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There are days that everything I do seems to require all of my energy. I feel drained and exhausted, ready to curl up in bed. It can be harder to concentrate on tasks, which can eventually leave me feeling frustrated. Does anyone else feel that way?
There are many things that can sap our energy so it’s important to pay attention to what makes you feel tired and out of sorts. One of the things that can cause my energy to plummet is eating lots of sugar, which can, in turn, lead to a sugar crash that leaves me exhausted. Skimping on sleep can also leave me lethargic and make it harder to concentrate at work.
The good news
While the cure for days like that may seem to be just toughing it out, there are things you can do to increase your energy and turn your day around. Here is a quick list of six easy ways that I use that can help you boost your energy naturally right now.
Drink more water
You’ve heard this advice before but it bears repeating. Drinking more water will keep you chugging along at optimum levels. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and drained. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. One of the best ways to stay hydrated is to keep a large bottle of water at your desk.
A good way you can tell if you are getting enough water is to keep an eye on your urine output. If your urine is pale yellow, then you are getting enough water. If it’s dark, then you need to step up your hydration efforts.
Keep in mind that certain beverages such as coffee and soda can increase your dehydration levels since they act as diuretics. If you are drinking a cup of coffee, it’s a good rule of thumb to also have a glass of water. Your body will thank you.
Take a walk
Get up and moving for an instant energy booster. If you hit that mid-day slump, taking a quick walk around the block will get your blood moving and help you clear your mind. Sitting at your desk for hours on end can be a real drain on your energy. Endless meetings, frustrating phone calls and a mountain of email can leave you feeling tired and cranky.
Stepping out of the office allows you to disconnect for a moment from your long to-do list. Keep a pair of comfortable shoes stashed underneath your desk so you can quickly slip them on and head out the door. Focus on taking deep breaths and just feeling your feet hitting the ground as you walk. After a few minutes, you will feel your body relaxing as you quiet your racing mind so you can organize your thoughts.
A quick 10-15 minute walk should be enough to clear your mind and recharge your batteries so you can tackle the rest of your to-do list without feeling drained. Even if you are really busy, taking the time to disconnect for a few minutes will recharge your mental batteries and boost your energy so you can be more efficient.
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Add a fruit and veggie to your meal
We all know that we should be eating fruits and vegetable daily as part of a healthy diet. However, getting enough fruits and veggies in your day can be a challenge, especially if you do not like salads.
Fear not, there are some easy alternatives to help you get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables without much work on your part. One easy trick is to upgrade your meals by adding a serving of veggie and a fruit. What I like to do is to bring some snacking veggies such as a cup of baby carrots, grape tomatoes or sugar snap peas to eat before I start my lunch. You can bring some hummus to dip them. Consider this your meal appetizer.
After eating my lunch, I like to have fruit for dessert. Good options include cut up watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, and pineapple. Choose season-appropriate fruits and veggies for optimum nutrition. Just make sure that both the fruits and veggies are washed, cut up and ready to eat so you have no excuses not to eat them. Fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables give you a quick shot of energy-boosting vitamins and minerals.
If you are feeling that mid-afternoon slump, a smart snack with a good balance of protein, a little fat and fiber could help inject some energy into the rest of your day. The carbs will offer a quick surge of energy while the protein and fat will keep you going for the rest of the afternoon. Some good options include
If you are feeling that mid-afternoon slump, a smart snack with a good balance of protein, a little fat and fiber could help inject some energy into the rest of your day. The carbs will offer a quick surge of energy while the protein and fat will keep you going for the rest of the afternoon. Some good options include an apple with peanut butter, whole wheat crackers with cheese or plain Greek yogurt with strawberries.
Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar such as cake, donuts, and cupcakes. While they may create a temporary sugar high, coming down from that buzz will be quick and draining as your energy crashes for the next few hours. Eating foods high in sugar can leave you drained and lacking energy and have no real nutritional value.
Sitting in one spot for hours on end can make your muscles lock up and leave you fatigued. Staring at your screen without taking a break will zap your energy quickly, making it harder to concentrate. Take the time to move away from your desk and stretch.
Getting up and doing a few quick stretches can clear your mind and inject some energy into your day. Take this opportunity to walk to the break room and get some water or just walk over to talk to someone instead of just calling or emailing them. Just taking a few minutes to stretch your muscles will automatically give you a quick boost of energy.
Listen to some music
When you are working on a project that requires a lot of concentration, having some background music can help you relax and focus better. It can also help you pass the time and enjoy what you are working on without feeling drained at the end of the day.
Some good options for finding music you like are Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music. If your company allows you to stream music over the network, you can just hop online and stream directly through your computer on your earbuds. If that’s not an option, all three have apps you can download to your phone.
If you are looking for some radio options, the iHeartRadio app and SiriusXM are both great options for finding some great stations. Of course, you can also listen to your own library of music on your iPhone or iPod. Whatever gets you motivated and happy!
These are just some of the ways you can quickly upgrade your every day without much effort. It’s a great feeling to get through your work day and have yet more energy to go out at night or hang out with friends without feeling drained and mentally exhausted. Give these quick tips a try and see how your day improves.