All those people with an arm long to-do list need their body’s energy levels to remain up throughout the day. Except, like any other resource, the energy level in a human body goes down with use.
The circadian rhythm ensures that almost all of us experience a dip in energy around 1 pm and 4 pm. The biggest dip is between midnight and dawn – this is why pulling all-nighters, or working the graveyard shift is not the healthiest thing to do.
Flagging energy at some point during the day is unavoidable. The natural progression of the day requires your body to be in a state of exhaustion for better sleep, but till we have ticked-off every task on that all-important to-do list, we need to function at our best.
Here are some tips to maintain your energy levels or boost them when they show signs of giving up on you.
I plan to integrate each and every one of them into my lifestyle because my energy fluctuates a lot!
I have tried them all, but the idea is to perhaps, use all of these tips in a non-overwhelming way, and with the holiday season here, I can see this list helping out on more than one occasion.
1. Morning Exercise
I am a big believer in the adage, ‘Win the morning, win the day’
If you’re at your productive best in the first few hours of the morning, chances are you’ll be riding a dopamine high for the rest of the day which will keep your motivation up.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t falter with your energy taking a massive dive. In order to avoid that, morning exercise can actually really help.
A proper workout in the morning fills our body with endorphins. The consequent runner’s high gives us a burst of energy.
Exercise also clears away the cobwebs, freshening our mind and giving us sharper focus. It exercises the muscles that are cramped from the hours spent sleeping.
Morning exercise is the ideal way to start the day. Exercise allows us to start with our energy levels really high, mind kicked into gear, and body ready to put in some solid hours of work.
During the day, whenever you feel sleepy, you can do light stretches to keep your mind fresh.
2. The Alarm Trick
If you are one of those people who set about 20 different alarms 10 minutes apart so that your habit of snoozing doesn’t make you lose out on day’s work then, chances are you’ll be tired throughout the day.
If you keep hitting the snooze button and it takes you a while to get out of bed in the morning, you will carry the lethargy around with you for the rest of the day.
Here’s a trick you can use-
If you’ve to get up at 5:30 am, set an alarm for 4 am so basically 90 minutes before the time you actually have to be up and the actual time as well. This will allow you to avoid the fragmented sleep and consequent drowsiness you experience with the ‘several alarms’ routine.
Instead, the 90-minute sleep you get between the first and the second alarm is the full sleep cycle as we sleep in 90-minute cycles (on average!) so after the second alarm goes off, you wake up after your REM state.
This one is tried and tested and I promise that this trick will make a massive different to your day!
3. Careful of what you eat
You need to be smart about your breakfast and lunch.
If you eat a high carb breakfast or lunch, you’ll have a burst of energy that will continue to decline causing a sugar crash. Suddenly, all you want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep for a couple of hours.
So, do yourself a favor and try to eat lots of lean protein in your breakfast – it is a fatigue-fighting breakfast.
Lunch should be low on fat and a balance between the proteins and carbohydrates.
I love coffee but I am completely against using it as a crutch so, if you are building a dependence on caffeine, try to delay its consumption by 30 minutes everyday so that you can rebuild your immunity to the stuff. Also, avoid putting too much sugar in your coffee.
Try to keep a box of nuts with you. Incorporate fruits into your diet.
4. Control the stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety always lead to a massive fall in our energy level. Denial suddenly becomes our best friend and it’s always more accessible in bed with our eyes closed.
Try to control your stress and anxiety, if you’ve any! If you’re reading this post, it clearly means you’ve goals that don’t work well with flagging energy. Goals of that nature always bring anxiety!
The best way to keep a grip on your mind is through meditation or any mindful exercise. If you have a history with anxiety, perhaps you should do mindful exercises that keep you engaged.
Cycling, chanting, swimming, cleaning, writing, reading – all of it good.
Another option is a healthy processing of emotions. So, discuss the issues with a trusted friend or family member.
My favorites – Creative Visualisation, Yoga, talking to my mom!
5. Realistic goals
An unrealistic to-do list is a bit of a guarantee for failure, and when you repeatedly fail at finishing the task list, it demoralizes you. This leads to a lot of frustration which is emotionally and mentally exhausting.
Instead of turning every day into a race against time, be more careful with your goal setting.
Start your day with the most important task and consciously tell yourself that as long as the 3 most important tasks get done, everything is good!
Cut yourself some slack and have a few easy achievements. Keep your frame of mind positive and upbeat or forget your energy levels, you’ll find yourself with a temper problem and a lot of aggressive energy.
Related : How To Deal With Negative Thoughts?
6. Sleep better
My body has different sleep needs than yours. Maybe you function better with only 4-5 hours of sleep with power naps spread throughout your day. Or, your body may do well with a solid 8 hours of sleep at night.
You need to find out! Seriously!
Invest a little time in running an experiment. My body works best with 5 hours of sleep at night and two 20 minutes long nap.
If your body gets adequate sleep, most of your issues will simply disappear. Not to mention, your productivity will be crazy high.
Sleep is everybody’s friend as long as you nurture the friendship with better understanding.
7. Water, Water, Water
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, this should really not come as a surprise – water is glorious!
There must be millions of articles talking about how important it is to drink at least 2 liters of water every day. Every doctor, no matter what the medical issue may be, will recommend increasing water intake.
Dehydration leads to fatigue which impairs our cognitive ability and causes drowsiness. Water facilitates the smooth functioning of the body by flushing out all the toxins and speeding up the metabolism.
8. Get some sun
Getting fresh air and sunlight can be a savior for those who have a desk job. Even if the job isn’t exhausting, staying indoors for hours on end can be draining not just on the body but on the mind as well.
Some sunshine can also elevate the Serotonin levels in your body making you feel more vibrant and alive during the daytime.
When going out isn’t an option, open the windows and let some air and light into your house.
9. No social media in the first hour of the morning or right before bed
I mentioned better management of stress and anxiety, this is part of it.
Social media is the biggest source of stress, anxiety, and negativity for most people. Our mind is especially susceptible in the first hour of the morning. It is the time when our subconscious is most active as the brain is still in the alpha state. Same goes for the last hour of the day. Whatever content you consume, you carry into the sleep realm which means it gets absorbed quickly.
This is why it is so important that as you wake up and as your body readies itself to sleep, you feed it positive ideas. So, NO SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE FIRST HOUR OF THE MORNING! NO SOCIAL MEDIA AN HOUR BEFORE YOU SLEEP!
Instead, you can watch motivational videos. It will help keep your energy levels elevated and you’ll be motivated to maintain a more productive physical and mental state.
Related : Content to consume for a Happier Soul
10. Affirmations and Visualisations
As I mentioned, when our mind is in the realms of sleep, our subconscious is truly active. Everything gets absorbed very quickly into the mind.
Basically, the first 20 minutes of the morning and the few minutes it takes for you to slip into deep slumber is an ideal time to repeat your affirmations and visualization exercises.
Related : How to use affirmations effectively?
This is like programming your mind for success and productivity. Visualize successful achievement of all your goals, having a productive day, and designing an accomplished life.
There are a great many people who credit their success to subconscious reprogramming with affirmations and self-hypnosis.
I encourage you to explore the blog and other avenues to find techniques that work for you. Some people may respond better to music and others may need a guided meditation. Some of us just like to build images in our head. Whatever works for you is good.
I implore you to give it an honest try!
These were my 10 tips for keeping your energy levels up so that you can achieve all your goals. The Key is to get proper sleep, exercise, diet, and maintain mental agility.
My own morning routine goes like this –
5:30 am – Gratitude Exercises
5:45 am – 20-minute run
6:10 am – Full body workout
6:50 am – Meditation (Visualisation and affirmations)
7:30 am – Shower
8 am – Prayer
This is how I start my day. It took me a while to find my rhythm but it was time well-invested. This system really works for me.
In the afternoon, my energy flags. Usually, light yoga keeps me awake but it is still not a great solution. Hopefully, these tips will help us all.
If you have any suggestions that can help, please do share.