- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Shake up your routineSometimes, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Speak upSometimes 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.
- BreatheAsk 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:
Try it. Now.
- · Breathe in through your nose four times (say 1…2…3…4)
- · Hold your breath as you count to 7 (say 220.127.116.11.5.6.7)
- · Exhale through your mouth thinking 1…2…3…4
- 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!
- 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!
- Beat the post-lunch hazeA 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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!)