When you’re running yourself ragged, you may have experienced stretches of fatigue ranging from minutes to days at a time. Life is demanding, and it’s only natural that you can’t always muster up the energy to match it.
Nevertheless, frequent fatigue can be a burden and have a harmful effect on your productivity and mood. If you’re tired of being tired, take a look at these tips to improve your energy level during your day-to-day life.
1. Start Doing More Aerobic Exercise
It sounds paradoxical, but working up a sweat can actually give you more energy for everything else. This is because of the way aerobic activity improves your body’s ability to efficiently allocate and use energy. Think of energy in terms of a percentage. Your body can only supply a certain amount of it, namely 100%. As you build endurance, you won’t get 10% more; instead, tasks will become easier, consuming less of your total energy.
You may be hesitant to start exercising because it seems like a hassle. Make it more exciting with the right equipment. Jump ropes will get you hopping like a schoolkid, while stand-up paddle boards will let you work your core as you glide across the water. Whatever motivates you to get moving will make a difference. Beyond increased energy, exercise will also improve your long-term mental health.
2. Monitor Your Fluid Intake
Remember the No. 1 rule of keeping your body healthy and fueled — consume enough fluids! Hydration is important because most of your body is made up of and runs on water to stay alive. A sufficient flow of fluids will improve the overall efficiency of your body’s systems, which, in turn will require less energy to maintain.
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t require chugging gallons of water. Cucumbers, soups, low-fat dairy, and numerous water-rich fruits and vegetables will all boost your fluid intake. That said, not all fluids are created equal. Because caffeinated beverages have a diuretic effect, don’t depend primarily on coffee, tea, and soda to keep yourself hydrated.
Speaking of caffeine consumption, make sure to monitor it as well, since too much will disrupt your overall energy levels. The human body isn’t built with caffeine in mind; depending on it to boost your energy level can mask your body’s true needs. For example, tiredness is your body saying it needs rest, and caffeine prevents that cue from being noticeable. Do your best to consume caffeine in limited amounts or only in certain situations throughout the day.
3. Improve Your Overall Diet
As noted, getting fluids through water-heavy foods is great for those who forget — or simply don’t like — to drink a lot of water. Water content aside, if you’re consuming refined carb–heavy foods like white bread and sweets, your energy will spike quickly and drop quickly. Such a diet can also impair your health overall, preventing your body from getting and using other necessary nutrients. Instead, seek out nutrient-rich foods that will fuel your body for a long day.
Focus on getting more complex carbs (from vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc.), which digest slower and provide more natural, consistent energy. This way, your energy levels will be much more predictable throughout the day. And no matter what you eat, eating too much will inevitably make you feel sluggish and slow. Be mindful of how your stomach feels as you’re consuming food and heed its signals that it’s full.
4. Hone Your Sleep Schedule
With so little free time in your day, it’s tempting to stretch out your waking hours to the detriment of sleep. Alternatively, you might be victim to a shifting sleep schedule that has you out of tune with everyone else. Both of these factors — sleep times and sleep amounts — affect your body’s energy regulation at all hours of the day.
Make sure you’re getting ample sleep because, when it comes to fatigue, a simple lack of sleep is generally the culprit. You can improve yours by paying attention to your pre-bedtime routine. Avoid doom scrolling and other stress-inducing activities, engaging in calming ones instead. A warm bath, soothing music, or 15 minutes of meditation might be enough to send you straight to sleep.
5. Embrace the Power of Naps
Even with a fine-tuned slumber schedule, external factors can make falling to sleep a struggle and lower the quality of your sleep. Family obligations, financial stressors, and other attention-grabbers can heighten your anxiety and shorten REM sleep time. Sometimes all the sleep-promoting efforts in the world can’t prevent sluggishness on the following day. In those times when you just can’t stay awake, a quick power nap can help make up for lost rest.
Short naps (30 minutes or less) have been proven to raise energy levels without knocking you out again. Approach these naps with the same care you give to your night sleep, and they’ll provide the expected benefits. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, it might seem dangerous to indulge in sleep in the middle of the day. Setting an alarm — and, possibly, positioning it across the room — will ensure you don’t nap too long and sabotage your night’s rest.
You don’t have to submit to a daily slog due to fatigue. A few adjustments here and there can make all the difference in making each day a little easier to achieve. Exhaustion has plenty of causes, but that means there are also plenty of solutions. Even if just one of them gives you the energy boost you need for the day, then you have succeeded!