What do you do when your to-do list is overflowing, and the weather is really hot and sweaty? I would love a holiday, but I’ll have to wait until school closes for vacation and that is more than a month away. So in the meantime, I must find easy ways that don’t cost an arm and a leg to regroup my energies to keep me going like the superwoman I am. I am convinced I am a superwoman, you know. Blame it on the folks I work with. And I am also working on ways to clone myself. Did I hear someone say “oh my God?”
The funny thing is, I’ve worked in hotter temperatures than where I live right now and yet I find this unbearable. Maybe because I am used to being indoors these days and enjoy the privilege of having a refrigerator that has some nice cold stuff within my reach. But seriously, I suspect that it is really because I don’t have the endless store of energy I used to have. This sweating is really making me feel lethargic and it is an effort to get through the day.
Indeed. So enough of that boring blah-blah. It is so easy to allow things to get to us! Let’s look, instead, at how to conquer the fatigue and reclaim that lost energy. Let’s take action! Here are some super-easy ways that helped me recover my energy and made me feel instantly better.
Deep breathing exercises
Really. This helps whenever you feel tired. Just drop what you are doing. Get ready to take a few long, deep breaths. Sit straight, close your eyes and breathe gently, slowly. Inhale through your nose and exhale with your mouth. Repeat until your heart rate is under control. This lets oxygen into your body, lowers your blood pressure, and relaxes your keyed up muscles. With each breath, think about how you’re letting your body refresh itself with the oxygen. (More on the right breathing technique)
Sometimes, when I work on a writing project, I find that the endless text makes me drowsy. I love to reach for that cup of coffee that gives me the illusion of being infused with a fresh dose of energy. But. There’ something else that works better. Getting up and moving not only renews the flow of blood in the body, but also feels good. Every hour, I make it a point to take a mini-break – just a couple of minutes. I get up, do a few stretches. I walk around the house and sometimes do a five minute chore. Oh, I have a long list of those. The movement gets the circulation going and restores your energy, along with the satisfaction of fixing something and getting it off your list. (Six reasons to exercise)
Bite into a healthy snack
There are days when, in spite of a timely breakfast, I feel peckish and somewhat dull in the middle of the morning. To get those sleepy blood sugar levels back up, an energy filled snack is the answer. I love pistachios and was very pleased to find out, years ago, that they’re listed as a healthy snack. I also enjoy fruits – bananas, apples, pears and pomegranates, and now, with mango season starting up, I am dreaming of chilled smoothies all the way. So refreshing.
I read this somewhere and fell in love with the phrase. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Cool or not, water happens to be the best way to fight fatigue. You already know why you should drink up those eight glasses of water every day. This is very important because when our body gets dehydrated, the vital oxygen flow to our organs can slow down – and make you feel the loss of energy. So go forth and sip. If plain water is too boring for you, add some excitement to it with fruit juice or a dash of lemon – or opt for iced green tea – it will do wonders for your health.
You’re familiar with my Sundays in my city posts where I show off my photography thanks to Unknown Mami’s initiative. I love to take a stroll around my area and photograph everything in sight. But you don’t have to be a shutterbug to enjoy this. When stress attacks your energy levels, looking at something pleasing can be an instant “upper”. This is especially true for those who hold desk jobs. Looking at scenes you like triggers the release of those happy chemicals in the brain and this boosts your immune system, which, in turn, raises your mood. So just take a few minutes off and go look at something you enjoy seeing. If nature scenes are not accessible, keep a bunch of your favorite pictures handy. Even easier when you work at the computer. Create a folder with your favorite photos and feel your energy come back.
So stress is eating away at your energy and maybe you can’t get to the bottom of what is causing your stress. What you can do is choose how to react. Go for a stroll and make it a routine habit. Choose to do it early in the morning or whenever you can spare at least twenty minutes. If you have a park near where you stay, that’s great. I head to my terrace every evening at 5.30 with my son to walk, watch the sunset and the birds. As you stroll, observe everything around you and focus. Allow your thoughts to flow freely. Let your breathing be even and steady. Soon you’ll find yourself relaxing and feel better.
Let the fingers do the talking
My Grandmother always advised a relaxing head massage when we looked as though we would wilt. A gentle scalp massage with oil relieves tension. If you are not used to oil massages, brushing your hair can also be soothing. It also invigorates your scalp, increasing your awareness. Even better, get someone to do it for you for double the goodness. The trick is in the repeated movements that cause the feeling of calm to settle over you.
Catch up on your carbs
Our body depends on carbohydrates for fuel. This means healthy complex carbs like wholegrain breads, brown rice, fiber-rich cereals, fruits, veg and legumes. Avoid white pasta, white bread, and other white flour based goodies that are high in sugar. Maybe you feel a rush of energy when you eat them, but the high is quickly followed by a lousy low. Go for colorful fruits and veg. I just love biting into a juicy tomato or nibbling on a carrot or radish. Healthy carbs add nutrition while building your energy store and maintaining your blood sugar levels.
Laugh a lot
This is guaranteed to work. No wonder they have laughter clubs where people just get together and laugh – setting their tension free and regaining their energy. Laughter has many benefits. Ask any child. Laughter is like a stretching exercise for your whole body as it boosts your circulation, recharges your breathing while oxygenating your brain, wakes up your muscles and generally makes you feel great. No group to laugh with? No problem. Read a hilarious book or some jokes that make you laugh. Watch a comedy show. Chat up a friend and laugh together. Lighten up and lose the stress.
Get enough zzz
Did you know that a lack of adequate sleep can mess up your system? It can play havoc with your energy levels. I realized this because of late, I’ve been sleeping around 1 am and waking up at my usual 5.30 am every day. Now – I am someone that gets by with an average five hours of good sleep. I am one of those lucky people who is off to dreamland the moment my head meets my pillow. But a steady run of late nights and being up early was beginning to show through fatigue. Add to this, the hot weather. Not my favorite combo, I tell you. I also found that when I went to bed at 1 am, I wouldn’t drop off to sleep right away. I’d be wide awake for at least another hour. Crazy. So make sure you have a regular bed time and wake up time that lets you sleep well. Also check to see if your bed is comfortable – sometimes all that tossing and turning can be caused because of this. And don’t forget to make your bed every day as soon as you wake up. Nothing like a neatly made bed to invite you to sleep.
Enough said, eh? So crank up that volume (or not) and listen to your favorite melodies and energize yourself.
Are you posture perfect?
No? Neither am I. But I am conscious of it most of the time, especially when I learned the benefits of positive posture. Sit straight. It is not difficult. In fact, you’ll find that when you develop the habit of sitting straight with your abs pulled in, you can sit comfortably for longer. It seems that your sitting posture can influence the way oxygen flows in your body. When you sit slumped, the oxygen flow decreases. If all it takes is to sit straight to conserve your energy levels, would you not do it? And anyway, posture impacts our self-esteem, confidence and how we see ourselves.
I can think of 30 things that make me happy, but here are some real quick energy-boosters:
- Recall a happy moment
- Smile at someone, anyone
- Hug someone
- Donate something
- Cook something
- Call a friend
- Read a post from your favorite blog
- Sing a song
- Have a long leisurely bath
- Soak your feet in warm water
- Take stock of what you want to do
- Make a wish list
- Enjoy a power nap
- Watch a movie
- Create a vision board
- Send yourself flowers
- Play a game
- Say a prayer
- Add to this list
So you see, it is all in our hands. We have the power to make a difference. Take action now. Don’t let your tiredness spoil your day.