With only 6 weeks to Christmas, some of us are feeling the pressure of deadlines. How do we keep our energy levels topped up to enjoy a smooth ride until Christmas? Our energy levels are influenced by our lifestyle choices, levels of stress and underlying health imbalances. The following tips will help you to maintain your energy.
Energy-boosting lifestyle choices
- Enjoy 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night. Aim to keep to a sleep routine, so your mind and body learn to switch off prior to sleep.
- Have 3 meals a day based on colourful plant foods, with ample serves of animal foods such as lean meat and fermented dairy foods. People eating only vegetarian foods need to ensure that they are having sufficient beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Whole foods provide essential nutrients, phytochemicals and an appropriate source and amount of energy.
- Adjust your movement and physical activity to match your needs. Our body was not designed to be a running or lifting machine. Speed kept us safe from predators and the occasional sprint was required to catch food. Ensure you move your body through walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, Pilates or tai chi. We need a combination of slow reflective exercise, as well as a little vigorous movement to maintain our energy.
- Take time each day for reflection and meditation. A mindfulness practice decreases distraction and feelings of being overwhelmed, so we conserve our energy. Our energy is best spent on focussed activities.
- Resolve any relationship conflicts as soon as possible. Worry and other emotions are a great drain on our energy levels. Practice assertive and compassionate communication.
- Several times a day, check to see if you are living mindfully. How is your posture? Are you breathing well? Are you tasting your food? Have you noticed the colours of the current season?
- Avoid the temptation to boost your energy levels through refined sugars and caffeine. Both of these ingredients are short lasting and have negative health consequences. Reaching for a sugary drink or strong coffee may seem like a good solution to afternoon tiredness, but these choices drain your energy.
- Stay hydrated with water. Keep a water bottle or jug near you at all times and take breaks from your work or other activities to drink.
- Time in nature is a great way to recharge your batteries and boost your energy. Take a walk to your favourite park, garden or waterway. Having an indoor plant is also beneficial. A short visualisation of your favourite spot in nature can reset your energy level too.
- Keep check of your deadlines. Do all of the tasks on your to-do-list need to be completed by Christmas or the end of the calendar year? I really believe the count down to Christmas creates unnecessary stress. It is okay to say. “this can wait till next year.”
De-stress and boost your energy levels
Daily reflection times and short pauses in our day, allow us to tune in with how we are feeling and to reassess our priorities. Often we start the day with certain priorities in mind, but the day doesn’t unfold as planned. It is important to re-prioritise tasks throughout the day.
If we have ongoing stress we may notices that our energy levels have dropped, we may be experiencing interrupted sleep and be skipping nutritious meals in preference for high sugar and high fat snack foods. We may also notice that our mind isn’t as sharp when it comes to making decisions. Or we might just feel flat. Take notice of these symptoms prior to burnout.
Trust your assessment of your energy and stress levels, but don’t fool yourself. If you are feeling tired and stressed, admit it to yourself, identify the cause(s) and seek support as required. We are not machines capable of managing ever-increasing levels of stress — whether these be physical or mental in nature.
Have a health check
If you are feeling tired and are unable to lift your energy levels then I recommend a check up with your healthcare practitioner. Physical and mental imbalances are equally important in regards to assessment and treatment. Stress is a real health issue, just like iron deficiency or diabetes. Seek professional advice to boost your energy levels through your lifestyle choices and other treatments.