, like beans, fruits, whole grains, including whole wheat. These foods will give you more of a steady stream of glucose, so your blood sugar doesn’t spike and then crash.
3. Say ‘no’ more: too many guys are just as guilty of not saying ‘no’ as their female counterparts. When we can’t say ‘no’, we guilt ourselves into accepting more and more from others, whether that’s doing favors, taking on more work, or generally stuffing our own need to do less. Learn to take on less responsibility, and learn to say ‘no’ – the world won’t end if you do.
4. Get the sleep you need: sleep is such a valued commodity for so many of us. We don’t get nearly the quantity (or quality) sleep we need. Quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and turning the t.v. off all help for better sleep hygiene. Actually getting into bed at a set time, whether you fall asleep or not, is crucial in developing a sleep schedule. You’ll see how this slight improvement carries over positively to affect so many things in your life, by sleeping sounder.
5. Develop a plan for consistency: changes take work. No one’s asking you to make all of these changes all at once. Parse yourself. Take one item, and start to do that first. Commit to a regular sleep schedule, or try modifying your diet. Do one thing at a time, and you won’t overwhelm yourself and not do anything. Building energy is a long-term strategy, although our culture wants you to have “more energy – right now.” You can feel more energetic in the short-term, but maintaining lifestyle changes is a long-term strategy.
6. Find what makes you happy: is it work? is it spending time with the ones you really care about? is is finally learning to play the guitar, after all these years? When we’re “in the flow”, and doing what we enjoy and what makes us happy, we feelenergized and compelled to keep doing those things that produce happiness. Find what these things, people, or places are, and start to incorporate them. Stop hanging out in places that de-energize you (unless this is your workplace), with people who de-enegrize you, and, by removed the energy “degenerators”, you’ll free up more physical and psychic energy for yourself to use how you wish.