180 Nutrition: There’s nothing worse than suffering from a bout of low energy and lethargy.
You wake up more exhausted than when you went to bed. It becomes an effort to do even the smallest of tasks, and, your concentration levels are absolutely shot!
When your energy is low, every day is a struggle which will undoubtedly affect the quality of your work and your relationships with those around you.
Now I know you’re working hard, and life is busy but, I’ve got a bit of a truth bomb for you; it’s not normal to wake up every day feeling like crap!
If you’ve noticed that your energy levels are plunging lower than the popularity of the President of the United States, here are ten changes you can make to your day which could help your energy levels spike and improve the quality of your daily life; starting today!
(*this advice is recommended as suggestions after receiving the all-clear from appropriate medical checks).
1) Get a good night’s sleep
It’s a common perception that five or six hours’ sleep (often broken for those of you with younger kids) is enough… it’s not.
It’s true that everyone’s different and some people need more sleep than others; it’s also true that when you’re not getting enough rest, you learn to cope. But, over time, this lack of sleep builds up and leaves your body feeling permanently drained.
When you’re asleep, your body uses that time to repair and regenerate which leads to your body functioning at optimum performance which makes a noticeable difference to your energy.
If you struggle with getting a quality night’s sleep, get more information here.
2) Learn to relax
Apart from sleeping, it’s important that you learn how to relax during your waking hours too. We live in a 24/7 culture, and most people have access to work emails, and the rest of the outside world, on their phone which means they never fully switch off. And that’s an energy zapper right there!
Allocate a specific time each day dedicated to quietening your mind. Watch a movie, meditate, read a book, do some Yoga or just hang out with your family. These are all activities which don’t take much brain power and contribute to a more relaxed you.
3) Move your body
If it feels like the thought of exercise will make you even more tired, that’s probably the time you need it the most!
Exercise is the key to the door as far as energy levels are concerned, so it’s important that you move at least once a day within your bodies capabilities. Whether this is a gym session, a swim in the ocean, a yoga session or a walk around the block; movement increases energy! It improves blood flow; it increases the production of energy-releasing hormones and it improves your metabolism. All of which will leave you feeling more energised.
Learn more about what happens to your body when you don’t exercise here.
4) Ditch the sugar
When you’re struggling through the afternoon, it can be tempting to reach for the sugary doughnut or biscuit to get you through. Avoid!! While this will keep you going for a few minutes; it’s a short-term pick-me-up and a guarantee that your body will come crashing down at a great rate of knots.
Fill your body with natural, whole food ingredients to maintain more natural energy levels. Try these tips if you’re struggling to curb the sugar cravings.
5) Eat a balanced diet
You need protein, you need fibre, you need calcium, you need carbohydrates (depending on your activity levels), you need good fats; your body needs all of this, and more, for FUEL!
Correct again – everyone is different, but if you’re not eating a balanced diet filled with fruit, vegetables and whole foods, there could be a glaring gap in your nutritional intake which is making you tired. Keep a food diary and ask a nutritionist or a qualified professional to take a look to make sure you’re not missing anything obvious in your diet.
Want to know how the experts eat? Click here to view a food diary of a Nutritionist & Naturopath here.
6) Have your blood tested for nutrient deficiencies
When your body becomes deficient in one or more essential nutrients, it can become tired, sluggish and no longer functions at its best.
Lack of energy is a key symptom of many nutritional deficiencies which aren’t related to your diet and can be detected by a simple blood test at your local medical centre.
7) Take a nap
Sometimes you need to listen to your body. If you’ve been feeling tired for a while, you could be coming down with a bug or virus which is making it hard to function. In this instance the only thing to do is respond to what your body is asking and, if it’s convenient; take a nap.
While this might be difficult to squeeze into your work day; it might just be all you need to feel better! We spoke to the Sleep Doctor recently who shared his thoughts about all things sleep here.
8) Eat regular healthy meals
Even if your diet is balanced, if you’re not eating at the right times of the day you will still feel the adverse effects.
Missing breakfast, leaving too much time between meals or eating meals that are heavy in processed carbohydrates will leave your body lethargic and sluggish. Eat nourishing whole foods incorporating protein, fat and healthy carbs to give your body a constant stream of the energy it needs.
9) Reduce stress
Stress puts pressure on every area of your body, and the effects are both mentally and physically exhausting! There isn’t always an immediate solution to remove the cause of stress, but there are ways you can manage your responses to stress. Check out our articles on how to look after yourself when you’re stressed here.
10) Drink more water
Dehydration can leave your body feeling fatigued and drained. While two to three litres of water a day is recommended as a healthy intake, everyone is different. You can tell if you have enough water in your body when you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is clear in colour.
I can’t put enough emphasis on the fact that medical checks should be the first port of call if you’re suffering with continually low energy levels. If you’ve received the all-clear from the doctor then try and implement one, or even all, of the above steps to improve your energy levels; and the quality of your life, starting today!