6 Simple Ways to Boost Your Energy
Contributed by Valerie Latona
Do you find yourself often feeling a little rundown and struggle to find the energy to hit everything on your to-do list? While a visit to your doctor can rule out any serious causes like anemia, low blood pressure, depression, and even heart problems, take a look at the following list. You may unknowingly be draining your energy with some of these all-too-common bad habits. Try changing them up, and you may start to see a change in your day-to-day.
1. Get Some (Regular) Sleep
You set the alarm early during the week—but when weekends come, you’re happy to go to bed late and then sleep in as late as possible. If this sounds like you, you may want to regulate your sleep-wake times so you’re going to bed—and getting up—at the same time every day of the week.
Why does this matter? Our bodies follow a natural pattern over a 24-hour-period, called the circadian rhythm. And this natural rhythm of the body relies on consistency. Kick it off by anchoring your day with consistent sleep-wake times; this process, over time, will also help you be less tired during the day—and may even help you sleep better at night.
2. Exercise Every Day
You don’t need to do a power workout every day; just fitting in a 10-minute walk before or after work counts. But it’s exercise that clears your mind and boosts your energy by increasing circulation, boosting the production of feel-good hormones called endorphins, and stoking your fat-burning furnace—your metabolism. It can also keep your energy levels on an even keel.
3. Take a Deep Breath—and Relax
There’s no question that stress, day in and day out, can zap your energy—thanks to chronically high levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Getting a handle on things that stoke stress like chronic worrying, too many time commitments, and demanding relationships can help.
Keep a notebook by your bed at night and jot down things that come to mind to help you relax, do regular yoga or meditation (even if it’s just for five minutes in your living room), or just get out for a mind-clearing walk around the block.
4. Eat a Balanced, Healthy Diet
Our bodies need nutrients to function, stay healthy, and stay energized. Eating a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal; lean protein like legumes, eggs, fish, chicken, and lower-fat beef; and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados can give you the nutrients you need to support your energy. (Drinking enough water can help you stay energized, too.)
Skimping on diet can deprive your body of key nutrients needed for energy, Among those energy supporters:
• The B vitamins, which help convert protein, fats, and carbohydrates into energy
• Iron, which facilitates cellular energy production and is essential for the movement of oxygen through the body
• Manganese, a mineral essential for the proper functioning of mitochondria (energy-producing structures in the cells)
Taking a daily multivitamin can help ensure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients every day.
5. Cut Back on Refined Grains and Sugar
Refined grains have had the bran and the germ—the most nutritious parts of the grain—removed. What’s left are starchy carbs that are low in nutrients. Limit your consumption of refined foods like white rice, white bread, white pasta, and sugar-laden cookies, cakes, and snack foods—and substitute more nutritious whole grains—and you may find that your energy levels will start to soar.
Why? These refined grains and sugars are converted into simple sugars that are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, causing your energy levels to spike temporarily then crash, leaving you lethargic. Whole grains, on the other hand, are rich in fiber that can keep your blood sugar levels steady—and you satisfied and feeling energized longer.
6. Be Happy—and Fulfilled
We’re so busy taking care of our bodies and our minds that we forget to nourish our souls, too. Having hope, passion, fun, and feeling fulfilled in our lives helps us feel invigorated and energized. Find what it is that gives you strength and makes you happy—and go out and do it.
If you’re feeling burdened by over commitment, stop saying “yes” to commitments. If you’re burdened by toxic people or jobs, find the strength to say good-bye to them or at least, rely on them less. If you’re envious of others, take time to count your own blessings. You’ll start to feel happier—and with happiness comes energy and a renewed enthusiasm for life.
Valarie Latona, former editor-in-chief of Shape and healthy living advocate, has inspired millions of women to live a healthy, fit, and confident life.