How to have more energy?
There’s nothing more beautiful than those rare occasions when you wake up brimming with energy, and feeling excited about the day ahead, is there?
Have you ever thought about how fun and effortless your life would seem if you managed to harness that feeling every day?
It would be like a fairytale!
Of course the problem is that it’s tough to harness energy and passion, and then on top of that, manage to hold onto it day in and day out.
I mean sure, it helps if your life is chock full of things that are exciting and energizing to wake up for, but it’s not actually necessary.
I’d like to share with you five strategies for gathering more energy that have made a huge difference in my ability and desire to face the day head on – and feel great about it.
These simple strategies don’t take much time or effort, but they really work.
So, how to have more energy?
1.Breathe More Fully
In the midst of a busy and stressful day you can easily forget to breathe.
I know that sounds ridiculous, but think about it for a moment.
When was the last time you consciously took time to breathe fully?
Try this. Stop for a few seconds. Seated, standing, or even lying down, place one hand on your lower abdomen, relax your shoulders, and take a slow breath in through the nose. On the inhale, aim to fill your belly with air. Try to count to 6 (slowly) before you complete the breath.
On the exhale, also aim for a slow count of 6, and deliberately let go all tension from your neck, jaw and shoulders as you fully release the breath. A trick that may work for you, as it has for me, is to set an alarm on your watch or computer for hourly ‘breathing time’.
2.Move More Regularly
This is one of my favorite tips on how to have more energy.
If you want to feel energized and alive, then you need to move more regularly. This doesn’t mean jumping straight into a 3-4 times a week gym habit.
The truth is that even 10-minutes a day of movement can make a tremendous difference in the way you feel, function and look. Personally, I find the best time to move is first thing in the morning, but moving can also be a great time-out from your daytime duties.
Try this bodyweight circuit:
First, stand up tall and straight, with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your chest and eyes elevated, stick your butt out and lower your body like you’re sitting onto a chair. Come back up. That’s a squat. Repeat 15-20 times at a slow tempo.
Next, starting from the same position, take a big step forward. Raise your back heel, keep your body upright, and bend your front knee as you lower your back knee down. Now push back. That’s a lunge. Aim for 10-15 on each leg.
Finally, drop to the floor and go through 10-15 slow push-ups, either on your knees or on your toes. Keep your chin tucked in and your abdominals pulled in towards the spine. Repeat these exercises until you get to the 10-minute mark, taking 20-40 second rests where needed. You’ll be surprised at how ‘worked’ you feel, and all without leaving the office or house!
3.Nourish More Completely
Did you know that it’s entirely possible; in fact it’s quite common, for people in the Western world to be undernourished?
I don’t mean underfed!
I’m talking about regularly eating real food that nourishes both your body and soul.
Of course it generally takes a little more time and effort, but not much more than nipping out to the nearest take-away.
The truth is that it’s very simple to cook large amounts (for leftovers) of things like casserole, stir-fry, and slow-cooked foods. It’s often more the idea of preparing a meal that tires us out than the reality.
A couple of simple ‘rules’ around choosing energizing food are to eat mainly foods that your Grandmother would recognize as real, to include some form of good fat, lean protein, and fresh carbohydrate (such as seasonal green veggies) at each meal, and – my favorite – all things in moderation; including moderation!
4.Relax More Thoroughly
You know all the ‘rules’ about taking time out for yourself, don’t you? But tell me this.
How often do you actually do it?
And, do you truly embrace it?
You can spend a whole day at a spa (not that I’m guessing you do very often) and still not relax fully.
Your mind is full of all the things you ‘could’ or ’should’ be doing.
Alternatively, why not try spending just 10 minutes to mindfully relax and feel 100% rejuvenated. It’s tough to relax if you’re constantly overloading yourself with an unrealistic amount of tasks, or if you suffer from a busy mind.
Something that’s freed up a lot of mental space and energy for me is using note-keeping apps on my phone. Evernote is great (and free), and it means that as soon as something pops into my head I can get it out of my head and leave space for, well, living. Part of learning to relax just comes down to forming new habits.
Try this. For 21 days, set your alarm for 10-15 minutes earlier (and actually get up). Use this quiet time to simply sit still – with a coffee or tea, if you like – and reflect on what you’d like to get out of the day. You’ll probably find it tough to quiet your thoughts at first, but I guarantee you’ll get better with practice and will soon be starting the day feeling truly calm and relaxed.
5.Get Your Passion On
There’s nothing that zaps energy more than pursuing worthless endeavors that are not really important to you.
You may not be at the stage of your life where it’s realistic to chuck your career in and start afresh, but there’s no reason you can’t introduce elements of passion and zeal into your current life, is there?
Take a few moments now to think about what excites you; what gets you fired up.
The best way to do this is by scribbling down some notes. Set yourself a goal of writing down 20 things you find inspiring.
You could think about:
- learning a new skill
- brushing up on an old one
- teaching somebody something you’re already good at
- creating a hobby or social club
- creating a daily exercise habit
- planning a date night
Once you have your list of 20, draw a circle around the 5 things that most ‘jump out’ at you. Now schedule time – even 30 minutes – for at least 3 of those items over the next 7 days. Save the other 2 for the following week! It really does help you to feel energized when you have something to look forward to!
I’m sure there are a myriad of other strategies you already use to ignite your enthusiasm and gather more energy. Perhaps you could share some of them in the comments. I’d love to hear what works for you!