Exhaustion can get to the best of us at times, no matter how it shows its face. Some days you won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning; others, you’re so tired that you can’t get any work done at all. It can definitely be difficult to make it through the day in one piece when you’re feeling like this, but it’s necessary in most cases.
Exhaustion can stem from many causes, from a lack of sleep to too much reliance on caffeine, but no matter the cause it’s important to minimize its effects and get back into a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to stay energized throughout the day…
Good Morning, Sunshine
Natural light (or, sunlight), is the prime factor when it comes to controlling our circadian rhythms. Try to start each morning by opening the blinds and letting a little sunlight in, or going for a walk. Just a bit of sunlight can boost your mood instantly no matter the time of day, but there’s more to it, too.
Natural light tells your brain that it’s daytime, while also stimulating vitamin D production in your body. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system, as well as mental and hormonal health. Even if you choose not to go for a walk, just stepping outside and breathing in the fresh outdoor air can do you some good.
Breakfast is Vital
It’s common knowledge that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that’s not all there is to it. No matter how rushed you feel on any given day, try to have a proper, nutritious breakfast — or pack something healthy to take with you, if nothing else. You should also try to keep away from carbs for breakfast, and focus on protein instead.
Eating something like eggs or yogurt for a breakfast rather than a bagel will leave you consistently energized, because carbs increase your blood sugar levels. This may give you some instant energy, but it’s then followed by fatigue and lethargy.
For the same reason as you stay away from carbs at breakfast time, you’re better off avoiding sugary and/or caffeinated drinks. Things like coffee, soda, and energy drinks may give you a rush of instant energy, but they’re not a good source of it in the long run. The energy you get from these things wears off quickly, leading to “crashing,” and they also bring on cravings for more.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means you can develop an addiction to it. Your body will also develop tolerance for it, meaning you eventually require more and more caffeine to get the same energy out of it. Furthermore, it increases stress levels, can cause headaches, make you feel jittery, and more. It even delays your circadian clock, which makes falling asleep more difficult and therefore interfering with your sleep cycle and leaving you more tired.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Dehydration can cause fatigue and exhaustion. To keep your energy levels up, make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. After all, water plays a vital role in our bodies, from facilitating digestion to flushing waste from our system.
For many, it helps to keep a large bottle of water near you as a reminder to empty it and stay hydrated. You should also start each meal with a big glass of water.
Getting an adequate amount of exercise can be the key to maintaining a level of energy throughout the day and sleeping better at night. Even if you’re tired, something simple like a brisk walk can help with this. The point is to get your blood pumping to keep your muscles oxygenated. This way, you end up feeling more awake.
It may help even more if this quick exercise is in the morning. Even 10 minutes of exercise has been shown to improve focus and concentration while also reducing stress. Taking advantage of those benefits earlier in the day means they’ll have a lasting effect throughout it.
As obvious as it may seem, a healthy diet is crucial to maintaining your energy levels to get through the day. Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach are ideal for lunch, since they contain vitamin K, which helps keep your brain sharp. Additionally, they’re packed with other nutrients that help you feel energized.
You may also want to add other nutrient-packed foods to your meals. These include high-quality protein, other vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. High-quality protein (organic and grass-fed meats) ensures you get all the amino acids you need. Fruits are filled with a range of nutrients, from vitamins to antioxidants and fiber. Healthy fats include things like avocados and coconut oil, which help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Eating healthy and balanced meals means you not only improve your overall health, but also stay focused all day long as a result.
Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule
Getting enough sleep is absolutely necessary if you want to maintain enough energy to get through the day. 8 hours is optimal, but you may choose to sleep between 7 and 9 hours depending on your schedule and how much sleep you need. The sleep you get should also be consistent — going to bed at 10 PM one night and 2 AM the next won’t help nearly as much. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
As mentioned earlier, exercise can also help you sleep better at night. Better quality sleep means you wake up feeling more rested than you would otherwise. You should also avoid your phone or computer right before bed. The blue light they emit tells your brain that it’s daytime, reducing the production of melatonin and therefore making you feel less sleepy.
Balancing work and your home life in a functional way can be exhausting. Feeling tired after a long day is absolutely normal, but if the fatigue becomes chronic, the problem is more serious. Fortunately, you only need to make some simple changes to your lifestyle to reduce this fatigue and feel healthier and more alert throughout the day. Following these simple tips, even if you start with just a few, will help you create the energy and lifestyle you want.