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Staying On Top

by Vidya Sury May 24, 2012 28 comments
I always believe that my best ideas are those that come to me as I get my coffee going – I think it is something to do with “sleeping over it” and when I wake up, I am clear-headed. Sometimes, grinning after a happy dream, but mostly ready to begin the day well. 

Considering that we all lead fairly busy lives regardless of whether we go out to work, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on how to keep your energy levels from flagging. This would be especially useful to those who work long hours and find it tough to keep going through the day, find that it cuts into quality family time and worst of all – find no time to have fun when its weekend time. 
These tips are natural ways to stay on top: 

  1. Begin your day with breakfast

    Mommy’s right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that’s official! If you tend to skip breakfast, and think you can somehow manage to make up with a huge lunch, taking emergency help from coffee or tea, the bad news is that this strategy won’t work for long. Your body will slowly lose its  ability to compensate for missing meals and continue to lag behind even if you have a great lunch.

    To cut the long story short – please make it a point to have breakfast. Some dos and don’ts to make your breakfast healthy are: 
    Don’t go for a breakfast loaded with sugar, carbohydrates, salt or empty calories because this will give you a temporary spurt of energy – and then – plunge you into drowsiness. Ugh. Cereals may be convenient, but you need to choose the right sort. It makes sense to go for a healthy meal that has the right proportion of carbohydrates, good fats and proteins.
    I know it can be a challenge to suddenly switch to making “healthy” meals in the morning, but it is worth the effort. Think healthy. And oh, by the way, if you eat breakfast regularly, it also helps you lose weight.
  2. Power of positive projection

    One of the easiest ways to get out of feeling lousy is to – smile. I’ll tell you why. Smiling is a major energy-booster. And our brain and body are tuned to respond to the way we emotionally project ourselves to the world. 

    So picture this: you project yourself as happy and energetic – and your brain picks up on this and responds in a complementary way. It might take a little while – but believe me, you will actually feel the energy flowing. And stand out from the crowd
  3. Throw away those bad thoughts 
    Yes, find those bad thoughts, pick them up and throw them out. Replace them with happy ones.
    If there’s one thing that can play havoc on our energy levels and moods, it is those negative thoughts inside our head. So identify what’s bugging you, and think of something that makes you happy. Have you planned to buy something for yourself? Would you like to spend time with someone special? Think happy thoughts. And watch yourself recovering from that bad mood.
  4. Shake up your routine
    Sometimes, a regular routine can really get on the nerves. Some routines are essential to improve efficiency, but there are times when the general routine can really get on the nerves and kill your energy. Ask me! Aside from the usual wake-up-make-coffee-make-breakfast-pack-lunch….and so on routine which we cannot do without, anything else that follows a routine in my day gets to me quickly and brings on inertia! 
    What is the solution, then? Easy – shuffle things. There’s nothing our body likes better than a challenge to function better. You see our brains produce “dopamine” or the happy chemical that rewards our body when we work hard. So this feel-good dopamine also ensures that the body is ready to face challenges. Don’t make complex shuffles and turn life upside down. J Think of things like – taking an alternate route to work, waking up 20 minutes earlier than usual – things like that. These are small efficiency boosters that raise your energy – guaranteed to put you in a good mood at work and beyond. 
  5. Keep your mind alert with a cold drink

    Those long meetings can really kill your energy, right? The brainstorming, the meetings with the higher-ups – can be deadly boring at times. Counter the feeling by drinking something cold. Iced tea, ideally. Tea is rich in antioxidants, caffeine and theanine and these are good for your body, while enhancing the natural alertness in your brain. It works.

  6. Get a shot of caffeine

    My favorite tip. If you are not getting enough sleep, that cup of quality coffee can be a wonderful start to the day. Me, personally, I prefer that south Indian “tumbler” (equal to at least two cups) in the morning. But there’s a better way to leverage your coffee. No huge mugs. Instead, go for a small half cup – say 100 ml at a time. About six to eight cups can keep you awake and alert instead of one huge mug that will only give you acidity and a bad mood. 

  7. Speak up
    Sometimes we tone down what we really think and just so we can spare others’ feelings, say something we don’t really mean. Now, this can eat away inside us. So – rather than tell white lies, it is much better to speak your mind. Tell the truth. It is better in the long run. Also you don’t have to make excuses. Best of all, you feel good about being honest. 
  8. Breathe
    Ask the Chinese. They’ll tell you that everything focuses on your breathing. It certainly helps you stay alive J When you use proper breathing techniques, it improves your energy levels. When you feel stressed and find your energy sagging, try this:
    • · Breathe in through your nose four times (say 1…2…3…4)
    • · Hold your breath as you count to 7 (say
    • · Exhale through your mouth thinking 1…2…3…4
    Try it. Now. 
  9. Use imagery to get rid of clutter

    Clutter is perhaps one of the biggest causes of stress – both at work and at home. When things are a mess, it is difficult to find what you want – and the delay in finding it can make you really mad. Enough said. You can imagine what I am saying. This is a common enough problem. So what do you do – other than cleaning up your act?

    Use imagery. Visualize that your space is how you imagine your dream room to be. If you’ve seen a room somewhere that you wish were yours, visualize it. Easy ways to instant makeovers is a fresh coat of paint, a quick rearrangement of your room; fresh curtains….you imagine the rest. It makes a big difference. And opens your doorway to happiness!
  10. Start the music

    I find that music is my all-time energy booster no matter what the reason and how low I feel. But there’s more to this than just listening to the music. Combine it with activity – preferably exercise. So put on your favorite music and exercise. Go for a brisk walk. You’ll be amazed how good you feel, while enjoying the benefit of the exercise. Get excited about life!

  11. Beat the post-lunch haze
    A busy morning. Heavy lunch. Then problems staying alert or even keeping awake sometimes. Beat this by moving a little. This will get your circulation going, distributing the oxygen and nutrients through your body, and convert into energy. But don’t go adding soda to your rewards, or even too much caffeine. 
  12. Gift yourself some chocolate

    Love chocolate? Go for the dark variety that’s rich in cocoa. The goal here is to avoid that sudden energy burst with the candy in the chocolate. What you need is some healthy protein. Think organic butter such as peanut butter – add it to your dark chocolate and enjoy. Just thinking about it gives me mental energy!

  13. Drink more water

    If you don’t drink enough water, you will lose energy when you try to compensate for the dehydration. So drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Go for foods rich in potassium (bananas, avocado) that keep your energy levels up and help you stay alert. 

  14. Practice power-napping

    If you are the sort that does not get more than 5-6 hours of sleep at night, it is important to know that a lack of sleep can result in stress. This brings down your efficiency and energy. One way to tackle this is by getting a 30-40 minute power nap in the afternoon. This can be a great energy-booster and keep your mood happy all day. Incidentally, getting enough sleep also helps lose weight.

Hmm….that’s fourteen absolutely do-able energy boosters, right?

Try them all. Try a few. And let me know how you feel.

What are your own favorite energy-boosting strategies?

(This is a repost, folks, because I am swamped with work even though I have a thousand things to say. I originally posted this in Jan 2011, but as I went through my archives, figured it still held good!)
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Betsy at Zen Mama May 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Love this post Vidya!! I love all your tips. I tried to pick a favorite but I couldn’t – they’re all equally as good. And I tried to think of one to add – maybe go out in nature. Thank you for starting my day off in such a positive way!

Your post goes perfectly with the one I just posted!

Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Nature is a wonderful thing, Betsy. Nothing uplifts as much as being out! Great addition! Thanks! And thanks again for the lovely comment!

Terri Sonoda May 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Great advice and post, Vidya! I completely believe in a good breakfast, always have. I just can’t get going without one. And your suggestions of chocolate and napping….LOVE those. Nothing like a quick nap to rejuvenate and re-energize. I especially like your idea to just Smile. I sometimes have to talk myself into that one, especially on a rough day, but it really does help. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful tips, my friend!

Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Terri – it took me years to adopt the breakfast habit. 😀 Oh yes, smiling comes easily to me. 😀 Hugs – I always love it when you come by and share your wisdom! MMuah!

thoughtstomull.com May 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Great re-post, with energy-and-mood boosting suggestions that still work!! Thanks!

Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Thank you, dear Janet!

Elle May 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Like Betsy I tried to choose my favourite, and I really liked #3 and then I really liked #4 and then…well you get the picture. Great tips and a great pick-me-up Vidya. Thank you.


Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

🙂 That rather sounds like me, Elle! 😀 Thanks for coming by!

My Inner Chick May 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

as always, your wisdom transcends across the miles.

~~you are my little zen teacher & I’m blessed to know you. Love Love Love. xx

Ps. I got excited. I thought this post might be about sex. HA haaa

Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

🙂 Tip no.15 is reserved for Sex – big upper! 🙂 Thank you, Kim. Love you too!

Vishnu May 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Vidya, thanks for sharing these tips – especially for us who missed it the first time around. If I used selecting listening on this list, basically I need to drink more coffee, have a martini a day on the rocks (you said cold drink right?), take some power naps and order a case of belgian chocolates.

I don’t have much more to say as I’m going to get started on these things immediately.

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:35 am

🙂 Vishnu. So good to see you here again! 😀 Martinis in moderation are fine, but only with one caveat. You must share them with me. I don’t mind half a case of Belgian chocolates either. Dark, please.

Loved your post over at Tim’s.

Stay well! Vidya

Cathy | Treatment Talk May 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi Vidya,

Great list of tips! I would only add exercise. That does help me keep my energy going. Your first one, eating breakfast is such a good idea and one that we can often skip when we are in a rush, but it is hard to start the day on zero fuel. Thanks for sharing!

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:38 am

Thank you, Cathy. Yes, I did add exercise in No.10.:D with the music. You’re right about exercise getting the adrenalin coursing and helping us tackle everything so much better. Love, Vidya

Unknown Mami May 25, 2012 at 6:22 pm

How’d you get so smart? Must be all that positive thinking and caffeine.

Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm

If you said it twice, it must be true 😉 Love ya!

Terri Sonoda May 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I agree with Unknown Mami and it is definitely true! Smart lady, our Vidya!

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:33 am

I am loving the “our” here Terri. You always lift me up 😀

Unknown Mami May 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm

How’d you get so smart? Must be all that positive thinking and caffeine.

Vidya Sury May 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm

😉 My secret is out! And trust you to find it! 😀

Pamela Fagan Hutchins May 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Ah, #10 is always a tough one for me. I make my second round of coffee…

I love the power of positive, and how the banishment of negativity immediately lifts part of the load we carry. My energy drags if I dwell on my wounds and wars.

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:37 am

Important message, Pamela – you’re very right about getting rid of negativity. So freeing. Power of Positive can steer us through life. Thank you so much. 😀 Love ya.

Harleena Singh May 26, 2012 at 4:38 am

Love the tips shared Vidya!I think just like you get your ideas right int he morning with a hot cup of coffee, I get mine when I go for my early morning walks and am one to one with nature. And those ideas are what keep me going and inspire me for writing my next post.This sure is a wonderful list to keep you feeling great and on top of the world! I don’t think you need to add anything else to the list. :)Thanks for sharing 🙂

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:39 am

Harleena, I so wish I could go on early morning walks, but that is not possible, so I enjoy the evening walk. I know you also see beautiful flora and fauna on yours 🙂 Thank you so much for coming by – I enjoy your input. Love, Vidya

Kimberly May 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Number 4 is so extremely hard for me. I thrive on routine and when the routine needs to be flexed…I lose my shat. Seriously. I think it’s my Type A personality that needs everything in order. It’s also about control I think.
I love you and how you are trying so hard to put positivity in every one’s lives…simple things that we needed to be reminded of.
That’s why I love you.
And of course for just being you.

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:41 am

Dear Kim, I used to think that too. But I’ve found that starting with tiny changes works. 😀 I believe that positivity has helped me get through some really shitty moments in life – and of course I am eternally grateful to my Mom who cultivated it in me.

I love you too – Hugs, Vidya

Nikky44 May 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I’m glad you re-posted it. I loved it, so interesting, easy to apply and very helpful tips!

Vidya Sury May 30, 2012 at 5:42 am

Thank you, dear Nikky! 🙂 Love, Vidya


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