We all feel tired and grumpy sometimes, but if you find that is how you feel on a consistent basis, then you may need to examine some of your habits to see if there are things you can be doing to improve your energy levels and mood.
Here are 5 things that you can do to feel more energized and improve your mood throughout the day.
Remember to Eat
Keep your energy levels up and avoid getting “hangry” by making sure that you don’t skip meals. Your body needs fuel to run, and when you skip meals it leads to a drop in your blood sugar, which will make you feel fatigued and irritable.
Over time as your glucose levels start to drop, it makes it harder to concentrate and do simple tasks. It is also what makes it hard for you to behave acceptably within social norms, and this is when people tend to lash out at others. Because your brain is critically dependent on glucose, when they fall far enough, it can actually perceive it as a life-threatening situation.
When your body has this “fight or flight” response, it releases adrenaline, just as it would when you see, hear or think about something that threatens your safety. Just like you could easily shout out in anger or fear at someone if you were afraid, the flood of adrenaline you get during the glucose counter-regulatory response can promote a similar response.
Eat For Energy
Being careful to not skip meals helps maintain your energy, but what you are eating for those meals can have a big effect on how you feel also. Watching what you eat for heath or weight loss is different than eating specifically for energy. The main thing that you need to keep in mind is making sure that your blood sugar stays balanced so that you can maintain constant energy throughout the day. When you eat sweets, it spikes your blood sugar, giving you a burst of energy, but afterwards you experience a rapid drop in blood sugar, or crash, that will make you feel very tired. If you continue to repeat this through the day, you will end up feeling exhausted and irritable.
Refined white starches, like white bread, bagels, crackers, cereals and white rice can have the same effect as sweets on your blood sugar and mood. Try to limit these in your diet, and opt for more complex carbohydrates like vegetables, beans, whole grains, brown rice and oatmeal. Including protein in your meals and snacks will help to slow the absorption of carbohydrate in your blood, which lessens spikes and dips in your blood sugar and regulates your energy levels and mood.
Take a Walk
When you are exhausted the last thing that you want to do is move around, which seems like it would make you more tired, but in reality it can actually make you feel more energygized. Physical activity, walking in particular, has been show to increase energy levels and have a positive effect on your mood.
All it takes is a brisk 10 min walk to help boost your energy, and the effects can last up to 2 hours after. If you do this daily for 3 weeks, you should notice your overall energy and mood lifted throughout the day.
Get some Zzzz’s
Getting enough sleep is crucial for so many things, including weight loss and your overall health, and it should not be a surprise that a lack of sleep will contribute to your energy levels and overall mood. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you can feel fatigued throughout the next day, which can also make you irritable and more susceptible to stress.
According to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who got less than six hours of sleep on weekdays were more likely to describe themselves as stressed, sad, angry and pessimistic. Those who were getting adequate sleep reported more positive feelings. Research suggests that adequate sleep for most healthy adults is seven to nine hours each night.
Along with getting sleep at night, taking a power nap when you feel low on energy can be beneficial as well. We take in a lot of information as we go throughout our day, and processing it all can have a draining effect on our energy levels. Taking a 60 min nap can help reverse the effects of this information overload, and it may also help us to better retain what we have learned.
Watch What You Are Drinking
Drinking enough water has many benefits, including keeping your energy levels and mood in check. When you are dehydrated your body can confuse those signals with hunger, which can cause moodiness, and thirst can also present itself as fatigue. Even being slightly dehydrated can cause you to feel more tired than if you were to be consuming an adequate amount of water.
Conversely, alcohol can lead to dehydration, and if you are drinking in the evening then it can also affect the quality of your sleep. If you find that you are frequently fatigued still even after getting a good night’s sleep, you should try cutting out alcohol before bed. It may help you to fall asleep initially, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night. By cutting down on alcohol before bedtime, you’ll get a better night’s rest, which is bound to result in more energy the next day.
Get Proper Supplementation
Being deficient in certain vitamins can lead to feeling fatigued, or even feelings of depression. There are also things that you can take that will enhance your energy levels, or have a nootropic effect, improving things like cognitive function, memory, creativity and motivation.
Stay tuned for our next post to find out which ingredients in supplements are the most effective for enhancing your mood and energy levels.