This is a guest post by Kathleen Murphy.
Most of us live busy lives and, as a result, we often complain about not having enough energy. We’re always so tired! BUT, there’s a silver lining, you don’t have to feel this way. There are number of things you can do to fit into your daily routine that will naturally boost energy and leave you feeling significantly better.
Here are my top five tips to help you improve your energy, easily:
- Breathe it in
Of course, we breathe in and out constantly. All day. Every day.
However, the way in which we breathe has a huge impact on our health and energy. Many of us, without realising it, tend to take in short shallow breaths, particularly if we’re stressed, distracted or fatigued. When you breathe like this, your body goes into a mildly hypoxic (low oxygen) state, which can impair blood flow, mood and cognition, exacerbate inflammation, interfere with immune function… and many other unwanted health effects.
Do this: Practices such as yoga and meditation teach techniques that help you become more aware of your breath. There are also numerous apps available for download – such as Breathing Zone – that are designed to help you establish healthy breathing habits.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking adequate fluids, regularly, is incredibly important for health. It’s a known fact that when you don’t drink enough water you’re dehydrated. And when you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t work as well as it should and symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, and hunger are all exacerbated.
However, dehydration can easily be avoided, along with its associated side effects.
Do this: Sip on water or herbal tea regularly throughout the day – not just gulping a glass when you remember to – and aim for at least 1.5L in total; more on hot days, if you’ve been sick or if you’re exercising. Also, remember that fluid doesn’t just come from drinks. Many foods can also contribute to your hydration, especially smoothies, soups, fresh fruit, and salads full of leafy greens.
- Move it
You’ll find that a quick workout – as short as 5 or 10 minutes – can provide an immediate energy boost. And if you do this regularly, particularly during those periods when energy slumps are most common (such as, mid-afternoon commonly known as 3:30itis) you’ll begin to notice consistent energy improvements.
Do this: Rapidly increasing your heart rate for a short period of time (a set of star jumps or squats, for example) will get your heart pumping, increasing blood oxygenation and flow to your muscles and major organs.
- Power-boosting food
When you’re tired and run down, it can be hard to prioritise your nutritional needs. However, if you don’t fill yourself up with good quality fuel – i.e. good food – your energy will only get worse.
Do this: Wherever you can, opt for foods that are fresh, seasonal and healthy; steering well clear of processed foods. However, when your energy’s flat, you’ll often find yourself craving simple sugars – an easy way for junk foods to creep into your diet! Avoid temptation by having healthy options on hand. Particularly focus on foods that are high in protein and good fat, and easy to digest, as these will give you a sustained energy boost. Snacks such as, veggie sticks with nut butter, tub of natural yoghurt, chia seed pudding, green smoothie, 1-2 boiled eggs, leafy salad with tuna or sardines, etc.
- Step away from your desk
Sometimes we experience dips in energy because we’ve been consumed by one task for a prolonged period of time. This is particularly apparent for those with a sedentary job that requires sitting at a desk all day.
Do this: A short break of only 5 minutes can immediately boost your energy. Moreover, taking repeated breaks, at regular intervals (every hour, for example) can sustain your energy levels for a longer term and improve overall productivity.
About the author
Kathleen Murphy is a Sydney naturopath, practicing out of a large integrative medicine centre in Surry Hills. Her work focuses on optimising day-to-day living through diet, lifestyle and herbal medicine. Although she consults with all sorts of patients in clinic, the majority of Kathleen’s practice is in women’s health, particularly stress management, fertility and pregnancy support. She loves helping her patients create changes that can become life-long health habits.
Outside of practice, Kathleen is involved in industry education, works with community and corporate healthcare programs, writes for the media on health and wellbeing, contributes to academic texts and journals… and also posts regularly on her health and lifestyle blog. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.