Feeling less than energetic lately? More coffee is not the answer – it simply leads to adrenal exhaustion and increased fatigue over time. Of course, if the mere thought of a caffeine-free day causes panic in the depths of your soul, fret not! Here at myWholeLIfe, we have all-natural, surefire techniques to energize your body and leave you feeling better than you ever thought possible.
Most of us take quick, shallow breaths that deprive the body and brain of much needed oxygen. On the other hand, deep breathing helps to saturate our cells with oxygen. When practiced regularly, deep breathing can increase self-awareness and energize the entire body.[i]
To learn the art of proper breathing, lie on your back with a hand or book on your belly and inhale deeply, expanding your stomach. Continue to inhale into the lower and then the upper lungs, taking in all the air you can hold. Retain your breath for a few moments, and then slowly breathe out from your upper to your lower lungs, to your abdomen, pressing your naval to your spine and expelling all the air out of your body. Practice this technique for at least ten minutes a day; before you know it, you’ll be feeling better than ever.
*For more breathing exercises to help instantly energize you, Google “pranayama techniques”
- Not all of us have the luxury of getting a full eight hours of sleep every night. However, you can optimize the quality of sleep that you experience for better energy.
- To ensure you get the most restful and rejuvenating sleep possible, commit to the following sleep habits:
- Avoid caffeine (including coffee, tea and chocolate) for at least 8 hours before bedtime.
- Limit liquid intake, sugary foods and refined flours within three hours of bedtime to prevent nighttime bathroom trips and blood sugar imbalances.[ii]
- Never bring electronics into the bedroom.
- Make sure your room is cool, silent and pitch black (or use an eye mask to block out excess light). If you live in a noisy environment, try sleeping with a fan on, to drown out noise pollution.[iii]
- Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- If you have problems falling asleep, try taking a hot Epsom salt bath, journaling, meditating, concentrating on your breathing, or any other relaxation technique that helps settle your body and mind.[iv]
Balance Your Blood Sugar
When you consume foods – such as refined flour and sweeteners – that spike your blood sugar, your body pumps out excess insulin in attempt to utilize available blood sugars. Next, blood sugar levels drop dramatically, leaving you feeling tired, lethargic and perhaps even unable to concentrate. Wildly fluctuating blood sugars may exhaust your adrenal glands over time, leading to increased fatigue and cravings for foods that further feed this cycle.[v]
To stabilize energy levels, you need to stabilize blood sugar levels. Limit foods that contain added sugars and refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, and most starchy packaged foods). Balance refined carbohydrate choices with fibre, healthy fat or protein to slow absorption. For balanced blood sugars, what you eat is as important as what you don’t. Our Blood Sugar app has a complete list of blood sugar balancing food choices http://ow.ly/t5Bkv . Want to learn more about the root cause of blood sugar imbalances? Read our innovative eBook http://ow.ly/xqHqj.
I learned something interesting while studying yoga in India: Ayurveda teaches that the body creates all of the energy it needs for a given time period but rapid thoughts, negativity, stress, and improper breathing can rapidly deplete energy stores. While this theory is not based in modern science, in practice, there’s no denying that mentally challenging work, an argument, a stressful event or constant overthinking leave us feeling physically exhausted.
Yoga strives to restore quiet to the body and mind, so that energy isn’t unnecessary wasted. The practice addresses a multitude of factors that play into energy levels: deep breathing, relaxation, meditation and physical movement.[vi] [vii] As a bonus, it will enhance your strength, posture and flexibility in the process and provide you with an increased since of wellbeing.[viii]
Need a quick fix? Try these quick tips!
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 cups of non-caffeine fluid daily.
- Try using full spectrum blue lights in your office (to simulate the light of the sun).
- Sing your favourite song at the top of your lungs on your commute
- Exercise regularly (including aerobic and strength training)
- Spend time in nature, no matter the weather
- Try alternating hot and cold showers to stimulate circulation and instantly boost energy. Start with 1-2 minutes of hot water, followed by 30 seconds of cold water (as cold ad you handle). Repeat for a total of 3 rounds.