Do you often feel that midday energy slump? Is that your new normal? Do you believe it’s possible to have stable energy all day long?
One of the best indicators that you’re having a great day is the feeling that your energy is high, steady, and that overall you feel good and can enjoy accomplishing the tasks you’d like to do.
Maybe it’s that you bounced out of bed that morning, or sang in the shower. It could be that you didn’t need that extra cup of coffee at 3pm, or that you were able to sustain a solid conversation or play games with the kids after dinner.
Now, how often do you have that feeling? Or more importantly, do you remember the last time you felt that way? It’s normal to have periods of time where life gets so busy that our energy has to be directed into specific tasks, or that we might be overtaxed and tired as a result. But if you’ve been feeling lackluster, or low energy for a long period of time and can’t seem to get out of that funk, it could be time to address your energy levels more proactively. Try exploring these tried and true methods of protecting and bolstering your energy levels.
Breathe for Energy
While it is a common reaction to stress, shallow breathing prevents the body from receiving enough oxygen and, in a short period of time, depletes the body of energy. Often, we don’t even notice that our breathing has become quick or shallow until we’re already anxious and exhausted. The trick is to be proactive and mindful about your breathing every day so that you can recognize and respond appropriately when you need to. But truthfully being mindful about your breath is a great idea in theory but just doesn’t happen unless you have a routine breath work practice.
Two powerful and simple breathing technique I recommend are:
The Box Breath – Sit down with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes, relax your tongue, jaw, teeth and brain, yes your brain, relax your brain. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a soft sighing sound. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of five. Hold your breath for a count of five, and then exhale through your mouth for a count of five, then hold the breath out for a count of 5. Repeat for a total of four breaths or more. Make this a daily practice.
Breath of Fire – Begin as above in a seated posture. Relax into the present moment. Feel your brain relax. To learn this breath pant like a dog with your mouth open, pumping your navel point. Then close your mouth and continue to breathe equal inhales and exhales through the nose as you pump the navel. Do this for 3 or more minutes. As you develop these practices you will feel yourself truly enjoying it and feeling refreshed and clear upon completion and then you won’t give up the practice for anything!
Short High Intensity Exercise
Ideally about a half hour of exercise, three times a week can help you increase your energy and motivation. And some of the best kinds of activity for revving up your energy come in short bursts of high intensity movement. Whether you choose to take a HIIT or Tabata class that focuses on interspersing bursts of cardio and strength training, or you decide to get outside on your lunch break for a brisk walk, swinging your arms and moving vigorously, or a kundalini yoga kriya, those bursts of exertion will help you rev up your engine and keep you going for the rest of the day. Extra points if these activities happen outside, where you get the additional energy boosting effects of being in nature and getting healthy doses of sunshine!
Think of it this way: your body is about 60% water so if you’re dehydrated your body won’t be able to function as well as it should – and it will tell you so. Headaches, lethargy, dry mouth, irritability, these are all signs that you need to hydrate. When your body is hydrated, your blood can more easily carry oxygen and nutrients to where they need to be and that results in a lift of energy!
Increase Your B12
B-vitamins are also known as the ‘happy vitamins’ for their ability to convert dietary nutrients into chemicals that the body can use for energy. While the body needs a few different varieties of B vitamins, one that is especially tied to good energy is vitamin B12. Exhaustion, pallor, feeling low and tired can all indicate low levels of vitamin B12 in the body. B12 is primarily found in animal-based foods like meat, dairy, and eggs, but is also available in much smaller amounts in plant foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, and mushrooms, so be sure that you’re eating a diet rich in this wide variety of fresh foods! For those with severe B12 deficiency, vitamin B12 injections could be helpful because they deliver the vitamin into the muscle tissue and bypass the digestive system which, if compromised, may not absorb the nutrient effectively. The problem with B12 is that serum B12 is not a good indicator of cellular B12. So if your doctor says your B12 is sufficient you can still have a B12 deficiency if they aren’t looking at a marker called methylmalonic acid (MMA) which is an indicator of cellular B12 levels. To boot B12 deficiencies are often related to poor digestive health which can also lead to low energy. Why? Because if you can’t digest and absorb nutrients you can’t run the biological pathways that help you produce energy.
Increase Blood Oxygen
Bet you didn’t realize that all of the previous four suggestions have one thing in common! They all positively affect your energy by pumping more oxygen into your bloodstream and your brain. Well-oxygenated blood is better able to carry nutrients, can eliminate toxins efficiently, help us think more clearly, and can greatly diminish fatigue and exhaustion. Want another way to help your body get the oxygen it needs? Add fresh greenery to your home and office. Plants feed off of the carbon dioxide we exhale, and replace it with fresh oxygen in the air. So, while you’re taking time to smell the flowers, take some time to sniff the plants as well. You just might find you’re breathing easier and feeling more lively too!
Maintaining healthy energy levels can be challenging when faced with the stresses of everyday life, but these tips can help you rev up your engine and keep you humming a happy tune all day long. If you still find that your energy levels seem lower than usual, or you are having difficulty sustaining your energy levels over time, you may need a closer look at what is going on and we want to be there to help. Book an appointment to visit me and let’s help you get back to your energetic self.