Do you wake up sleepy most mornings? Have caffeinated drinks become a necessity to get you through the day? If this sounds familiar to you, it's time to ditch the quick fixes you rely on and develop a power management plan. Getting started may seem daunting, but you'll soon have the energy to keep going once you reap the benefits of a happier, healthier, more productive life.
What is energy management?
Think of your energy as a limited resource, like money in an account. You start the day with a certain amount of money, which varies from person to person based on factors such as age, sleep, stress levels, medical conditions and lifestyle. During your day, multiple transactions (activities) take place as you draw energy from and deposit into your account. While you may not always be in control of activities that consume your energy, you can take steps to fund more energy into your account.
Follow these 7 tips to increase your energy and live a happier, healthier and more productive life:
1. Eat nutritious foods.
We all know that healthy eating is the crux of well-being, but it is common to see healthy eating primarily as a means of weight loss. However, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 2015, a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains is what you need for optimal energy. After all, you really are what you eat to some degree. Consume a variety of foods from all food groups to get a range of nutrients that will give you energy throughout the day. Opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, especially nutrient-dense dark leafy greens and broccoli, as well as orange vegetables, including carrots and sweet potatoes. There are many types of fish and legumes to choose from for healthy protein options. Aim to eat 3 ounces of whole grains, bread, rice or pasta daily.
2. Sleep seven to eight hours a night.
Sleeping more seems to be a healthy habit that many people need to improve. We already know that we have to close our eyes for at least seven hours every night, so what's stopping us from getting it? Think about how you can improve your biggest sleep disruptors and know this: Sleep deprivation can perpetuate serious health problems and negatively affect your mood, motivation and energy levels. Prioritizing sleep is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for a successful, energetic day.
3. Keep company with good people.
Maximize the amount of time you spend with people you enjoy being with. Connecting with others who radiate positivity and have similar interests will excite and energize you. On the other hand, people you don't have a relationship with or who have a negative outlook, complain often or make poor choices will only add to your energy bill. Be selective in the business you keep.
4. Avoid an overdose of news.
The news is an important way to stay informed about what is happening in the world. It can be educational, entertaining and even uplifting. Unfortunately, the news is too often bombarded with stories of suffering. These stories can distort your view of the world and cause you to focus on your worst fears instead of recognizing the good around you. You can't completely avoid these stories, but try to limit your exposure as much as possible, especially during difficult times.
5. Get regular exercise.
Do you find yourself feeling lethargic in the middle of the day? Have you ever become breathless from simple everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping or household chores? Contrary to what you may think, getting the 150-minute weekly activity recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans can add to your energy bill, not subtract from it. How? Exercise relieves stress and tension, strengthens muscles and increases endurance, allowing your body to work more efficiently during other physical tasks or activities.
6. Do something meaningful every day.
What do you feel passionate about? Do you have a special talent that you would like to practice more often or share with others? Do something you enjoy every day, even if it's something as simple as cooking a healthy meal or listening to your favorite song. By focusing on the things that matter most to you, you can use and reserve your energy in ways that bring out the best in you.
7. Think good thoughts for others.
Maintaining a compassionate mindset is another ma kidney to save energy. An example of practicing this way of thinking is kind attention. For example, try making eye contact with a stranger and smile while thinking, "I wish you the best." This positive act can actually ensure that you do not judge that person. Judging others can lead us to judge ourselves, and that kind of negative internal dialogue can be exhausting.
You'll feel better with every step you take toward this important self-care investment.
Here are a few simple activities that will help you become more aware of taking care of yourself:
Watch your energy.
Take your energy "temperature" at various points during the day and rate it from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest energy level. Pay attention to the details of your day so you can identify the people or events that impact you the most.
Make incremental changes.
Once you are aware of some of the people or events that are sabotaging your energy, consider your next steps. Instead of tackling everything at once, pick an area that's important to you and be realistic with the goals you set. For example, if the disorganization in your home is a major source of daily stress, choose a closet, cupboard, or drawer to tidy up every week rather than overwhelm yourself doing everything at once. Then move on to your next goal when you're ready.
Plan and prioritize.
Keep in mind the times of the day when your energy levels are highest. Determine how you can take advantage of those moments by prioritizing important tasks when you're feeling fresh and productive.
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