Life is about priorities. But sometimes rearranging the tasks in our days is not enough to help keep us feeling on top of things. What we need is to rethink how we do certain things and to consider implementing some easy yet very effective natural pick-me-ups throughout the day.
But first, the biggies.
By that I mean enough sleep (seven to nine hours for most people), uninterrupted sleep, and a set time for bedtime and waking up. If you can’t have all that every night, try sleeping longer on the weekends—it’s very important. So if you find yourself sleepy around 8:30 on a Saturday evening and you can actually drop everything and go to bed, do that rather than watching a movie, for instance. Then again, according to experts from Harvard Health Publishing, if you’re sleep-deprived it may also help to try to sleep less one night and increase your sleep duration gradually, every time you go to bed.
I’ll come back to that. There are so many diet regimens out there that it’s hard to recommend just one of them, as all of them have something going for them, or something most people may feel comfortable following. But, in general, I think it’s safe to say that if you could skip sugar and processed foods and focus instead on eating superfoods on a regular basis, you’ll see your energy levels go up. Also, consider going gluten-free. I had to, because I developed a non-celiac intolerance to gluten, and I can say my energy went up some 15 percent just on account of my gluten-free diet, which is huge! Also, I find that meals with a combination of carbs, healthy fats, and protein work wonders for me. And, most importantly, remember to eat a satisfying breakfast, preferably within 30 minutes of waking up.
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And yes, try to go gluten-free. Here’s the thing to keep in mind: when you choose not to eat something like white wheat flour, so prevalent in breads and pastries, you open up your plate to more nutritious foods.
3. Plenty of liquids
Make sure you’re well hydrated, and by that I don’t mean drink six cups of coffee a day and sugary drinks on top of that. In fact, try to spread your caffeine in small increments throughout the day (making sure you don’t drink any in the evenings), and for the most part focus on lots of tea (including herbal varieties), water, and super nutritious smoothies with little to no refined sugar.
I’ll come back to this one too, to share how you can easily get exercise when you don’t have time for the gym or for a run outdoors. But for now please note that if you up your exercise from half an hour of, say, walking a day, to an hour of walking and some calisthenics or dancing, you will sleep much better (unless you have an underlying sleep condition that may need more effort to control) and will wake up more energized.
5. Nature exposure and exercise in nature
Make sure you walk or hike or run or cycle outdoors as often as possible—but if you can’t do that, working in your garden or even getting some sunlight on your balcony, if you live in an apartment building, will help a lot.
Getting sunlight energizes your whole body, including your immune cells, and protects you against diseases like multiple sclerosis (see “Some Health Benefits of Sunlight” on a different blog) and even cancer. It also helps your mood and sleep quality, not only on account of your body making vitamin D but also because it brings up your levels of serotonin and melatonin (see “Why Sunlight Is So Good For You” on the Time magazine website). In addition, sunshine helps with learning and memory—here’s a link to a 2018 study. So getting sunlight definitely isn’t only about helping your body make vitamin D, as some health articles may suggest.
Also, nature exposure should involve observing things in nature, which will greatly boost your mood and energy levels, especially if it’s associated with a hobby of yours, such as photography or an incipient interest in botany and collecting plant specimens.
And then have you heard that tree smells, the so-called phytoncides, have therapeutic effects? Phytoncides are essential oils emitted by plants and trees to help them fight bacteria and fungi. These volatile substances are now scientifically proven to help the immune system. And the health benefits of spending time in nature don’t stop there. Phytoncides also reduce stress and blood pressure, among other things. So by all means, get your nature fix. And if you’re interested in learning more, here’s the book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, by Florence Williams (affiliate link).
You may feel depleted of energy partly because your mood is low. Music can help with that, and yet so many of us forget about listening to music when we’re running from task A to task B throughout the day. And yet you can listen to music in the kitchen when you cook, for instance. Just make sure you set your radio there on a music channel, at least some of the time.
7. Short breaks
I usually work in short stretches of time, often only 25 minutes at a time, as per the famous Pomodoro Technique. I then take five minutes to make myself a drink and dance a little in front of the microwave as the water heats up. I find that those five minutes are wonderful—they also relax the eyes a little, by the way.
In fact, it’s recommended you take a break from the computer at least every hour and cover your eyes for at least a minute in order to give them, too, a break.
I work from home, so breaks in the kitchen are the best for me. On some of them I take about 10 minutes to make tea and wash dishes and communicate with my family, and I find that doing little tasks like that helps me relax and recharge while also not taking away my concentration.
8. Longer breaks
As one wise woman once told me, if you hold a full glass in one hand for a long time, after a while it will begin to feel really heavy. Put it down now and then and it won’t seem so heavy anymore. If you can’t take weekends off, make sure you take some time for yourself every week. This can mean cooking fun dishes, if you enjoy cooking; spending time with a hobby; relaxing and reading in a bubble bath; walking through a park and reading on a bench there, etc.
9. Meditation, body relaxation techniques, and yoga
These don’t have to be complicated. They can be as little as focusing intently on every morsel you taste or on the shapes, colors, visually perceived textures, and play of light on the surfaces of a tree you can see and photograph from your balcony, or lying down and progressively tightening and then relaxing various parts of your body (admittedly, yoga is more complicated—but you can start with some beginner lessons on YouTube).
10. Social contact and hugs
Stay in touch with your friends, even as all of you may be going through difficult times and may seem too stressed out to have heart-to-heart conversations. You’ll see that you can find your way to each other easily if you make those phone calls. I also found during these Covid times that reaching out to people I don’t get in touch with often has been wonderful.
Also, give and receive many hugs from family members and friends in your social bubble. (Of course, if hugs are definitely not your thing, it may be best not to do them.)
And, of course, if you want more and better energy, try to refrain from (much) smoking and alcohol. They both reduce the quality of your sleep, among other negative effects on your health.
Continued with Part 2: 12+2 very effective tips for how you can easily get better energy naturally.
To a happier, healthier life,
P.S. I’d appreciate a pin/share if you found my post helpful. Thank you! 🙂