Our bodies need five things to survive:
If we're constantly feeling tired or fatigued, then chances are, our bodies are telling us they need one of these five things. Understanding this basic principal can transform the way we respond to low energy. So what are some quick wins that can bring us vitality? Here are some hacks that work best for my clients, many of whom are busy women. But these tricks work for men, too!
1. Drink water soon after you wake up.
Hydrating as soon as we wake up stimulates our digestion and provides much-needed water for our cells. Aim for about one liter immediately upon waking (add some lemon juice if you like) and notice the difference in energy throughout your day.
2. Take 10 full, deep breaths.
Taking short 5-minute rests where we close our eyes and shut out the world can help us reduce stress. Plus, taking a few deep breaths gives the brain more oxygen and activates the relaxation response.
Schedule two brief breaks during the day. Simply lie down or find a quiet place to sit, close the eyes and breathe deeply. Many of us choose to breathe from our chests in short, shallow breaths that, over time, decrease our overall functioning and can increase our stress levels.
3. Eat plants and protein.
Managing blood sugar fluctuations through diet is the best way to minimize energy highs and lows. As busy people, we often find it hard to prepare nutritious meals, which makes it easy to reach for sugary or salty snacks (which are high GI and promote a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash). Eating clean protein and plants with every meal can drastically increase our energy levels and improve our micronutrient intake, leading to a healthier and more energized body in the long term.
Simply going for a brisk walk can promote cardiovascular health, improve respiration, and promote healthy muscles. Try dancing, walking, shaking the body, walking around the office, cleaning or simply running to the car from the supermarket for an instant energy fix.
5. Ditch the caffeine.
Caffeine is a short-term solution for fatigue that can lead us down a very dangerous path toward adrenal fatigue and terrible sleep. If our bodies are so tired that they're screaming for help, goading them into co-operation through beverages will only be a short-term measure at best. Start to choose decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas, or vegetable juices instead so you can assess what your bodies really needs and then provide accordingly. (Most likely it's rest, movement, food, water, or oxygen.) Enjoy coffee as a treat, not as a band-aid solution to a bigger issue.
Tight muscles and connective tissue (fascia) can make us feel stiff, unenergized and unmotivated. Stretching is a quick way to immediately invite energy into our bodies. Try five minutes a day of stretching or self massage for an instant health kick.
7. Think about something wonderful.
When we're tired, we reinforce it by telling ourselves (and others) how exhausted we are or how much we need coffee. These disempowering voices can make us feel 10 times worse. Remember: the body and mind connected. Rather than responding to a yawn with a despondent narrative, think about something truly wonderful and feel the energy return.
8. Sit up.
Choosing our posture can determine our mindset and our energy levels. Many of us mistake fatigue for needing to rest when in fact we need to move. Sit up straighter or stand for 20 minutes and feel the difference in energy levels.
9. Phone a friend.
Human connection is instantly energizing. Even though we may not think we have time to phone a friend or connect with another human, we always do. We do not crave energy-sucking activities like staring at our phones. Actual human connection is what we crave. Love is what we need.
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