Are you tired of feeling tired? I get you… Running low on energy levels is tiring!
Tiredness and lack of energy can really take it out of you. The good news is that, in many cases, we can control our energy levels. Lifestyle factors play a huge role in how energised we feel. Exercise, diet, stress, sleep, habits, screen time, etc, all impact our energy levels. Interestingly, mental health also affects fatigue. These natural energy boosters will enhance your productivity levels, and equip you to face stress or any challenges that come your way. Not only will you master the ability to get things done, but you will also experience greater happiness and well-being.
Let’s take a look at some lifestyle tips on how to have more energy.
8 Natural Energy-Boosters
When dehydrated, we often feel sluggish and tired. Medical research explains that “these symptoms may be due to low blood pressure caused by dehydration.” Thankfully, by properly hydrating ourselves, we can raise our energy levels. Water is, of course, the most hydrating drink. For anyone that isn’t a fan of plain water, juice, tea, milk, coconut water, and sports drinks are also hydrating. Avoid sugary drinks though as sugar causes dehydration.
Walk More, Sit Less
You may have heard Dr. Levine’s line “sitting down is the new smoking.” Is sitting down really such a health threat? It definitely can be. Too much time spent at our desk or on the sofa is detrimental to our health and wellbeing. Why? Because in order to have a healthy circulation, good metabolism, and active muscles, we need to keep moving. Worryingly, lack of movement can cause the onset of health issues such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease, and more.
Lengthy periods of sitting down have also been associated with anxiety and social isolation. This is because this sedentary behaviour tends to involve excessive screen time or sleep disturbance. According to experts, the ideal ratio of standing to sitting is about 50:50. It’s also recommended that we switch between the two every 20 to 30 minutes. A standing desk is also a great idea if your work entails lengthy hours at a desk. The next time you’re feeling sluggish, take a short walk or try standing to boost your energy levels.
Eat for Energy
The food we consume fuels our body. Depending on what we eat, our energy levels will work in our favour or against us. Go for foods with a low glycemic index as these are particularly energy-boosting. Opt for whole grains, vegetables high in fibre, healthy fats, and foods high in protein. Oats, bananas, seeds, eggs, spinach, and watermelon are some foods that help fight fatigue. Do you ever notice a deficit in your energy levels after eating? That can be due to foods with refined starches or food with quickly absorbed sugars. Foods that typically increase fatigue include those high in sugar, largely processed products, or even white bread. Another thing to bear in mind is if you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins you need by adopting a broad, healthy diet.
How to have more energy naturally concerns more than just physical health. Social connections are incredibly important for maintaining good health, while social isolation causes tiredness and low mood. Not only is it important for our mental health as good relationships foster psychological wellbeing, but research shows it also leads to longevity. Research undertaken in “The Blue Zones” where people commonly live to 100 demonstrates that, among other factors, social connection is key for optimal health. In terms of brain health, it helps us stay mentally fit, while it also provides us with a sense of purpose and belonging. Social isolation is detrimental to both physical and mental health. Reap the benefits of social interaction not only for an energy booster, but also for the therapeutic, social, psychological, and physical benefits it rewards us with.
Healthy Sleeping Habits
Sleep is often put on the backburner when life gets busy and workloads seem never-ending. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on both our energy levels and health. Bad sleeping habits can result in us feeling grumpy, tired, and lacking motivation. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night, though some people need more. If you struggle with getting to bed at a reasonable hour, try setting a bedtime alarm so that you don’t get carried away with endless episodes. It’s also worth bearing in mind that screen time before sleeping is not advisable. The brightness and the blue light from our devices are linked to poor sleep and insomnia. Instead, dim the lights, read a book, write tomorrow’s to-do list, or relax before hitting the sack. After all, a good night’s sleep plays a huge role in how to have more energy naturally.
Stress consumes an abundance of energy. Struggling with stress leads to poor concentration, racing thoughts, problems switching off, and even insomnia. In fact, studies show that fatigue is strongly associated with increased stress levels. Of course, a lot of the time it’s not possible to completely remove all the sources of stress in life. Instead, we can work to minimise stress with coping mechanisms and science-backed techniques.
Firstly, talking to a loved one or seeing a psychotherapist can help diffuse stress and overcome challenges. There are also numerous physical activities with calming benefits including a walk, reading, relaxing, tai chi, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, or mindfulness activities. Work to minimise stress by introducing healthy lifestyle habits like the above. Not only will this increase your energy levels, but it will also avoid the negative impact stress has on our health. Stress takes a toll on our mental health as it provokes anxiety and depression, in addition to affecting our physical health as it causes aches or pains. Stress is also an onset of serious health issues further down the line such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, etc.
Did you know that natural light leads to higher productivity? A Swiss study revealed that “employees working in environments with natural light recorded higher levels of energy than those in artificially-lit workplaces.” Exposure to daylight during the day suppresses the body’s release of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that the body produces after it gets dark, encouraging the body to sleep. Aside from keeping our sleepiness at bay, natural light also has significant health benefits as it can reduce eyestrain, alleviate stress, and boost our mood. Even if you cannot reap the benefits of natural light in the office, schedule in a dose of sunlight on a daily basis for extra energy.
Things to Avoid
Here are some things to avoid if you’re running low on energy. Firstly, smoking is not only a threat to your health, but it is also detrimental to sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant found in tobacco which “speeds the heart rate, raises blood pressure, and stimulates brain-wave activity associated with wakefulness, making it harder to fall asleep.”
Another thing to limit is the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol has a sedative effect and, though it reduces the time required to fall asleep, it actually reduces the amount of REM sleep we get. REM sleep enables the mind to make sense of the information acquired throughout the day, connecting it with previous experiences. This is crucial to creativity, while the dreams we experience in this sleep period are actually a form of therapy. Without REM sleep, we suffer from anxiety and struggle to make sense of information and emotions connected to it. ‘Hangxiety‘ makes a lot of sense now… Lastly, enjoy caffeine judiciously by avoiding it in excess or before 2pm.
These natural energy boosters are worth trying when energy levels are depleted and tiredness is getting the better of you. However, if your fatigue is preventing you from carrying out your day-to-day activities or is particularly prevalent, it’s best to seek medical advice. Remember to stay hydrated, fuel your body with energy-boosting foods, walk and stand as much or more than you sit, and get a good night’s sleep regularly. Other factors to consider are strong social connections, and work to minimise stress levels. Spend more time outside or in natural light, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and caffeine where possible. And, of course, downtime and self-care also do wonders for recharging our batteries.
What’s your best energy-boosting tip? Let us know in the comments below how to have more energy naturally.