Feeling the midday slump already, but it’s only early morning? Fight the fatigue by building on healthy habits for a more energized and joyful outlook, with suggestions from Harvard Health’s article titled “9 tips to boost your energy — naturally.”
- Manage daily stressors- High-stress emotional situations use up excessive amounts of energy that can take a physical and mental toll. Let off some steam where you can by talking with a friend or family member, turning to a support group or to a therapist to address stress in a productive manner. Finding relaxation methods that work for you, such as meditation, yoga or tai chi can be helpful as well.
- Prioritize and lighten the load- Overwork and an overloaded schedule can contribute to mounting fatigue. You are not Atlas, so don’t take the whole world onto your shoulders. There are so many pulls for our time and energy, be it professional, family or social responsibilities. Eventually, however, everyone reaches a breaking point where something has to give, and that is when you must define what your “must-do” activities are and what can wait until later or be delegated if possible. If you take the time to think about it fully, you will see what is most important to you and focus on those items first before moving on to other items.
- Work in a workout- Getting good exercise during the day will help you sleep better, as well as provide more energy for your cells to burn and enhanced oxygen circulation. It can also improve your mood, with higher dopamine levels in the brain.
- Don’t smoke- Besides being terrible for your health, smoking often causes insomnia issues. The nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant that speeds up the heart rate, raises blood pressure and stimulates brain-wave activity that controls wakefulness, therefore thwarting sleep. And if you do get to sleep, cravings can often wake you up.
- Be mindful of when and how long you sleep- Most people love a good nap if they have the time for it, but sleeping too much can actually make you feel more tired. It seems counterintuitive, but if you know the amount of time each night that you need to feel rested, then you won’t toss and turn as much to fall asleep, and the sleep you get will be deeper and more restful.
To establish the best sleep rhythm, take these steps:
– Try not to nap during the day.
– On day one, go to bed later than you usually do and sleep only four hours.
– If it seems like you slept well during those four hours, add another 15-30 minutes of sleep the next night.
– If you keep sleeping soundly the entire time, keep adding more time until you find the average best amount of time to sleep for.
– Electronic sleep trackers, such as from a FitBit or Apple Watch, can also give some guidance on how deeply you are sleeping.
- Think critically of your nutrition- Add foods to your grocery list with a low glycemic index, which refers to foods in which the sugars are absorbed slowly by the body and thus may help you avoid later-day energy lag that often happens with foods that quickly release sugar and refined starches. Whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts and some healthy oils are your best bets. Generally, high carb foods are high glycemic and should be consumed in moderation, while proteins and fats are close to zero on the glycemic index, therefore more neutral in this regard.
- Be careful about caffeine consumption- Caffeine can be helpful to a point, consumed in a cup of coffee without too much added sugar, for example. However, be mindful of how much you consume and when. Having caffeine too late in the afternoon will probably backfire with a bad night’s sleep.
- Blame it on the alcohol- If day drinking on the weekend is a favorite pastime, it might contribute to a midday slump. Alcohol at lunch can compound the sedative nature of alcohol consumption.
A five o’clock cocktail might not be the best idea if you want to keep your energy up for a long night. If you plan to drink, you might want to wait to do so, in moderation, once you have reached a time that you are wanting to wind down. That is not to say that alcohol should be used to help you get to sleep, as that could be a sign of unhealthy alcohol dependence.
- Bring your water bottle with you- One of the world’s most obvious and yet underrated and overlooked health tips is to make sure you are drinking enough water. Fatigue is often one of the first signs of dehydration, so a large glass might perk you right up.
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