Energy: How do I get it back?
As the clock changes and we wake an hour earlier, questions of energy may arise. How do we get up earlier, harness the energy of spring, whip our bodies and minds into shape for a summer of ease and delight?
Energy is something many of us crave.
Surrounded by light and devices that illuminate with energy, our minds aware of a myriad of possibilities based on internet searches and increased global awareness, we have so many options and so many opportunities, and then, yet, we find our energy is low.
Burnout is a lapse in our energy.
Burnout is increasing in many professions, from health care professionals to business men with cognitive dulling, to healing practitioners, and more. The point of the day to day work hours and the energy and enthusiasm for a life well lived can get dulled and gray.
So, how do we restore?
Approaches listed below.
In point form!
For easy access for your tired mind.
What do you take in?
- simple food
- deep sleep
- honest emotions
- fresh oxygen
Water. We are composed of mainly water. Studies show that people who drink enough water have more stable moods throughout the day. Water can lead to weight loss. Water decreases obnoxious sweat smells. Water supports your kidneys. Water means a pause in your day to think about your body and your health. Guides state that 2 litres to 3 litres a day are best - Elle MacPherson drinks 3 litres a day. Easy tip: fill a 2 litre bottle of water up at the beginning of your day. Make sure you finish it by the end of the day, preferably 3 hours prior to going to sleep so that you don't have to wake during the night to attend the bathroom. Where possible drink filtered water or mineralized water. For fun, as pictured in my Froth Water above, blend 750 ml of water with 8 frozen raspberries, five frozen pieces of mango, and a little lemon and stevia or honey. The result is frothy, delicious, and healthy: and perhaps a but more exciting than plain water.
Simple Food. If you eat food that sends your blood sugar way up and then crashes your blood sugar way down, you are in for an exhausting ride. Learn more about the glycemic index, and choose wisely. Avoid processed sugar. Avoid high glycemic index foods. Avoid flours and starches that basically turn to instant sugar in your blood. The high glycemic index food basically tells your pancreas to hike up the production of insulin, and this tells your body to take the sugar out of the blood (and therefore away from the brain) and put it into fat or muscle. So choose the low glycemic foods that keep a nice long steady stream of blood sugar to boost your brain and keep your mind clear. Focus on fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins. Take a break from starches and grains. Mix raw food with cooked food. Treat yourself.
Deep Sleep. Take in some super deep and rewarding sleep. Try intense exercise early in the day, especially outside if possible. Surf if you can. Before you go to bed, put the day to rest by reviewing the left over "to-do"s" and then benching them for the night. Use a guided meditation to relax you and set you into the Daydream Mind rhythm. Listen to comforting music. Stretch and do some yoga. Use the bed for sleep only. Take a warm bath or shower with some beautiful aromatherapy. When you sleep deeply, you recharge your neurons and your body heals. This will boost your energy for the next day, and your thinking power.
Honest Emotions. Take a moment at the end of your day to sit somewhere that you feel is beautiful. Gaze at a painting, a natural scene, or close your eyes. Feel the level of energy in your body. feel the type of energy. Feel if you are wound up. Feel if any strong emotions are present. Review the day, and the emotions of the day. Accept them, one by one, like a guest that has come to sit with you and have tea for a moment or two. Then, ask them what they have taught you, and bid them good bye, with respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Notice inside of you a small bit of light and love. Allow this healthy emotion and feeling to grow and glow. Take this vibration into your yoga class, your gym time, your run after work, your family time.
Mantra. Pick a simply sentence, such as "I create wealth with ease." Or, "My work is effortless and easy". Find a sentence that feels magnetic and appealing to you. Use this sentence, or mantra, at the beginning of every day. Take it in to your heart, your mind, the centre of you, to the layer of your cells of your body, the atoms of your form.
Supplements. Certain supplements can support energy. You do need to be careful so as to not be reliant on them long term, or develop a way of living that requires these supplements for you to keep going so that you are operating with false energy. Some research is starting to show that green tea, turmeric, and green bean coffee extract can boost your energy by supporting your mitochondria and brain function. Consider trying these and seeing how that works for you. To reduce stress, Holy Basil, Rhodiola, and Theanine, can be of benefit. For supplements, the best approach is to consult a relevant health care practitioner, such as a naturopath or functional medicine doctor. IV Therapy is gaining in popularity, and this is another route that you may be curious to investigate. Again, none of this is strict medical advice, simply a newer medicine approach that is emerging and may be of benefit.
Mindfulness. By calming the mind that has become busy through changes to brainwaves from devices like smart phones and computers, urban noise, distress in those around you, or other ways, mindfulness can bring calm to the waters of your thoughts again. Start with guided meditation if it is hard to sit still. Try a simple repetitive drawing of the mind back to the breath, over and over again, practicing bringing your attention to the breath. In this practice lies a beautiful shift for your body and health on many levels.
Breath. Breath out deeply to relax. Then slow and deepen the breath. By relaxing in the middle of whatever you are doing, you create the resilience to then launch forward into your next thing.
Fresh Oxygen. Get outside. Breathe deeply where the air is healthy. Urban lungs are darker than those of people living in more natural settings. You can clean your lungs by breathing deeply in natural settings, deep forests, the fresh air along a beach, or high on a mountain, or even simply a tree-lined street, or a home with air filtering plants or air filtering devices. Feed your mitochondria, the little storehouses of energy in your cells that need oxygen to operate.
How do you get through the day when tired?
We rely on stimulants like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and caffeine pills to make it through. Remember, however, to think of these as giving a temporary energy that could lead to feeling drained later.
What stimulant works best for you?
- black tea
- green tea
- yerba mate
This may be surprising, but different people do better with different kinds of stimulants. Coffee works well for some and can have beneficial health effects. Black tea can create a slower onset of energy but the energy lasts longer and stops less abruptly. Green tea can be quite effective. Yerba mate is said to reduce pain. Maca is thought to balance hormones. Explore these different options. Do remember that stimulants can decrease appetite, so you need to remember to eat regularly to not suddenly feel starving when the action of the stimulant wears off. Also, some can disrupt sleep, even many hours after you can consumed them. So watch how well you sleep, and choose one that works best for you.
Think of your day in parcels or chips of time.
- prepare the day before
- start early
- every 50 minutes daydream
- end of day debrief
- quality time
- mindful time
Prepare your key things the day before so that you don't need to think too much in the morning. Decision fatigue is a thing. So reduce the amount of decisions by preparing in advance. The earlier, the better.
Start early. When you get an edge on the day, you have pre-information and it's easier to "put out fires". When your brain is up and awake and online, your decision making power is sharper. Try doing something you love first thing in the morning so that you have given to yourself first. Then, enter the day with this little golden jewel of happiness inside you. Energy for your happiness vibe. A point of reference to refer back to as the day brings what it may.
Daydream every 50 minutes. Seriously. Stare off into space. Let the mind rest. Think of a beautiful beach somewhere. Or playing with your children. Or practicing your yoga or squash. A tennis game on a sunny day. Reading your highest interest book. Staring out on a lake from a cozy cabin. Snow falling. Daydream to recharge your brain - studies show this increases your problem solving power after the daydream, and if you skip this step, you lose decision making power.
Record. As you go through your day, take a moment every so often, every 2-3 hours, to record what you did with your time. On a little book. On a sheet of paper. In your smart phone. This not only makes invoicing easier, it helps your Type A mind notice that you actually are doing something.
At the end of the day, debrief yourself on what happened. As you take in those emotional imprints and then let them go, also summarize the day for yourself. Notice any insights. Notice what you most enjoyed. Think of how you might expand that. Notice what you found most difficult. Think on how you might surmount that. Then think of putting the day into a briefcase or envelope, to be opened tomorrow morning.
Quality time. What gives you the best quality time with your loved ones, with yourself? Answer this question and you have solid gold. As the Harvard study shows, quality of relationships are key to long lasting happiness. If you are busy, especially as a North American as North Americans tend to work most hours of their lives, then be sure to identify what equals quality time for you and your loved ones. Do this. Enjoy this. Be present for this.
And speaking of being present, mindfulness will calm the waters of the mind, so that you can see clearly, and navigate your time with ease.
Last but not least, the breathe out at the end of the day.
- deep exhale
- flutter lips
- lion's breath
- yin yoga
- walk outside
When you exhale deeply, you turn on your relax system, the parasympathetic nervous system. After you close down your work for the day, take a moment to exhale.
You can expand the exhale by fluttering your lips, letting them move quickly against each other like a child does. Some people like to actually take a moment to shake the day off. It can make you feel silly, playful, and re-energize. Our fascia, the tiny tubules of silken white lining that create our shape, can hold tension in different areas and shaking this up or stretching it can create a feeling of flexibility and options and playfulness again after a tense day. Lion's breath is a breath sticking the tongue out that is yoga is thought to get rid of frustration and anger and liver congestion. It doesn't have any bas side effects that I know of!
Yin yoga is a beautiful way to release the day. Either a class in person, and online class, or a guided audio tape can let you return to feeling your body, your humanness on planet earth, the you that exists beyond any roles or responsibilities.
Cardio, a walk outside, music, are other tools that can release tension from the day, and give you that "breath out" to relax, create resilience, and restore your beautiful inherent gorgeous well-intentioned and powerful energy. So that you can go back into the day and make the world a better place, or at least your self in that world!
There are increasingly more and more studies of the benefits of surrounding yourself in nature, especially wild nature. There is a recharge there. The photo at the beginning of this post is a photo of the brilliant spa on water's edge in Tofino, BC, Canada. Wilderness retreats take you away, give you tonnes of amazing oxygen and deep sleeps, and can restore you deeply. They are worhtwhile considering for a serious immersion in the reminder of jsut how small we are, how wondrous the world and nature is, and how magical life can be. Consider it!
With so much enthusiasm for your resilience, and your restore,