Throughout the day I hear a wave of complaints: I’m so tired/thirsty/hungry/hot/cold…Seems to me people can easily fix most of those problems, but today I’m going to address the most annoying one of all: Fatigue. I cannot believe how “tired” everyone is on a regular basis. Here are a few ways you can bump up your energy levels and make each day more engaging.
1. Eat Breakfast: Sure we all hear this little piece of gold advice everywhere, so why do so many people keep skipping it? These are the excuses people often give: I overslept/didn’t have time, I’m not hungry in the morning, I’m watching my weight…the list goes on. Before you go to sleep at night, pack your bag, set out your clothes, and make sure you’re completely prepared for the day ahead. Also set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you think you need. That way if you struggle to get out of bed, or spend 5 extra minutes in the shower, it won’t ruin your day. You don’t need to check your email/facebook/twitter in the morning, that’s why we have smart phones! Updates are a perfect way to get through your morning commute on the train or your walk to the office.
The reason you may not be hungry in the morning is that you haven’t slept enough, or you’ve gotten your stomach in the bad habit of depriving itself in the morning hours. You don’t need to eat a huge meal, just enough to give you a bit of energy and to switch on your metabolism (which is a factor in helping you maintain your weight).
2. Morning fitness and “me” time: As often as I can, I do yoga or go for a run in the morning before work. This can mean waking up as early as 5:15am. When I take that time for myself in the morning, I feel the most awake throughout the day. I practice Ashtanga yoga in studio once a week, but I like to keep it up in the mornings at home. I give myself an extra half hour or so in the morning, and I’m usually able to make it through all of the standing poses.
Even if you get up early to read, to meditate, or just to enjoy a cup of tea, it’s important to breathe deeply and focus on yourself for a few minutes every morning. Give yourself a chance to wake up in a quiet thoughtful setting before running out into a hectic day.
3. Kick the Habit: So many people depend on coffee, soda and energy drinks to get through the day. Others rely on an afternoon nap. It is important to wean yourself off these things if you want to experience a more natural high.
I don’t begrudge anyone a cup of coffee in the morning, but forming an actual dependence is going to make you drowsy and give you headaches on those mornings when you don’t make it to the café before work. Just drink water and get some vitamin C in your system. Maybe instead of having three large coffees a day, switch to smalls. Then maybe cut down to two a day. Whenever you’re kicking a habit, just take it slow and give your body plenty of time to adjust. Similarly, avoiding the nap trap is important. Don’t take 90 minutes every afternoon. Get a 20 minute power nap in if you really need it. You’ll wake up refreshed, rather than tired and dizzy.
4. Consider the two-day rule: Studies show that poor sleep can affect us two days later. So if you are up all night on Saturday, chances are you’ll feel awful come Monday. Recovery time from a bad night’s sleep can be significant, and naps often don’t help. Nighttime sleep is really the only cure. If you have a big presentation on Thursday, make sure that you get plenty of sleep on both Tuesday AND Wednesday.
5. Get to Bed Before Midnight: Some people say we get our best and most effective sleep before midnight. Others say optimal sleep happens between around 10pm and 6am. In my experience, most people seem to get up for work somewhere between 6:00 and 7:30am. In order to get the solid 7-8 hours, it makes sense to go to bed before midnight. Even for those who claim to “not need that much sleep” at least you’ll be awake and alert and READY to jump out of bed when it’s time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of 5 ways. Until next time, GET SOME FREAKIN’ SLEEP!