It’s hard to get out there and give it your all every day. If you’re feeling tired and unmotivated for about a week, don’t worry about it; that’s normal. Especially with age. But feeling down and out for longer than two weeks may be cause for concern, especially if other symptoms arise.
Energy isn’t all about age, though. For example, last weekend, my wife and I outlasted children and teenagers at the trampoline park, shocking the staff so much that they gave us unlimited jumping time. With that, let’s take a look at how lifestyle can boost energy and allow you to overcome fatigue.
Proper Pacing: Sometimes it’s easy to stack commitments on top of each other, leaving little left in the tank for later. Instead of going hard for an extended period of time, pace yourself by breaking up activities or commitments into chunks throughout the day. For example, as opposed to cramming five things into the day before lunch, consciously allocate your energy, or split up your battery, for morning tasks, afternoon commitments, and evening activities. Give yourself downtime and a meal to recharge between each.
Sneak in a Nap: If you have nowhere to be, you can recharge with a quick power nap. In some cultures, an afternoon nap is considered both normal and essential. Sneaking in some shuteye for about 20 to 30 minutes can leave you feeling energized for the rest of the day. Just make sure you don’t sleep for too long or nap too close to bedtime; it could make it harder to sleep through the night.
Get Regular Exercise: Getting regular exercise can help lessen overall fatigue. It can boost energy levels by releasing feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The catch is that to get these benefits you’ll need to exercise daily. Any kind of activity counts. Also, if you need a quick pick-me-up, a walk around the block can work just as well, or better. And if you want the most bang from your coffee, a quick nap directly after drinking it exploits a brain chemistry quirk that lets the caffeine work its best.
Eat Smart: Eating protein, “good” fats, and slow-digesting carbs can help avoid crashes and provide consistent energy throughout the day. Instead of snacking on a muffin or another refined carbohydrate-based item, have some Greek yogurt sprinkled with nuts and raisins. Also, try eating smaller meals more frequently. Your brain and body benefit from getting nutrients throughout the day, which provide energy. Further, skipping meals or eating only three big meals a day can have a negative impact on energy levels by promoting crashes.
[Editors note: Other research on intermittent fasting reveals different benefits to the practice of skipping meals occasionally. Like most diet and nutritional approaches, there are costs and benefits to different approaches.]
If you’re a little low on energy, give these tactics a try. They could be just what you need. Of course, if you have other symptoms and fatigue doesn’t subside in a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor. There could be something else behind it.
Mohan Garikiparithi received his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.