‘Doubt is simply lack of energy. Doubt comes when the energy is low. When you are high in energy, where is the doubt?’ – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Asking whether we want more energy is probably a daft question! After all, who doesn’t? Most of us struggle sometimes. We might feel sluggish or as if we are on a ‘go slow’. We might want to get up and do something, but the thought wears us out! I heard a comment recently that flagging energy feels like you are a dimmer switch and you’ve been dialled down a bit (or a lot) to the point where we simply don’t feel like doing the things we want to do or we feel constantly tired. We don’t have to accept this though and I think this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt is an interesting one: ‘It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan’.
So here are a few simple suggestions to boost that flagging energy:
Drink more water
Not drinking enough water can make us feel tired and sluggish but we can’t always rely on feeling thirsty as, by the time that happens, we are more often than not already dehydrated. Also the older we are, the less we can rely on our thirst sensation which diminishes as we age. For an average adult, 2 litres is about the right amount to drink each day but it varies according to all sorts of things including age, the weather, activity levels, body size, and the environment we are in. If we’re feeling tired and lacking energy, the first thing to do is to drink a glass of water!
Watch sugar intake
It’s easy to overindulge in sugar when we are lacking in energy. Free sugars (i.e. sugar added to food or drink such as chocolate, cola, sweetened cereals, packaged bread, ready meals, cake, etc) give us an immediate energy burst but we very quickly crash and become tired and sluggish again. Artificial sweeteners contained in diet products or added to tea and coffee also lead to low energy very quickly. It’s hard to avoid sugar completely but we should try to limit our intake to no more than 30g per day. Natural sugars in fruit are a ‘healthy’ type of sugar but even they should be limited to some extent which is why the UK Government ‘5-a-day’ campaign only allows for one glass of fruit juice per day.
Find out how much sleep we need and make sure we get it!
On average, adults need between 7-9 hours per night to be fully rested. The easiest way to find out how much we need is to go to bed 8 hours before our alarm goes off for a week and then monitor how we feel when we wake up. If our alarm clock wakes us up every day, it’s a sure indicator that we need more sleep. On the other hand, if we consistently wake before our alarm, we are probably getting more than enough. The sweet spot is to wake up a few minutes before our alarm goes off so, once we’ve experimented, we can gradually adjust our bedtime until we hit it on a regular basis.
Get up and move!
One of the best ways to increase energy might seem counterproductive, but when we least feel like moving is the time to get up and move! It doesn’t have to be much but sitting for hours is not good for us or our energy levels. I wear a Fitbit and it prompts me every hour to make sure I do at least 250 steps. It doesn’t sound much, and it isn’t, but it’s amazing how often that reminder goes because I haven’t achieved it. Marching on the spot allows me to do those 250 steps in under 2 minutes – a tiny tweak for sure!
Of course, there are also plenty of dietary tips to increase energy, including ensuring we are consuming enough iron and that our meals are well balanced and include the four main food groups – complex carbs; lean protein; vegetables and fruits; and healthy fats. There are cookbooks available which help us to make sure we are eating for energy and, of course, thinking about what we put on our plate really helps.
So there are a few options for the tiny tweak this week but, for me, the focus is all about getting up and moving even, or especially, when that’s the last thing I feel like doing. Getting that step count up will really help or maybe I’ll be dancing around the kitchen to an upbeat track! Who knows?! I’ll keep you updated!
Until next time xx