Written by Kristen Bell
- Sugar – Avoid it at all costs. If you can’t seem to resist that sugar craving, combine them with fiber and a few ounces of protein to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Most fruits naturally have both the sweetness and the fiber – which would be a better alternative when having a sweet craving. The next time you have a candy bar or can of soda, watch for the subsequent energy dip that occurs within 30-60 minutes. Be prepared to nap because that’s what you will feel like doing.
- Caffeine I’m sorry, but caffeine is the big lie. Don’t hate me. It’s simply the laws of physics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Caffeine follows this law. Initially you will see a kick of energy from caffeine, but everyone pays the price later in terms of tiredness, insomnia, or irritability. This is obviously a personal choice, but there are many, including myself, who have improved their life by eliminating or decreasing their caffeine intake. If you feel you just can’t give it up, start with cutting the coffee with ½ decaf and wean yourself from there.
- Processed Foods – These foods have so many ingredients, chemicals and preservatives. You can only imagine how they can bog us down over time when our body struggles to fully be able to break them down, lining our intestines and preventing our body to absorb the rich nutrients that we need in whole, organic foods. Our bodies weren’t meant to have these types of foods in our system, but due to the excess of these items in the American diet, they are all around us and challenging to avoid. The more live foods you eat like fruits and vegetables, the more alive you will feel. Seek to eat healthy foods: fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and good fats such as found in salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, and olive oil.
- Dehydration This is an often overlooked cause of fatigue. When you don’t get enough water, blood flow to your organs, including your brain, is slowed down making you tired. At a minimum, be sure to at least drink enough water to replace what you lose through your daily activities. It is also important to note that caffeinated drinks will make your body shed water so you may need to drink more if you drink a lot of caffeine. I always suggest a good number to go by is drink 1 oz of water for every kilogram body weight (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2).
- Lack of Exercise If you don’t use it, you lose it. Your muscles store and therefore provide energy. Exercise gives you energy especially if you do it on a regular basis. Shoot for a minimum of 20-30 minutes every day to improve your energy levels. Another simple thing you can do is take a 5 minute break every hour to get up from your work to stretch and walk around a bit. So if you’re feeling lethargic, get your blood pumping by moving your body. If you’re feeling exhausted on a particular day, see #1 and get some rest instead.
- Not Enough Oxygen: Many of us have shallow breathing most of the time. When we do that we’re not getting enough oxygen which is the element we need to burn fuel inside our bodies for energy. Deep breathing will serve another important purpose and that is moving fluids through the lymph system. Your lymph system eliminates toxins which in turn frees your body to work on more important things like your goals! What to do: 2-3 times a day take 5 minutes to do 10 slow long deep breaths. Breath in slowly, hold, and then release slowly too. You’ll be amazed how good this makes you feel! Ever done a yoga class? Now you see why they emphasize breathing so much!
- Stress: Life is stressful by definition, but for many of us, we make it worse by overfilling our schedules. Instead, stop trying to do it all. Figure out what is most important to you. Cut out the rest. Trim your schedule. Learn to say no. And try meditation. By simply meditating once or twice a day for 10-20 minutes will make a huge difference in your stress levels. If you’re tired in the middle of the day a “meditation nap” is a great way to rejuvenate your energy. Another thing to elevate your happiness and decrease stress is to practice gratitude and be mindful of keeping your internal voice focused on the glass being half full.