The fatigue usually hits you like a ton of bricks. Your eyelids start to droop, and it gets more and more challenging to stay focused.
That dreaded afternoon slump has kicked in, and you have a ton more work to do. You start daydreaming about moving to Spain, where the afternoon siesta is commonplace.
Rubbing your eyes, you snap out of it. You must meet this deadline! A nap will have to wait because time refuses to. So you walk over to Starbucks and get yourself a venti coffee and a chocolate chip cookie. This will have to do instead.
This was my life for years. I didn’t want to suffer with exhaustion, but I knew the quick fixes were keeping my excess weight on, so I started to make some changes in my life. Before I could change my diet, I needed to change my habits. Listed below are the seven elements I discovered are crucial for fabulously consistent energy levels.
The ancient Chinese described our lungs as “the receiver of pure qi [energy] from the heavens.”
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “On average, Americans spend about 90 percent or more of their time indoors,” yet indoor pollution is typically two to five times higher than outdoor pollution.
Indoor pollutants can affect us immediately in the form of an allergic reaction as soon as we enter a room or can affect us after years of exposure. Fatigue can be one effect of long-term exposure to indoor pollution, according to the EPA.
So get out and get more fresh air. It will do you good—your body, mind, and energy levels.
Our muscles are made up of 70 percent water, and our brain is made up of 75 percent water. In order to keep our minds sharp and our muscles pain free and agile, we must be sufficiently hydrated throughout the day.
It is easy to get dehydrated when we do not drink enough water because we lose about two cups of water per day just from breathing alone, according to Chris D. Meletis, N.D., in his article “Dehydration—An Imbalance of Water and Minerals.”
Not only do we lose water throughout the day (from breathing, sweating, using the bathroom), but we also lose vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are important for major organ function.
Water also helps flush out toxins from our cells. Toxins make us feel very ill and tired if we don’t sufficiently cleaning them out.
So go ahead and drink up! Drink a cup before you eat and sip a cup during meals so you continually rehydrate yourself.
People often feel too tired to exercise, but after a good workout, you’ll always walk away feeling more energetic.
If you are tired from sitting behind a computer all day, the movement will get rid of your stagnated energy. Important mood- and energy-affecting hormones (like insulin and endorphins) will get processed better or released, and the fatigue you feel from thinking and reading all day will disperse into relaxation and revitalization.
If you are tired from manual labor, exercise will still help. Instead of focusing on complicated movements, focus on alignment, working the underworked muscles, deep breathing, and stretching. You will inevitably experience the fatigue falling off your bones.
Do you spend your days taking care of others, working hard, and focusing on tasks, leaving no room for fun? Do you lack people to love and care for? Do you lack quality time with your spouse, relatives, or friends?
Not having enough joy, contact, and love in your life can really take a toll on your health and energy levels.
To spruce up this aspect of your life, make time to go on quality dates with your spouse, cuddle with your kids, go to tea with your friends, and engage in hobbies you love.
If you don’t have a spouse or kids, find more human contact by getting a massage, joining a book club, or engaging in some other kinds of events where you build a bigger community for yourself and have more connection with the world.
Ever notice how you feel groggier after eight hours of sleep that started at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. than you do after eight hours of sleep that started at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.?
The Chinese noticed this too, thousands of years ago. They discovered that not only do we need a certain amount of sleep, but we also need to sleep during certain hours because that is when our body functions naturally rejuvenate themselves.
Modern sleep studies have discovered that our body releases hormones to keep us on schedule with the sunrise and sunset. However, when we use artificial lights and stay up late, we add extra stress to our body by demanding it keep us going when it needs rest.
Stress will definitely deplete your body of energy, so get in bed by 10 p.m., sleep by 11 p.m., and wake up between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Stress can come from worries about money, work, and relationships and from a lack of confidence. When we are under stress, we spend most of our time worrying, overthinking, or overworking. Not allowing our body and mind to relax will age us, draining our vital energy.
Replenish yourself by quieting your mind on a daily basis. If you are consistent and really able to calm your mind, you may start to find that things that stressed you out before no longer affect you.
Start by incorporating as simple mindfulness meditation into your day. Find a quite place to sit. You may want to light a candle or some incense to help create a tranquil mood.
Sit with good posture so that your breathing is not constricted. Cross your legs if you are sitting on the floor or a pillow, or rest your feet flat on the floor if you are sitting on a chair.
Close your eyes and start to quiet your mind by focusing on your breath. Inhale slowly, exhale slowly.
Notice how the breath feels as it travels through your nose and into your lungs and how it feels as it travels out.
Try doing this for five to ten minutes. You can also bring your awareness to your other senses: Notice what you hear around you, what you feel touching your skin, what your body feels like as it rests and breathes.
Focusing your thoughts requires quieting your mind. The more you are able to become quiet internally, the more refreshed and energized you will start to feel. If your mind is never quiet, you are in a state of constant distraction, which can make you feel weary in all aspects of your life.
Repression is a huge energy zapper. So many of us use technology, food, cigarettes, alcohol, and even work to stay out of touch with what’s really happening within us.
Rather than ignoring or repressing feelings that are uncomfortable, face them. Stare your pain straight in the eye and tell it, OK, you are there, living in me and I am ready to listen.
Once we know the root of our “pain” and release the emotions that come up around it, we can bring ourselves back to a more rational state of mind and deal with whatever the real issues are with maturity and stability.
When we stop running away from our pain, it will feel less significant and much more manageable.
Life can feel long and weary if we do not connect with something greater then ourselves. Many people feel more balanced (and energized) when they connect with a faith or higher purpose.
We each have our own path to follow. Start small if spirituality seems overwhelming to you. You can learn meditation with a group, read spiritual teachings that speak to you, or seek out a teacher. One powerful practice that is also free is Falun Dafa.
Try taking the first steps down a spiritual path and you may be amazed by how fatigue, stress, and unhappiness can be lifted within a matter of minutes when you connect to spirit.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavendermamas.com.