Tired? What you need is a pick-me-up without the beat-me-up of caffeine! Reenergize now, naturally!
The desire for sustained energy, or greater energy production, seems to be a common theme these days in any of the fitness, health, or wellness rags that you read. Year after year, energy improvements are one of the top reasons clients run to personal trainers or other health professionals. Either they are looking for more energy to get through their day or they are looking to balance their levels of fluctuating energy so that coffee and caffeine do not become their drug of choice.
Lack of energy can hold us back from the activities in life that we truly want to dive into and spend our precious time involved with. Maybe you do not have enough energy at the end of the day to play with your children after a long day at work. Maybe you do not have enough energy to motivate you to push through a workout to achieve your health goals. Maybe, just maybe, you do not have enough energy to get you off the couch and away from the motivation drainer: the television. However it affects you, it can be a serious issue when you are dealing with the less-than-inspired feelings and emotions that low energy can produce.
Finding the root cause is fundamental so that you can squash your imbalance at its foundation. If your hormones are unbalanced or you are lacking vital energy producing nutrients in your body, then simple fixes will never really be sustainable and will often begin to lose their luster over time. If you are constantly stressed out and living in avoidance of those energy robbers in your life, then you will never really be able to heal yourself or create sustainable levels of energy. Remember, mind and body and spirit, when aligned, create abundant amounts of energy within. Even though all of this is truth and you may have heard this time and time again, let's get real—sometimes, you just need some helpful tips to increase your energy in the moment and that can also help you create healthy, life-long balanced energy rather than bad habits that will leave you feeling more depleted.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that- here are some new tools to add to your toolbox:
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is a true powerhouse for increasing energy and mental alertness. It is one of my favorites, not only to increase my energy, but to increase my motivation and focus when I have heavy, uninspired eyelids. Peppermint essential oil is so versatile and easy to use. Want to get started this very moment? Rub a drop of oil under the nose to help improve concentration and alertness or rub to the back of the neck and shoulders throughout the day for sustained energy levels. You can diffuse the oil in the room to improve concentration or topically apply the oil during the mid-afternoon lull to help you cut back on caffeine. Want to bump up your workout? Inhale before and during your workout to help boost your mood and decrease fatigue.
Eat the Right (Super) Foods
Yes, nutrition is so important for energy sustainability, but it you want to really hack into certain foods to get you through a lull, there are foods that are energy powerhouses that will create abundant energy within you in a very short period. Having a balance of macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) are essential for overall sustained energy. If you are eliminating certain macronutrients, you are more likely to be starting on a lower tank of energy in the first place. Eating whole-foods that are minimally processed, raw, and natural will decrease the energy needed to digest the foods and increase the energy reserved for other activities. Focus on raw fruits and vegetables. Raw foods are alive and transfer their life force (energy) to you when consumed. I also love experimenting with some of the proclaimed "superfoods." Try putting 2–3 tablespoons of chia seeds into your smoothie or chilled tea. Add a teaspoon of maca powder to your smoothie. Mix cacao powder or cacao nibs into your foods. My favorite is taking 2 bananas, 2 avocados, 1/4 cup of cacao powder, and stevia as needed and food processing it until it is smooth and pudding-like. Delicious!
Breathe Deep, Have Gratitude, Meditate, Repeat
Have you ever woke up in the morning and felt angry? I mean, really angry (or frustrated, anxious, sad, etc). What symptoms typically push to the forefront? For me, I get a tight upper chest, clenched muscles in my shoulders and neck, shallow breathing, and negative thoughts that revolve around lack and irritation. Instead of waking up with a full tank of energy in my system, I am operating on 50%, at best! By creating a morning ritual, regardless of how angry or not you are that morning, you can increase that energy tank to optimal levels. That ritual formula is so very simple, yet so overlooked and dismissed as an "if I have time" practice. Breathe deep, have gratitude, meditate, and repeat. That's it! Opening up your energy flow by allowing the breath to deeply flow from the diaphragm (not the upper chest) is a critical step to allowing your muscles to relax and opening up the energy portals in the body. Acknowledging 3–5 things you are deeply grateful for and why you are grateful for them will turn your lack and irritation mindset to one of abundance and optimism. Taking 5–15 minutes of a mindful meditation to calm the "monkey mind" and create internal harmony will retrain the brain for decreased stress when chaos is all around you. This simple tactic every morning will not only increase your energy levels in the moment, but it will also create long-lasting results.
Go for a Walk Outside
Nature heals the body on a level that can be more powerful than some western medicines and pharmaceuticals. In Japan, there is a preventative therapy called "Shinrin-yoku." It means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing," and it involves taking gentle walks in nature while immersing yourself in all the sensory splendor surrounds you. By simply allowing yourself to breathe deep and be healed by the energy of nature, your stress levels will automatically decrease. Stress is an energy vampire, and it sucks the life right out of you. When you decrease your stress, your energy instantly increases, along with positivity and gratitude.
Declare Your Breakdown
I recently learned about declaring your breakdown and, after implementing it, I realized how incredible it is for energy boosting. Basically, it is a way to handle breaks in transparency that cause increased stress and suck your energy levels dry. Declaring your breakdown is about taking back your self-empowerment. When you take back your self-empowerment, you take back your freedom and cut the restraints of your fears, anxieties, and self-criticisms. This automatically boosts your energy flow and increases your focus and alertness. With the help of Kristen Albert, owner of Turning Points LLC, and with inserting some questions that resonated with me, I came up with a breakdown technique that really increases my personal energy and empowerment. So, how do you declare your breakdown?
Well, first you declare it! Find a word or phrase that is powerful for you. When you feel like you are being knocked off your course of inner harmony and peace and being pushed towards stress and reaction to a situation (i.e., your child relentlessly whining, chronic depression,or anxiety, a confrontational situation that creates fear), say that word or phrase silently or aloud and begin to become very mindful of the immediate situation and surroundings.
- "What is true and real in the immediate situation?"
- "How do I feel physically and mentally right this moment?"
- "What do I need right now?"
- "How can I give myself what I need?"
- "Who can support me if I need support?"
When you have this information, you can begin to change your mindset in the moment, recreating that inner harmony, and take small consistent steps to make changes, so you fix what knocked you off your proverbial rocked-boat.
Energy vampires are in our environment every day and everywhere. No one is truly immune to them; just some are better armed than others. You are in control of your energy levels and have so many more tools than you realize that are easily accessible and at your fingertips. Sometimes, it is simply about education, implementing, and practicing until you find what is the "special sauce" that rocks your energetic world!