Today’s lifestyles are 24/7. They just don’t stop. There’s the pressure of work, which for many can feel relentless with constant emails even during your downtime. There are family demands as well, socialising and then you want to factor in some exercise, it’s a wonder there’s even a minute for relaxation! At times you can feel run down and always tired. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to look at your daily schedule and make some changes. Perhaps it’s simply finding ways to feel more energetic, it could be you’re eating the wrong food or you’re not exercising enough. Maybe you simply aren’t getting enough sleep? Let’s look at what you could do to gain more energy:
Time Your Exercise
If you exercise feeling tired, you won’t get as much out of a workout as you would when you have more energy. Some people find mornings are best for their workout; others like to pep up their energy levels by doing some cardio at lunchtime. Then there are the night owls, who come alive after 6pm, this is the best time to take advantage of that energy-boost. Plus, remember that regular exercise does boost energy levels because it gets the metabolism going. Try and stick to a similar exercise time and really power through to get your metabolic rate up.
Easier said than done! If you’re notoriously a poor sleeper, try and tackle the problem before it takes too much of a toll on your health. You might just think you don’t need much sleep but if you’re constantly tired and lacking in energy you clearly aren’t getting enough sleep. There are some excellent sleep apps that you could download to encourage your brain to wind down. Do ban your screens for a good hour before bed because they keep your brain buzzing! Eat a good three hours or more before bedtime to allow your food to digest properly. Have a warm bath and relax perhaps listening to your favourite mellow tunes. Make sure your room isn’t too hot and keep it nice and dark to get your brain ready for bed. If you still can’t sleep, read a book to unwind and then focus on your breathing, pushing away any thoughts that interrupt your concentration. Try and go to sleep at the same time every night so your body knows when bedtime is. If you keep going to bed at 1am and getting up at 6am, your body will think that’s bedtime, you need to readjust your clock. You should also stop drinking caffeine before lunch because some people feel the effects of a coffee for a good 12 hours or more!
Reduce Your Coffee Consumption
Following on from point two, too much caffeine can play a huge role in feeling tired. Lots of people rely on a caffeine fix to pep up energy levels but when you’re wired from caffeine, the after effects make you feel even more sluggish than before. Look at how much coffee or how many caffeinated drinks you consume and halve the amount to see if that makes a difference. It should. If you have trouble sleeping, as in point 2, don’t drink anything containing caffeine after lunch as it takes 5 hours for caffeine to leave your system. Too much coffee is definitely linked to insomnia so if you’re not sleeping, think about how much you drink. Don’t just stop drinking coffee and go “Cold Turkey” as you could end up with headaches. Instead, gradually reduce your caffeine consumption to just one or two coffees a day. Do bear in mind that there are certain caffeinated drinks that also fall into this category (Coke and Diet Coke for example).
Drop Your Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol is also linked to poor sleeping patterns and makes you feel tired and sluggish. Alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle and stops you from going into a deep sleep. Drink once or twice a week but limit it to that especially if you find it hard to get up in the morning – perhaps restrict it to weekends only.
Be Mindful Of Depression
If you don’t really drink, only have a couple of coffees a day and sleep very well (or very badly) but still find your energy levels low, perhaps you’re depressed? Depression can manifest itself in many ways but one is definitely feeling like you have no energy to do anything that you used to enjoy. If you can’t get rid of that lethargic feeling and it is paired with feeling anxious or miserable make an appointment with your doctor because you might have a form of depression. Most people experience it at some point in their life so don’t worry about it, it can be dealt with.
Are You Stressed?
By the same token, if you have a lot on your plate with work, family and other commitments perhaps you are experiencing stress? This can interrupt your sleep and certainly if you don’t factor in time to relax, you will carry on feeling stressed and it could have serious health consequences. Good ways to de-stress include going for a walk once a day, in the fresh air, exercise, closing your eyes and listening to some relaxing music, taking time out to do little things you enjoy – a meal with friends, a movie at the cinema, watching your favourite TV series (without your smart phone to distract you!). Or, if you have had a particularly stressful period, maybe it’s time to book a holiday – even a weekend break somewhere away from home can help to recharge your batteries and give you the energy burst you need!