Simple Steps to Improve Energy

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1.  Eat a healthy breakfast.  Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  It helps us to break the fast and start our day properly fueled.  This helps to avoid the sluggishness, fogginess and the blahs that can accompany low blood sugar levels.  Also, studies show that people who ate breakfast weighed less than those who do not.

Fuel up to be a lean mean thinking machine.  A healthy breakfast should contain protein to improve moods and keep blood sugar levels steady, whole grain carbohydrates for a steady supply of fuel to keep us energetic and good fats to nourish the brain and heart.

A good example that is quick, easy and even portable if you travel is a packet of oatmeal, garnished with 10 almonds and topped with blueberries or strawberries.

Almonds are a source of healthy fats.  On average, 10 almonds provide 70 calories, 6 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein.  Studies show that nuts, when consumed in moderate amounts, have the added advantage of helping you to lose weight, lowering blood pressure and even improve cholesterol levels. 

The complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein in the oatmeal provide steady blood sugar levels to maintain energy, helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and keep bowels functioning normally.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good breakfast.

2.  Find effective ways to manage your stress levels

Start each day with a sense of gratitude.  If that seems out of reach just find a thought or a mental image that brings a smile to your face or makes you feel good.

Find something to laugh about several times a day because laughter is good medicine.  It decreases inflammation and decreased stress levels

Cultivate those friendships that nurture you and work on identifying the ones that deplete you.  This is especially true for women.  It turns out that the brains of men and women are wired differently.  The emotional part of a woman’s brain responds more strongly to negative stimuli while the emotional part of a man’s brain responds more to positive stimuli.

Listen to music, it does soothe the beast.

My favorite- get a massage.  Just tell everyone you need to lower your stress hormone levels. It’s true.  Enhance this with modalities that can induce relaxation response such as deep breathing exercise, meditation, yoga or tai chi.  Even the CDC agrees that these may help

3.  Exercise; It doesn’t have to be about spending hours in the gym (unless you want to). Exercise is about movement and activity and challenging yourself to become fitter every day- make it creative, make it interactive.  Do you have a fit program system at home?  If you do, then do it with your partner, your children or a friend.  Not only will you reap the benefit of exercise it is also loads of fun.  The key, find something that you enjoy and you are more likely to stick with it.  Sometimes if you are significantly fatigued, too much exercise can deplete rather than restore energy so go at your pace.  You may even want to talk to your doctor about graded exercise therapy and working with a professional such as a physical therapist.

4. Get a good night’s sleep.  In fact get several. Lack of sleep makes us less productive, unable to think clearly and make poor choices. This then escalates our stress levels.

Too little sleep can increase our levels of the hunger hormone Ghrelin thus making us crave sweets and refined carbohydrates and in a season where they are available on every desk or counter top, you have lost the battle.

If at risk for issues such as sleep apnea get evaluated so that can be treated.  Retrain your brain and habits.  Turn off lights, TV, computers.  Create routines. Keep the bedroom for sleeping not to catch up on everything you did not complete that day.

P.S. There are many disease processes, disorders, conditions and lifestyle choices that can contribute to fatigue. Therefore, persistent symptoms of fatigue should warrant a visit with your doctor.

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