Low Energy – Energising Yourself
Low energy? Does this sound familiar? Would you like to learn the concept of energising yourself and when you need to be able to use it? We all know what it’s like to hit that afternoon dip at around 2:30pm, when grabbing 30 minutes sleep is all you really want. Staying focused becomes a real battle.
At times like this, it becomes harder to make decisions or deliver high-quality work or meet deadlines. The thought of progressing new initiatives seems like an impossible task. Let’s face it: to do our best, we need to be energized throughout the day!
So what can you do?
WHAT CAUSES LOW ENERGY?
There are many reasons why your energy levels may dip:
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Iron or vitamin deficiencies
- Lack of exercise
- Burnout or stress
- Underactive thyroid
- Low motivation
Fatigue may be a symptom of a physical or mental health problem. If your lack of energy persists over several weeks, seek the advice of your doctor. See the following link for more information:
Causes of Fatigue
Sip a glass of water an hour; our bodies need water to function. When you’re dehydrated, you’re depriving yourself of vital fuel, and this can affect your memory as well as your energy levels.
This fluid need not be water. However, if you choose another drink, be aware that its ingredients may offset the benefits of pure water. For example, caffeine can cause anxiety, while high-sugar fruit drinks may give a short-term energy boost that’s followed by deeper fatigue.
If your office has a window, open the blinds to let in plenty of natural light.
If you don’t have access to a window, make sure that your lamps are bright enough. Lamps that emit the full spectrum of light – ‘day lights’ (similar to sunlight) can make you feel more alert.
Even the light emitted by your PC can have an impact, as increased light can suppress sleep-inducing hormones. Adjust the brightness settings on your screen to increase the amount of light given out.
TAKE A WALK
A short walk will increase the flow of oxygen to your brain.
You may also find that a change of surroundings, even for a short time, increases your energy levels. If you can, walk with a friend or colleague; this may encourage you to walk further, and can also boost your self-esteem.
Rather than having lunch at your desk, take your lunch outside and try to take a short 10 minute walk
Drink plenty of water during and after exercise to replenish fluid levels.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Upbeat and high energy songs brighten moods and can have a profound effect on energy levels. Certain types of music can make you feel more energized, attentive, and awake, while other styles can make you feel calm, sleepy, angry, or tense.
The type of music most likely to raise your energy level is highly personal. You may find that classical music or jazz restores your energy, while others prefer pop or rock. When you feel your energy waning, turn on music that you enjoy.
Collate a play list of music that uplifts you and listen to it.
Music can be energizing, but it can also be distracting. Think about your tasks and whether listening to music could affect your ability to complete them well.
For example, many people find that they cannot concentrate on fine detail when they’re listening to music with lyrics. Likewise, some find that they work better if they’ve set up playlists in advance, as they can avoid stopping work to choose new tracks.
Music can also be distracting for your colleagues. Use well-fitting headphones to avoid spreading your sound.
Depending on the culture of your workplace, you could try other short-term energy-boosting techniques.
For example, aromatherapy – using scents to address specific ailments or conditions – has been shown to be effective at combating fatigue. One study found that the scent of lime made participants feel more alert than those in the control group.
Your colleagues may not welcome aromatherapy in the office, however. The essential oils used can cause sensitivities, and some oils should not be used near people with diabetes, or near pregnant or nursing women.
A short nap can also help you feel more alert. However, your organisation may not approve of you ‘sleeping on the job’.
If you’re considering this, talk to your manager about whether a short afternoon nap (20 minutes or less) would be appropriate in your workplace.
Ask how he or she feels about you taking a short break to nap, even if it’s in your car.
There are plenty of long-term strategies for improving your energy and focus at work, too.
EAT HEALTHIER FOOD
Your diet has a huge effect on how you feel. When you eat poor-quality foods (such as those high in fat, sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients), you don’t take in the nutrients that you need to perform at your best.
Some of these foods, such as chocolate bars or crisps, do provide a quick burst of energy by raising your blood sugar levels. However, those levels quickly drop, often leaving you feeling even worse than you did beforehand.
Instead of eating salty or sugary snacks, aim to eat three well-balanced meals every day. You may also want to eat healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. These include walnuts or almonds, low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers, fruits and vegetables, hummus, and yogurt.
One of the best ways to boost your energy is to get regular exercise. Countless studies suggest that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
Regular exercise has also been shown to increase memory and a sense of well-being.
No matter how busy you are, try to make exercise part of your daily routine. Jake at Muscle Zone shares some great tips in his article:
15 Rules to Live by For Optimal Health
Sometimes your energy can dip when you’re working on a task that you find boring or meaningless. Routine tasks can numb your mind, and make you feel tired or lethargic.
Look at the tasks that seem to sap your energy the most. These ‘energy vampires’ are often the urgent but not important tasks that you must do regularly. Use Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle to see how much time you’re devoting to these tasks.
Ask yourself whether you really need to accomplish these tasks; if not, see if you can cancel them, or delegate them to someone who may find them more satisfying.
If you’ve lost some of your enthusiasm for your role, re-examine the purpose in what you do. This will remind you of the impact you make every day, even in small ways.
LOOK AT YOUR DIARY
How you diarise tasks can also affect your energy. For example, if you’re a ‘morning person’, you’ll have the most energy before lunch. Your energy might drop in the afternoon and then pick up again in the early evening. If this is the case for you, schedule your hardest, most important tasks in the morning, during your peak energy time.
For more top tips on how to relax see our Blog:
40 WAYS TO RELAX IN FIVE MINUTES OR LESS