When I was in my twenties, I took my energy for granted. I had endless amounts of get-up-and-go, and I didn’t think twice about it. The only time my batteries would run low was when I partied too hard the night before.
Even then, I’d bounce back with relative ease. Pop a few Advil, chug some water and an epic black coffee, and I’d be good to go—ready for more troublemaking.
These days (20+ years later), I have to be super mindful about my energy. When I keep my energy tank full, I’m all set. My health thrives. My relationships thrive. My business thrives.
But if I let my energy tank run dry, it’s much harder to fill ‘er up. And when that happens, my spark dims and it’s difficult to put my best self forward.
A few years ago, I was totally spent and desperate to feel better. I read every article and book I could get my hands on about how to get my energy back, but most of the information was 10 steps ahead of where I was (subterranean). If I was going to bounce back, I didn’t need the next workout or superfood—I needed help with the pre-basics.
So, I started very simply. I took tiny, nano steps each day, and after a few months (to almost a year), I started to feel better. After a few years, I felt like a powerhouse again. I haven’t written much about that time, partly because I don’t always like sharing experiences I’m still processing, but I can tell you that I learned a ton about energy as a result of my situation.
Why Do We Get Fatigued?
Sometimes, lack of energy is a physical crisis—we need more sleep, better nutrition and so on. Other times, it’s an emotional or spiritual issue. Perhaps our actions are out of alignment with our natural rhythms and how we want to feel. When I go against my own grain and ignore my soul whispers, it’s only a matter of time before I feel drained and unmotivated (like, what’s the point?).
Maybe we’re being pulled in countless directions and feeling scattered and fried. In that case, we may just need to pull back and recharge. Or maybe it’s just plain unhappiness. If that’s the case, it might be time to take a good hard look at the situation or condition trampling our joy.
If you’re having a rough time with your energy, I highly recommend beginning with the basics. Also, be patient with yourself. Impatience and self-frustration drain our tanks like nothing else. Your body is trying to tell you something, so don’t shoot the messenger.
Easy Tips to Boost Energy
Whatever the cause, once we make the necessary changes (no matter how hard they may be), it can be surprising how easily the pep returns to our step. So, here are some easy and natural ways to boost your energy. I hope they help you. You deserve to feel tip-top!
1. Visit your doctor.
This step is especially important if you are having a hard time pinpointing the source of your fatigue. Getting a complete physical can help get to the root of the problem. Especially if it’s tied to a health condition such as anemia, sleep apnea, heart disease, or diabetes. In addition, keep in mind that some medications prescribed for medical conditions can also cause fatigue.
2, Listen to your body.
We tend to look outside ourselves for solutions. This time, try paying attention to the messages your body is sending you. Are you thirsty? Drink soothing teas. Do you feel tired? Rest when you need rest. Socialize only when you feel up for it and don’t force yourself into situations that you know will deplete you even more.
3. Engage in activities that bring you joy.
Feeling joy releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Chemicals that are heavily associated with happiness. Enjoying simple activities that you love is an easy way to boost your energy. Watch Kristen Wiig movies (hilarious), snuggle up with a great book, or hop on Skype with an old friend (if it’s too much to visit in person).
4. Reduce Stress.
Stress-induced emotions can zap huge amounts of energy. Techniques to reduce stress are myriad, but one of the simplest ways to help you relax in the moment is by taking a deep breath. Try the 4-7-8 breathing approach outlined below. This type of breathing calms your sympathetic nervous system (the one that fuels your stress response).
4-7-8 Breathing Technique
- Empty your lungs
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Purse your lips and exhale with a “whoosh” for 8 seconds
- Repeat up to 4 times
5. Get up and move.
While exercise is probably the last thing you want to do, even the tiniest bit of movement supports energy production at a cellular level. You don’t have to overdo it; I’m talking really gentle and restorative stuff like light yoga and stretching. The point is to engage in physical activity that wakes up your body, not traumatize it further. Then, engage in regular exercise to help keep your energy levels high.
6. Get. Enough. Sleep.
You don’t need science to tell you if you have poor sleep or a sleep disorder, you’re going to be tired (although research does back me up on this). Improving your sleep can go a long way to increasing your energy levels.
Try to establish good sleep habits. Tuck yourself in before 11 pm and try to get 7-8 hours of rest. If you can add a power nap to avoid the midday slump, that’s great, but limit it to 30 minutes or so to prevent staying up at night.
7. Incorporate Aromatherapy.
There are about 100 different essential oils that are associated with improving health and wellness. Several of these essential oils, especially spearmint and sweet orange, have been found by research to fight fatigue and boost energy. Others, such as rosemary and lemon are known to reliably boost mood and improve focus.
8. Enjoy a little caffeine.
A touch of caffeine can boost your energy as long as you don’t overdo it. Drink a cup of coffee, green or white tea, or sip kombucha. You can also enjoy a few squares of dark chocolate, which have a mild to moderate amount of caffeine—just what your body might need to rev its motors and get you through a depleting time.
9. Skip starchy carbs and eat regularly.
A balanced diet is best. Steer away from starchy carbs, like pretzels, breads and chips, which can actually drain you. Instead, snack on nuts, seeds, hummus, edamame beans and/or veggies, which don’t have the same sleepy effects of carbs.
Although this may be a no-brainer, skipping meals and overeating are complete energy zappers. Don’t forget to drink water too. Dehydration is another major contributor to low energy and a foggy mind.
10. Check your vitamin D levels.
Even the slightest drop in Vitamin D can zap your energy and make a tough time even harder. Ask your doctor to test your blood levels of Vitamin D at least once a year. You should be in the 40-80 range. If your levels are low, start taking a supplement. You should start feeling an energy boost in about 2 weeks.
11. Brighten up your day.
When you’ve been drained by sadness, stress and emotional challenges, getting more light may be one of the keys to boosting your energy bank. Sunlight actually boosts the oxygen in your bloodstream, which gives you more stamina and a definite energy boost. If you live at a latitude where sunlight isn’t as strong during part of the year, look into getting a light box to mimic sunlight in the off season.
12. Enjoy the Breeze.
Let your air circulate and keep it cool. Who doesn’t feel exhausted when you’re in a hot, stuffy room? Keeping your room cool and breezy helps you feel calm and comfortable. Crack a window in the winter for a touch of cool, fresh air and keep a fan running year-round.
Your Turn: What impacts your energy levels the most day-to-day? If you have any tips, please share them!
Peace & Pep!
You don’t have to do self-care solo, sweetie! Come try the support we offer in Inner Circle Wellness—my complete self-care solution with wellness coaching, healthy recipes, fun workouts, and more. If you want to stress less, move more, and feel better, it’s for you! Come see what the Inner Circle is all about.