Tired All the Time? Here are 5 Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels
Feeling sluggish every day? It’s common for many people to have the occasional season of low energy, but when it becomes a daily occurrence that leaves you wishing to be in bed right after you get up in the morning, some other issues might be at hand.
The human body is designed to move, so movement should naturally feel desirable during your waking hours. Likewise, the brain is crafted to think and solve problems, so engaging in stimulating thought throughout the day is also a normal function. If your energy levels are consistently so low that you feel no urge to move or think, you’ll want to examine other aspects of your daily routine to troubleshoot what the problem could be.
If you constantly find yourself wanting more energy from day to day in order to live your life to the fullest, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled 5 elements of a healthy lifestyle that are sure to put some spring back in your step—read on and make sure you incorporate each one into your daily life to feel better physically and mentally!
1. Reduce Stressful Environments
Have you ever woken up bursting with energy because something exciting was going to happen that day? Motivation plays a big part when it comes to encouraging your body to take on the challenges the day presents. After all, even with all the right health practices in place, it’s awfully difficult to drum up the energy to do something that fills you with dread. Conversely, it’s easier to be energized for your day when you’ll be doing activities that you enjoy or are passionate about.
That’s why you should try to eliminate as many sources of anxiety and stress in your life as possible before tackling other areas that might be the cause of your lethargy. Examine your routine, hobbies, choice of work, habits, and social life to cut out anything that brings about unnecessary concern. With those hurdles out of the way, you’ll likely feel better motivation to accomplish the day’s tasks, which in turn will encourage your body to supply you with enough energy.
But sometimes a lack of energy doesn’t reflect a physical aspect of your life at all. Rather, it can be a sign of an underlying mental health complication such as depression. If you suspect this might be the case, seek help from a counseling professional immediately to take the proper steps toward recovery.
2. Get More Sun
We recently created an article centered around this entire idea, but in summary, sunlight is one of your greatest allies when it comes to regaining your energy.
The sun’s rays provide your body with Vitamin D, a nutrient that is difficult to receive sufficiently by diet alone. Vitamin D signals your brain to release the chemicals serotonin and dopamine, both of which are responsible for improving your mood and providing more energy. This is also the reason why cloudy days make us all feel a bit sleepier—our bodies aren’t receiving as much sun, and so are making less serotonin and dopamine to keep us awake.
Sunlight also reinforces your circadian rhythms, or the cycle of energy you experience each day. With a clearer indication of daylight, your body will more efficiently produce energizing chemicals during the day and relaxing chemicals (like melatonin) at night. This grants you both more energy in your waking hours and better sleep at night!
3. Add More Nutrients To Your Diet
You’ve likely heard that nutrition impacts every aspect of our lives, so it should come as no surprise that a lack of healthy nutrients leads to fewer resources of energy for the body to utilize.
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source, and so it will naturally burn through them for energy first before touching fats and proteins. But not all carbs are equal, and some might actually result in energy crashes if you aren’t careful.
Carbs are divided into simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are smaller and are quickly used for energy, whereas complex carbs are larger and take more time for the body to digest. Eating a diet with too many simple carbs—like cereals, bread, candy, and processed sugars—often won’t cut it for long-term, sustained energy throughout your day (though they will still boost energy for a short time in most cases). Complex carbs, on the other hand, offer more bang for your buck, giving you energy over longer periods of time. Food such as whole grains, starches, and oats are good sources of complex carbs.
Caffeine products are also able to supply you with energy by increasing your brain’s production of dopamine and noradrenaline, keeping you focused and alert for certain lengths of time. Just be wary of which caffeine sources you choose; too much sugar (like in popular energy drinks) carries its own problematic health conditions like high blood sugar levels, weight gain, and diabetes, aside from inevitable energy crashes! A cup of coffee is usually okay, but don’t overdo it, or else your body will depend on caffeine for energy each day.
Lastly, ensure your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs to run efficiently and, by extension, utilize and conserve energy better. Like oil in your car, nutrients keep everything in your body running as optimally as possible. And don’t forget to get enough water, too!
If you are unsure about the dietary choices that would be best for you, see your local healthcare professional or dietitian for help!
4. You Guessed It: Start Exercising!
It might sound strange to claim that exercising—and thus, expending energy—actually gives you more energy from day to day. But that’s exactly the case!
Think about it this way: your body is great at adapting its resources to suit your lifestyle. If you live a relatively sedentary life and require little energy to function, why would your body work harder to supply you with more energy than you might need?
On the other hand, staying active on a regular basis gives your body a reason to keep the energy levels topped off. Endorphins released from physical activity can also contribute to maintaining good energy levels. Even a brisk walk can stimulate energy for the remainder of the day!
There is plenty of research to support the energy and health benefits an active lifestyle can provide. This is one reason exercise is used as a primary treatment method for chronic fatigue syndrome.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. Strength training is also important to maintain muscle mass as you age—working each muscle group at least two times per week will keep your body in good shape.
5. Get Enough Sleep
At the end of the day (literally), your body will only supply energy as long as it gets the proper rest it needs. For adults, this means roughly 7-9 hours of sleep each night. You can also supplement this time via naps throughout the day.
If a good night’s sleep is difficult to come by, try adopting some healthy sleep practices to perform before you go to bed. These might include not looking at digital screens for 30 minutes prior to bedtime, not eating late in the evening, engaging in a relaxing activity such as reading, deep breathing, or listening to calming music. The goal is to give your body enough cues to start winding down before you get under the covers.
A lack of sleep will bring feelings of fatigue the next day, to say nothing of throwing off your sleep schedule. Try to make the appropriate lifestyle changes necessary to avoid poor sleep. If you are consistently unable to get a quality snooze no matter what you try, you might have a medical condition known as sleep apnea. It’s best to see a healthcare professional if this is the case.
And as previously mentioned, spending time outside and getting enough exercise will naturally help your body relax in the evening, boosting your ability to get quality sleep. Do your part to give your body a proper break every night, and it will reward you with plenty of energy to do the things you’ve always wanted to do!