Out of steam by early afternoon? Can’t stop yawning? Dreaming of bedtime before 9am? Many things from intense workouts to a bout of a flu can leave us feeling temporarily drained, and in such cases we’d best give our body the rest it needs. But sometimes we lack energy without any obvious cause. If fatigue becomes a regular occurrence, we may need to take a closer look at our lifestyle, while occasional energy slumps can often be remedied with a few simple and fun energy boosters.
First, the basics
No quick fix will restore our energy levels if we aren’t meeting our body’s essential requirements for efficient energy production. Check you’ve got the basics covered:
We need proper fuel to keep us going: eat regularly and check that your meals include complex carbs (veggies and whole grains) that release energy slowly, protein and healthy fats (think nuts, seeds and “good” oils) as well as B-vitamins (try beans and lentils). If you’re constantly tired and get out of breath easily, you might be low on vitamin B12 or iron – speak to your health care practitioner.
Even mild dehydration can cause a noticeable dip in our energy levels. So down a glass if you’re starting to feel fatigued – and set reminders if you keep forgetting to drink enough water.
We need a steady supply of oxygen to stay mentally alert and physically energised. If stress and tension is causing you to take shallow breaths, take regular mini breaks to breathe deeply. Check your posture too: sitting up straight allows more air into our lungs than hunching over the desk.
Adequate sleep is vital if we want to feel energised during our waking hours. Erratic sleeping patterns as well as lack of sleep can really tire us out, so try to stick to a regular bedtime and make sure you’re getting at least seven or eight hours of shut-eye every night.
While an intense workout session can leave us exhausted for the rest of the day, engaging in low-intensity physical activity on a regular basis can help banish fatigue and elevate our energy levels significantly. Try morning yoga or go for a lunchtime walk – and stretch and move a little at work too to boost your circulation.
Quick tips and tricks
Sometimes re-invigorating ourselves is as easy as leaving the stuffy indoors and stepping outside to breathe some fresh air. Sunlight helps us stay more alert too by regulating sleep hormones, so the second best thing is to work by a window.
Put on upbeat music
Music has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects on us. Upbeat music in particular can improve productivity and boost motivation, so put on your favourite high tempo tunes when you need a quick pick-me-up.
Certain scents have a refreshing, stimulating effect on the brain – try adding a few drops of essential oils like lemon, rosemary or peppermint into a vaporiser (or a small dish of hot water) when you want to shake off fatigue.
Just as a nice warm bath can help us relax and wind down, a cold shower in the morning can jolt us into action mode (from less sick days at work, to help combatting depression and anxiety and an energy boost comparable to a cup of coffee – scientific studies abound with the benefits). Try splashing cold water on your face when a shower isn’t practical.
Have a laugh
The most fun way to boost your energy levels? Share a joke, or watch a funny video – whatever makes you laugh. Having a chuckle releases endorphins which help you feel more refreshed and alert.2