Have you ever looked at your kids or your young dog, asking how you could bottle that seemingly limitless substance that keeps them ticking like the energizer bunny? Well it may not be available in packaged form but there are ways to regenerate the stuff that keeps us feeling good from morning till night…
1. Deepen Your Sleep Okay – the obvious first. The more consistently restful and time appropriate your sleep is, the more regenerative you will feel during the day. If you generally feel sleep deprived, forgo the late night TV and computer activity, aiming to be in bed ½ - 1 hour earlier. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, try 200 – 400 mg. of magnesium citrate or 150 – 300 mg. of L-Theanine, an extract from green tea, within 1 hour before bed.
2. Eat Breakfast and Continue to Eat Every 2 – 4 Hours This consistently replenishes the nutrients needed for metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar, both of which are resources for consistent energy throughout the day. If you are not hungry in the morning, there are physiological reasons for that, but push past it – your body is in greater need of nutrients.
3. Proteins, Carbs and Fats are Your Sources of Fuel Just like a car needs fuel to run efficiently, so do our bodies need theright source of fuel. Proteins, carbs and fats each break down at different rates to provide you with energy for a longer period. So eat some at each meal and snack, but bare in mind that quality matters. Check out the next practice to know what to eat.
4. Eat Like Our Prehistoric Ancestors According to geneticists, our bodies share 99% of the same genetic structure as our ancestors of 40,000 years ago, who despite having short lives due to environmental hazards that would eat them, had none of the energy-lowering, degenerative diseases that we have. Our metabolisms function well on lean sources of protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Processed foods just weren’t in the equation back then, nor should they be now (at least not from an energy enhancing health perspective). To balance things out a little, feel free to add in whole grains (i.e. oats, barley, quinoa and wild rice), beans and legumes (i.e. kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas), those carbs that have a low glycemic load.
5. Breathe Deeply and Consciously The more breath taken in,the more oxygen gets to the cells and the more energy is produced. Whenever your energy is starting to lag, close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, imagining that you have a hollow bamboo tube running from the top of your head to the base of the spine. Draw the breath down to the base of the tube and back up. Do this for 5 breaths to start. Consistent and conscious deep breathing throughout the day is one of the quickest ways to see a change in your energy level.
6. Move Your Body There is nothing like exercise to revive the body and mind. A regular exercise routine is ideal but even a short spurt of movement in the middle of the day may be all that you need to provide a boost to your energy and a clearing of the mind. So next time you get that mid-afternoon lull, rather than grabbing a Café Mocha and a cookie, take a short break and go for a walk, preferably in the fresh air. Remember, like all the other suggestions made here, this is a practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
7. Tune Into the Tunes According to Robert E. Thayer, Ph.D., a mood scientist and professor of psychology at California State University and author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise, music is second only to exercise in changing your mood and increasing your energy levels. Other research bares this out, and is suggestive that the music should be self-chosen to suit your mood.
8. What About the Joy? It is just too easy in our high achieving culture to forget about the lighter side of life. However, without laughter, fun, and silly pleasures, we find ourselves on treadmills that will ultimately sap our energy. Regular activities that you do for the pure joy of it are uplifting and will contribute to your energy bank. As a suggestion, prepare ahead by making a list of 30 Things That Feed Your Soul so that in a moment when you most need some soul feeding, you don’t need to think too hard about it – you can just choose something from your list.
9. Support Your Adrenals The adrenal glands, which help us adapt to stress and will always be taxed in low energy people, are nourished with extra Vitamin C, E, Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) and the rest of the B Complex and Magnesium. Look for a buffered form of Vitamin C with bioflavanoids and a full-spectrum Vitamin E with all the tocoperols and tocotrienols. Ashwaganda, Siberian Ginseng and Rhodiola are just three of the herbs that can support adrenal function and increase energy. It is always a good idea to consult your alternative practitioner to understand which one would be best for you and in what dosage.
10. Water, Not Coffee Water, along with oxygen, is needed for every metabolic function in the body. Yet many people turn to coffee to give them a quick energy boost when what they need is more water. Also, according to Dr. Batmanghelidij, MD, author of Your Bodies Many Cries for Water, we often mistake our thirst signals as hunger signals. So if it is not coffee or some other caffeinated drink, we will look for sugary, fatty or salty foods. This leads to chronic dehydration, which leads to cellular breakdown, degenerative diseases and a direct loss of energy. If you have trouble drinking water, consider filling a pitcher and adding lemon, orange, cucumber or mint to the jug. Leave it out on your desk or wherever you spend most of your day so that you are constantly reminded to drink.
Tzabia Siegel, BAPhEd, CHN, NNCP
Tzabia is a Certified Nutritionist and Life Coach at the Toronto Athletic Club Clinic for Sports Medicine. She coaches individuals, corporate and employee wellness groups and is known for her broad approach that reflects both behaviour (mind, emotion, soul) and physiology (food, movement, rest).
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org