10 Ways to Naturally Increase Your Energy
It’s that time of year when the days are shorter yet we have more to pack in between waking up and going to bed thanks to the impending holiday season. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and reach for an afternoon pick-me-up of a sugary snack, coffee, or energy drink to keep yourself going. But the inevitable crash that follows is a sure sign that those are just temporary fixes. Here are 10 ways to naturally increase energy throughout the long days and simultaneously keep your body happy and healthy:
1. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar ups and downs, making mood swings more frequent. This includes caffeinated teas as well as coffee!
2. Drink water. Most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Before you go to sugar or caffeine, have a glass of water and wait to see what happens. Whatever you do, skip the sodas (diet and regular) – period!
3. Eat dark leafy green veggies. Greens are full of vitamins and nutrients and are great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood and strengthening the immune system.
4. Use gentle sweets, in moderation. Avoid sugar and toxic artificial sweeteners no matter what! Instead look to locally sourced, high quality maple syrup and stevia if you need a little sweetness in your food. Sweet veggies such as yams, carrots and beets also help. (Note: new research has shown that brown rice syrup and agave nectar, while they sound like healthy substitutes for sugar, are just as damaging to the body as plain old white sugar. My advice is to avoid or to use very, very sparingly.)
5. Get physical. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day make sure you get some physical activity, preferable outside to help increase your exposure to the sun.
6. Get more sleep and R&R. When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy and work to get it from whatever natural or artificial sources it can. Make sure you’re getting quality sleep at night – and if you can sneak in a 20 minute nap during the afternoon, do it!
7. Evaluate the amount of animal food you consume. Eating too much or too little animal food can lead to low energy. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what’s right for your unique body. If you do eat meat, make sure it’s locally sourced, pasture raised/grass fed, and organic. Check out a farmer’s market in your area for these high-quality meats.
8. Take time for yourself. Find activities that restore your energy, such as a walk, a bath, an afternoon at a museum, a movie, a good book, or whatever it is that recharges you. Schedule a weekly date with yourself and don’t let anyone interrupt your “me time”!
9. Get in touch with your spirituality. We are spiritual beings living in a physical world. Find whatever it is that helps you connect to the world on a spiritual level. Some ideas are meditating, yoga, dancing, church or temple, or volunteering.
10. Limit or remove draining relationships. People can drain you of your energy. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, but make note of who they are and how they affect you. See if you can transform those relationships with open communication and setting boundaries, or decide if it’s time to go separate ways.