BraunS/iStockA low-energy lifestyle leaves you with low energy. A high-energy lifestyle leaves you with lots of energy. For most people, it’s that simple.
Find yourself dive-bombing the couch by midafternoon? Feeling more sluggish than a hungover sloth? Envying the boundless energy of your kids or grandchildren—or even your on-the-go next-door neighbor? Don’t blame your age; blame your lifestyle.
Indeed, with just a few easy changes to your daily routine, we guarantee that the seemingly permanent imprint of your backside on the La-Z-Boy will rise up and vanish, along with your inertia. Your friends and family may start asking what you’re taking. Tell them nothing, except some good healthy advice.
1. Nurse a coffee throughout the day. If you need a quadruple shot of espresso just to bring your eyelids to half-mast in the morning, you may be driving yourself deeper and deeper into a low-energy rut. Compelling research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and other institutions finds that frequent low doses of caffeine—the amount in a quarter-cup of coffee—were more effective than a few larger doses of caffeine in keeping people alert.
2. Lighten your glycemic load. Foods with a low glycemic load—like beans, bran cereal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and nuts—have less impact on your blood sugar than foods with a high glycemic load—like white rice, spaghetti, potatoes, cornflakes, and sugary juices and drinks. Eating more low-glycemic-load foods will help you keep your blood sugar steady and avoid the lightheadedness and “shakes” associated with blood sugar drops, which usually follow spikes.
3. If you have dried rosemary in your kitchen, crush a small handful and take a whiff or three. The herb’s intense woody fragrance is known to herbalists as an invigorating stimulant.
4. Once a day, go for a 10-minute “thank you” walk. As you walk, focus your thoughts on what you feel most thankful for. After the walk, make a mental note of how you feel. “This simple technique combines the power of gratefulness with the positive effects of walking and exercise, flooding your brain with happy neurotransmitters and endorphins. It’s a simple yet powerful exercise that energizes the mind and body and builds mental and physical muscle,” says Jon Gordon, a professional speaker, energy coach, and author of Become an Energy Addict.
5. When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, picture a stop sign. Then either push the thought out of your mind or replace it with a positive one. “Negative feelings take a lot of mental energy,” says Kathleen W. Wilson, M.D., an internal medicine specialist and author of When You Think You Are Falling Apart. “Whenever possible, avoid unnecessary self-criticism. Stop blaming yourself for past events that you cannot change, and know that you deserve the same level of consideration and mercy as others.”
6. Drink two glasses of icy water. Fatigue is often one of the first symptoms of dehydration, and if all you’ve sipped all day is coffee and soft drinks, it’s quite likely you’re dehydrated. Plus, the refreshing coldness will serve as a virtual slap in the face.
7. Soak a washcloth in icy water and place it over your face. The icy coolness of the washcloth will quickly rejuvenate your facial muscles and eyes. It likely will lift your spirits as well.
8. Get enough iron. Constantly dragging yourself around? You could have iron-deficiency anemia, a common cause of fatigue. Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your body’s cells, where it is used to produce energy. Good food sources of iron are red meat, iron-fortified cereal, green leafy vegetables, and dried beans. You may also need a supplement; check with your doctor.
9. When someone asks you to do something, say, “Let me check my schedule and I’ll get back to you.” This gives you time to think about the request and decide if it’s something you really want to do, or simply an energy-sucking waste of your time.
10. Have your thyroid checked. If it’s not producing enough thyroid hormone, it could be making you feel tired and run-down. A simple blood test will tell. Other symptoms of low thyroid are dry skin, weight gain, constipation, and feeling cold.
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