It’s a weird year to say the least. We can all agree on that. 2020 has been one long day and 10 years at the same time. It’s okay if you don’t feel your best at the moment, the whole lot of uncertainty, plus the endless hours at home can take their toll and leave us completely energy depleted. Here are 9 tips to reclaim it back by establishing positive daily habits.
1. Manage your stress levels
Stress is almost an elusive term, the cause for all sorts of disturbances in your health and wellness. It’s your body’s natural survival mechanism, the “fight or flight” response to intense situations. It’s a normal part of life and it is not necessarily a bad thing. But because it is so difficult to pinpoint the moment when it starts to negatively impact your body and mind, it can easily be ignored and leave you physically and mentally exhausted.
Being proactive with managing your stress levels is critical. Finding a variety of ways to deal with it is the key to health and wellness. How you’ll manage it is pretty individual - it requires uncovering the things that stress you out, developing coping mechanisms and a solid dose of self-care [insert link]
2. Move your body
Establishing an exercise routine is a vital part of keeping your energy levels up. The release of endorphins can also lower your stress levels.
The great thing is that it doesn’t really matter what type of exercise you do -you can create your own recipe depending on your wellness goals, time and abilities. Things like yoga, tai chi and pilates increase the “calm energy” while high intensity interval training and lifting weights get you pumped up for the day. Even a simple walk or a bike ride will work. The most important thing is to do something you enjoy, or otherwise it will add up to your stress levels.
3. Make sure you’re sleeping enough
The global pandemic has certainly had an effect on the quality of our sleep. Nearly two thirds of the UK population reported sleeping more but waking up more tired. The quality of sleep is impacted by many factors: stress (as we said it’s the common enemy of all wellness areas), anxiety, blue light and even things like room temperature and the food you ate for dinner.
Humans are creatures of routine, your body systems thrive on it. So the best way to improve your sleep quickly, is to establish a routine. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same times, don’t look at your phone for an hour before, avoid caffeine and other stimulating substances for a few hours before and never work in your bed. It’s a good idea to do something relaxing before, like reading a book or meditating.
4. Fill your body up with nourishing food
We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” . It contributes not only to your overall health but your energy levels. If you are feeling exhausted not long after you’ve eaten, blood sugar crash might be the reason. The term refers to the sudden drop in energy levels after consuming a large amount of carbohydrates. Eating a low-carb diet will help you get off the insulin rollercoaster - think veggies, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
5. Spend time in nature
One of the biggest impacts of the global pandemic that are still yet to be evaluated is how spending so much time inside has affected our health in the short and long term.
A series of studies, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that spending time in nature makes you more alive. Richard Ryan, the lead researcher and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester said “Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature”.
But don’t worry if you live in a big city and don’t have easy access to nature, even spending time outside in the sun will give you a greater vitality.
6. Avoid burnout
Burnout is often the result of our always on culture, glamorising hustle and running multiple projects up to the brink of exhaustion. The busier you are, the cooler you are. According to social media.
Last year, the World Health Organisation recognised it as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ - long before much of the world started working from home, when the line between professional and personal time started to fade even faster. That constant grind can deplete your energy to a point at which you are no longer able to complete even the smallest task. That’s what a burnout is. It’s a state of not only physical but also emotional and mental exhaustion, leaving you completely overwhelmed and drained.
To avoid it, it’s important to learn to find balance in your life.
- Pay attention to how your mind and body are responding (mindfulness!). If you know the warning symptoms specific to you, you have more chance of nipping it in the bud.
- How you start the day is really important. When you wake up, before you reach out into your day, check in. Ease into the day, do something you find enjoyable before you get into the whirlwind of the daily grind.
- Practice gratitude - Every day, remind yourself what you’ve achieved, rather than what you haven’t.
- Make sure you switch off in the evening. Don’t make your work your whole life for prolonged periods of time. Go for a walk, cook yourself a meal from scratch, meet friends and family (in the real world or in the virtual one), watch a movie, clean the house - whatever makes your soul calm.
7. Lower your caffeine intake
We won’t judge you at all if coffee is your non-negotiable part of the morning. We are all about improving our lives with small, enjoyable steps, rather than big stressful deprivation. So, no, we won’t tell you to stop drinking coffee.
But in the long run, too much caffeine can lead to addiction and provoque withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue and headaches. It is also severely dehydrating, which also impacts your energy levels.
If you’re feeling sluggish, try gradually reducing the amount of caffeine you’re consuming. Substitute your afternoon latte with a mushroom coffee or a green tea (also containing caffeine but in less amount). Don’t forget to drink plenty of water with your coffee to avoid dehydration. You know how cafes in Italy always serve a glass of water alongside your espresso? Do like the Italians, they invented coffee! (They didn’t actually, but contributed highly to the coffee culture as we know it today)
8. Try mindfulness
Your lack of energy can often be caused not by physical but mental exhaustion. Now more than ever - the constant influx of negative news contributes to our stress and anxiety. Your brain uses more energy than any other organ. When you practice mindfulness, you are giving it a well-deserved break and time to evaluate what happens in your body and identify which activities boost or drain your energy.
All mindfulness meditations can help increase energy levels by giving your mind a break and reduce the anxious thoughts and worry. It doesn’t have to be a breathing meditation either. Many people claim they can’t sit still and that stresses them out even more. If you’re one of them, try walking meditation or mindful eating. The key thing is to be present in the moment with the activity you’re doing, whether it’s concentrating on your breath, focusing on the feeling and taste of each bite you take or really see and experience the environment that surrounds you.