If you have an energy slump every afternoon or feel too tired to exercise (even if you’ve only been at a desk all day) you may be experiencing an energy crisis. Fatigue is a huge complaint in our modern world but unless you have a chronic illness that’s causing your fatigue, you can start feeling better with simple lifestyle changes. Boost your energy naturally with these tips:
7 important tips
It may seem counter-intuitive, but coffee is not the answer to fatigue. Caffeine causes your body to produce stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, causing your body to go into fight or flight mode. The energy jolt you feel is actually your body responding to an imminent danger (even though there isn’t one). The more caffeine you consume, the more worn out your adrenals become and they begin to function at a lower level. Then you need more and more caffeine to get that same energy jolt.
Giving up caffeine is tough at first but can reduce your stress hormones, meaning your body can come out of fight or flight response and rest. Caffeine can also send your body on a blood sugar roller coaster, setting you up for a crash later in the day. If you can’t go without a hot beverage in the morning try these natural coffee replacements.
Ditch the junk food
Studies show that highly processed junk foods actually make you more tired and less motivated. This is because junk food is full of inflammatory ingredients that affect the brain, the nervous system and the whole body. Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself from injury and illness and can help the body heal. However, when chronic inflammation is present (the kind that occurs from eating junk food) it can lead to disease and fatigue. Eat organic fruits and veggies, pastured meat, wild caught fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds whenever possible. Avoid anything highly processed and anything with additive, food coloring, or other things you can’t pronounce. Start small and move forward with slow food steps for better energy.
Get regular exercise
Your fatigue may be causing you to skip your exercise sessions, but if you stick it out, regular exercise may help you become less fatigued. One study showed that sedentary people who began exercising reported improved energy. Anecdotal evidence shows that exercise makes us feel better and more energized. But you don’t have to run a marathon. Even light stretching can give you the boost you need. Start with mild to moderate activity and see how you feel.
Get better quality sleep
Clearly, if you can get more sleep each night you will probably feel less fatigued throughout the day. However, if you start getting better quality sleep, you’ll feel better without needing to devote hours of your time to extra sleep. Blue light blocking glasses can help filter out the blue light from electronics that sends signals to your brain that it’s still day time. Darkness helps your body produce melatonin, a hormone that prepares your body for sleep. When you block out the blue light your body can begin making melatonin on it’s own. Other things you can try are going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on the weekends!), avoiding stimulants at bedtime, and take a few minutes before bed to journal or talk with a spouse or friend about your day.
Adaptogenic herbs increase the body’s capacity to adapt to stress and resist disease. They help regulate the adrenal system and support hormone function. When the body is better balanced and your stress hormones are kept in check you are better able to sleep restfully. Adaptogenic herbs don’t target one part of the body but instead help the whole body to adapt (hence, the name). Some excellent adaptogenic herbs are ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, licorice root and ginseng. You can get them in blends or each individually. Taken daily these may help improve your sleep and your energy.
Though the body is made of 60% water the brain is made of 85% water. It makes sense then that dehydration would have an impact on the way it functions and how you feel during the day. Drink enough water but also be sure to balance your electrolytes so that your body can hold onto the water you drink. Coconut water is a great electrolyte drink that is safe and without synthetic food coloring or sugar. Bone broth is another way to stay hydrated while getting many vital nutrients. Bone broth contains protein as well as minerals and electrolytes to keep you hydrated and energetic.
As we mentioned earlier, burnt out adrenal glands can cause your fatigue. When you’re under chronic stress your body relies on your adrenals to release cortisol and other hormones to cope. They can’t do it forever though, and need to recoup. If you aren’t getting enough sleep you are stressing your adrenals. Likewise, if you have stressed adrenals you likely can’t get enough sleep due to your circadian rhythm being off. Sleep as much as you can, avoid stimulants, and reduce stress by practicing mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or some other peaceful activity. Studies show that peaceful activities can greatly reduce your stress which will help you feel more energetic. You may also take a supplement of bovine adrenal to help get back in balance.
Lack of energy is a huge problem in our modern society. People work a lot and don’t take much time to care for themselves. These natural tips will help you care for yourself so that you can have the energy you need. Ditching stuff that’s bad for you (like coffee and junk food) and beginning new habits like yoga and healthy food will do wonders for your daily energy level.