We live extremely busy lives. Between work, school, and parenting, it can feel as though we’re always running on empty. You know those days at work, where time seems to stand still? Where you feel fatigued and unmotivated? Not only is this a sign that productivity is low, but that your health is not in top shape.
While at work, there are some simple changes you can make in order to boost energy levels. Many of these can be implemented into your home life as well. In fact, you should be more conscious of your choices at home (especially in terms of your diet), as they will interfere with your ability to work.
10 Ways to Boost Energy at Work
When you think of low-energy, you may be wondering if you’re getting enough sleep. The truth is, there are many other factors that affect your energy levels. You no longer need to feel tired and lethargic at work. Take these ten tips into account, next time you feel as though you’re lacking energy.
1. Get Moving
We all know that exercise is important for our health, but what about our energy levels? When you exercise on a regular basis, you can actually boost energy levels. Feeling lethargic and low levels of motivation, is not a problem when you invite exercise into your life.
If you feel as though there’s no time in the day to exercise, this is simply not the case. While at home, you can go for a walk (before work or after dinner); do some basic exercises while watching TV, or even join a class to incorporate more physical activity and social interaction.
When you’re at work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Although this one act does not seem like much, it does not need to be an isolated occurrence. If you take the stairs five or six times daily, you may have walked a few hundred extra steps. If you take the bus or subway home, why not get off one stop earlier? You can walk the rest of the way home.
You do not need to become a bodybuilder in order to increase exercise levels. Start small, working towards larger fitness goals. There are many individuals that once took part in minimal exercise, yet now they’re running marathons. Get active!
2. Drink More Water
Our bodies, and especially our brains, require a consistent water intake. When you feel thirsty, you are already experiencing dehydration. At that point, you have lost approximately 10% of your cognitive functioning ability. How many times have you felt thirsty at your desk? This directly affects your ability to focus and perform mental tasks.
Basically, when you’re dehydrated, your organs can not function at an optimal level. This leads to sluggish effects, making you slow down. When you do not drink enough water, you will feel it everywhere (considering your body is 60% water).
For instance, your joints will be less lubricated, making you feel a lack of physical energy. Keep a bottle of water on your desk, sipping away throughout the day. When you awake in the morning, drink a litre of water before you do anything else. This will help you kickstart your day. On average, you should be drinking at least 9 cups daily. Of course this number increases when you’re active.
3. Consume a Nutrient-Rich Diet
Food is fuel, simple as that. We cannot continue functioning when we’re not provided with calories. Western society is overfed, yet we’re typically starving for nutrients. When we feel tired, we grab a coffee and a sugary snack. Although this helps boost energy levels short-term, individuals typically crash. These types of food choices are not sustainable energy sources.
When you eat more whole foods; vegetables, fruit, nuts, and whole grains, you can substantially boost your energy levels. While experiencing a constant state of fatigue, we affect our immune system, emotional stability, and so much more. It’s important to protect ourselves against illness and disease.
The key is eating a wide variety of foods. You need to consume healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. For a more steady energy source, focus on complex carbohydrates. These are options such as whole grain bread and brown rice.
For work, make a salad that contains dark leafy greens (as they are typically high in iron). Now, dress it up! Add some cooked chicken breast for protein, some nuts or seeds for added protein and omega-3 fatty acids, then choose a healthy dressing. One of my favourites is lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Lunches can be easy to prepare and will provide you with the energy you need to make it through the day. Snacking is also recommended. For some snack options, read our healthy snack options article. Also, never forget breakfast. It truly is the most important meal of the day.
4. Manage Stress Levels
Stress is a normal process, as it is a response to our experiences with ’fight or flight’ mode. When we’re in a tough situation, stress allows us to make decisions. However, when you’re under constant levels of stress, this is very hard on your energy levels and overall health. In fact, stress is a major concern regarding chronic fatigue.
Incorporate mindfulness into your routine, or actively practice yoga. These help refocus your mind, experiencing full relaxation. It’s also important to let go of negative emotions, as they will bring you down. When you continually experience stress and react negatively, you affect your energy levels.
5. Absorb the Sunlight
For many of us, we’re inside for 8+ hours during the day. Artificial light can be exhausting, especially when there’s little natural light or air flow. First of all, it’s been found that vitamin D has positive effects on muscle fatigue. When you have a break, get outside. You will get some exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D.
Also, let the sunlight in when morning rolls around. It’s not typically the first thing you want to see, but it’s beneficial for your internal clock. In fact, the hormone melatonin (which is responsible for your wake-sleep cycle) stops being produced when light hits your optic nerve. This allows you to awake, as you prepare for your day ahead.
6. Get Organized
Organization can improve your mental state. Each morning when you arrive to work, take five minutes to get organized. When your desk is cluttered and you have a million and one tasks piled up, you can increase stress levels. As mentioned above, stress can have negative effects on your energy levels. Start by recycling what you no longer need. When you declutter your space, you’ll feel much better.
7. Laugh and Enjoy Yourself
Sure, not every day at work will be a joyous occasion, but there are always things to be happy about. It’s important that you laugh and enjoy the simple things. You know what they say, laughter is the best medicine. Research has shown various positive effects in terms of your energy and overall health.
When you have a good belly laugh, you relax your whole body. These stress-busting effects can last up to 45 minutes, leaving your muscles less tense. Laughing also triggers endorphins, which reflect a more positive mood. When you maintain a positive mental state, you tend to have more energy.
8. Check Your Blood Pressure
When you’re young, you do not think about your blood pressure. With that being said, up to 60% of males (between the ages of 18 and 39), experience high blood pressure. High blood pressure is unfortunately a source of chronic fatigue. If you cannot seem to boost your energy levels, it may be time to schedule a check-up with your physician.
9. Avoid Alcohol at Night
Although you will not be drinking on the job, it’s not uncommon to have a drink or two after work. These alcoholic beverages can affect your energy levels the next day; not because of a hangover, but due to a lack of deep sleep.
REM sleep is the most restful stage of your sleep cycle. It is when you process memories and truly allow your body to repair. Alcohol can actually prevent your body from reaching this stage, which is why you may sleep through the night, yet feel unrested the next morning.
10. Have Your Thyroid Checked
Another area of concern is the thyroid. It has been found that millions suffer from thyroid issues, yet less than half are properly diagnosed. What’s the big deal? Well, when individuals suffer from a hypothyroid (being the most common thyroid-related disorder), they experience anxiety, severe fatigue, and a loss of concentration.
When visiting the doctor, request a blood test. This will allow medical professionals to check your TSH levels (which is your thyroid stimulating hormone). Although some doctors believe that 5.0 is normal, it’s beneficial to get a second opinion, as some doctors believe that this value should be below 2.5.
If you’re experiencing fatigue on a daily basis, then you need to make changes. Either your routine, your lifestyle, your medication, or any other factor that may be diminishing your energy levels needs to be changed.
Short-term solutions are not beneficial, as you will only mask the issue. Generally, low energy levels can be corrected through a nutrition-rich diet, enough sleep, and exercise. Basically, improve your overall health and your energy levels will increase.