As a med student, a former competitive athlete, a woman (hello period) and generally as a human being living in today’s crazy world, I’m very familiar with feeling sluggish and having low energy levels. If you have ever experienced the feeling of running out of battery (which I guess every one of us has at some point) – we all feel you. Because even those people accomplishing seemingly impossible amounts of tasks everyday have those moments – even more so probably. But they have also somehow found ways to manage their energy household efficiently and individually. And the good news is: So can you! If you feel burnt out a little, very tired, sluggish or anything like this – maybe it’s about time to have a closer look at your lifestyle:
Stressful everyday life: While there are some things you just need to get done during the day (like your job, looking after the kids, casually managing the whole household, meeting certain people, etc.), there’s the other section of things you just happen to do as the day goes on. So, try to find the things that you mindlessly fill your spare time with (and which do not add any value to your life or wellbeing) and replace them with – nothing. Have a cup of coffee or tea, read something, take a bath or go for a walk. Simply pause several times during the day – like hitting the Time-Out button on your life. This can be for only a few minutes or even an hour – the duration doesn’t matter too much as long as you do it.
Breathe: And when you’re at it already – what about remembering to breathe? Since this is scientifically and practically considered to be a rather essential part of keeping you alive, maybe we should pay a little more attention to whether or not we’re actually breathing properly, don’t you think? Not only talking about you though, I need to remind myself daily.
Put things into perspective: So, your life might seem chaotic and nearly impossible to handle at some points – but is it really? Things can easily become commingled when we’re stressed. I sometimes find it very helpful to just pause life for a moment, take a step back, actually look at it and simply put things, ideas, challenges and priorities back into place. And then get back on track.
Sleep: It’s no secret that a good night’s rest can make up for a lot your body is currently dealing with. Since sleep is the time for your body to recharge and regenerate (including healing processes), it’s even more important to get those Zzzs when you’re not feeling very well.
Lack of iron: This mainly affects women (all ages) and is therefore a common source of chronic fatigue. If you feel exhausted even though you get enough sleep and eat healthy, maybe you should consider getting your iron level checked by your GP (a simple blood sample should do). Sidenote: Coffee can drastically interfere with your iron uptake (goes down) by food.
Vitamin deficiency: A vitamin deficiency (of any kind really) can also lead to low energy levels because some processes in your body can not function properly. If you feel like this might be the case, see you GP and have her/him test what you might be lacking. Do so rather than starting to randomly supplement (which might only make it worse).
Nutrition: Nutrition certainly plays a key role regarding your overall wellbeing and energy levels. Try to eat healthy at least 80% of the time and it should do the trick. By ‘healthy’ I mean: Ideally as little processed food as possible, a lot of vegetables and fruit, the right layout of carbs/protein/fat and whole foods.
Water: This is as important as nutrition and therefore also key – drink enough water! Make sure to have your 2-3 litres per day (and an additional glass for every cup of coffee or any alcohol since they’re super-dehydrating). Your body consists of ~60% water – that should be proof enough to show why it’s so important to drink enough water. Lack of water = loss of body function. That easy.
Moving: Not moving during the day might cause your system to slow down and run on a reduced mode – which you will ultimately experience. So, getting up every now and then can go a long way (go to the loo, to get some coffee, visit your colleague or printer or just take a set of stairs for fun). Also, while doing sports regularly can do wonders for your overall health – make sure not to overdo it and give your body time to recharge – otherwise you’ll end up exhausting and not strengthening it.
Fresh air: Maybe the simplest but a very effective trick is to get some fresh air. Ambient air tends to get muggy and stifling – and the lack of fresh air (oxygen) will make you dizzy. I try to open the window or go outside as often as possible and it really helps!
So, those are my main tips if you’re looking to feel more energised and fresh. Strong minds need strong bodies to work with – so, go for it! If others can do it, so can you! Let me know in the comments what tips and tricks have helped you to overcome this life-sucking tiredness and lack of energy – I’m curious!