Remember when you were a kid and your energy was boundless? Days seemed long and you could run around all day—literally! As an adult, you probably experience plenty of times when you lack energy. Maybe you feel sluggish, tired or don’t have the pep you used to possess. You wonder how to feel energetic once again. So, what is energy exactly and how can you get it back if you have lost it? Vigor. Force. Power. Zeal. Energy, at its most basic level, is your capacity and ability to do work or activity. You get energy from eating calories that convert to fuel. But food alone isn’t the only thing that can fuel your energy. Energy levels can be revived by your cute dog’s wagging tail or your child’s big hug. Energy comes from many different sources—including our emotions and relationships. The key to maximizing your energy stores is to fill your tank with positive fuel and minimize the things that suck your tank dry. Let’s explore six simple ways to feel more energized today.
1) Watch What You Eat
Junk in. Junk out. If you eat lousy, you will feel lousy. When you eat healthy lean meats, fruits, vegetables and legumes, you are treating your body well, and it will repay you by feeling like a million bucks. If you eat natural, whole foods, you will feel natural and whole. Ever notice when you eat fast food that you feel kind of sick afterward or you are dragging? That’s because the high calorie, high fat food typically found in fast food items are artery-clogging saturated and hydrogenated fats that aren’t healthy—and that translates to how you feel.
2) Move More
They call it runner’s high for a reason—but it applies to all intense cardiovascular activities. When you give your heart a big workout endorphins are released and you feel a sense of euphoria. There may be days when you feel so tired that getting a quick workout in seems impossible, but even a lighter workout can actually energize us and make us more awake. Put more simply, moving gives you energy to move more.
3) Catch More Zz’s
View sleep just as you do plugging your cell phone into the charger. Rest is your recharger. Without sleep or with too little, your systems won’t work right. Your temperature goes up and so does your appetite. Your focus will be off and in your haze, you make bad decisions for your waistline. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but prioritizing sleep and making sure you get enough of it will make you feel more refreshed in all areas of your life.
Related: 7 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep
4) Restore Your Mental Energy
Your thoughts determine everything. If you don’t believe me, the next time you are in a bad mood, ask yourself what you have been thinking about. I guarantee you that your thoughts will match your mood—they will be negative, defeatist, and stressful. YOU are in control of your thoughts. All it takes is slowing down a bit to recognize your thoughts and stop or reject thoughts that pop in your head that aren’t good for you (kind of like you do with food). Replace negative thoughts with empowering, energy-creating thoughts. Say to yourself: “I can do this. My choices have a direct impact on my health. I feel strong. I can accomplish anything.” You become what you think about the most, so why wouldn’t you choose to think amazing thoughts?
First, make sure you capture all of your to dos, so they don’t rattle around your head and amp up your stress level. Next, decide what matters most. For everyone, it will be different. Maybe you have 50 little things to do that are driving you crazy because you just don’t have the time. Choose a realistic number to tackle each day, and make slow, steady progress. Or, if you need to, call a friend before you tackle spring cleaning. Relationships with people can bolster your energy and give you support to make you feel like you can conquer the world. (That being said, if you can lighten your load with spring cleaning by getting rid of clutter you don’t need, that can lighten up the heavy way you feel too!)
6) Let Go Of Fear
Whether you fear success or failure, fear can be debilitating. Fear can stop you dead in your tracks, cause you unnecessary strife, and most of all, drain your energy. Fear is usually fed with irrational thoughts, so try and be mindful of the thoughts flitting in and out of your mind and realize this is your “one wild and precious life” as Mary Oliver says. It’s up to you to drop the fear and go for what you want. When you lose the fear, I guarantee that you will gain the energy!
If you incorporate these tips into your life, you will have increased energy, a greater capacity for vigorous activity, and abundant potential to live more fully. Who knows, you may even feel like a kid again.