Do you ever feel like you’re low on energy often during the day? It’s been a hectic and unpredictable year for most of us, and I’ve definitely felt my energy levels go down – especially since daylight savings time hit.
Fatigue is estimated to cost employers about $136 billion per year not to mention, it can cause you to fall behind on many of your other daily tasks and responsibilities.
When you’re low on energy, your first thought may be to take a nap or rest up. While this is a practical solution, it’s not always an option especially if you have a full day ahead of you. So how do you get a necessary energy boost when you can’t just close your computer, leave the office, or stop whatever you’re doing for the day?
Here are 7 easy and strategic ways to boost your energy. Try these strategies each day or week to maximize your results.
Catch Up on Sleep at the Proper Time
The first thing you should do when you find your energy levels are low is to determine how much sleep you’re getting. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults doesn’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep. Even if you do, you could still be very tired during the day. While feeling fatigued and low on energy could be due to other reasons, sleep is often the main culprit.
While you probably can’t stop what you’re doing on a busy day and take a power nap, you can organize your schedule so that you can get to bed at a reasonable time. Decide what time you want to wake up each day then count back 7 to 8 hours so you can plan your bedtime.
Don’t just plan to start wrapping up your day at that hour. Start implementing your evening routine beforehand. I like to get up around 6 am so that means I need to be in bed by 10 pm in order to get 8 hours of sleep. I start winding down around 8:30 and preparing for the next day so I can actually get to bed on time. Remove some items from your calendar and cancel evening tasks if you have to. Commit to catching up on sleep each night for as long as you have to until you start seeing results.
Watch What You Eat
What you eat can have a direct impact on your energy levels. Drinking coffee and energy drinks may offer a quick fix solution to your low energy problems, but they often lead to a crash later in the day. Instead, invest in nutrient-rich foods and snacks that you can eat during the day to keep your energy up.
Harvard Health recommends cutting down on caffeine and alcohol and instead of replacing those things with water and high-protein foods. Even a healthy protein bar could boost your energy over foods packed with sugar and caffeine.
Make the Rule of 3 Work For You
First off, stop trying to do everything in one day. I suffer from procrastination and it’s often a result of overloading my daily schedule. I give myself way too much to do and it almost always leads to burnout.
Instead of doing this, pick your most important 3 things you want to accomplish for the day. Then, rank your #1 task. Once you’ve completed that task, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment no matter what for the day. Some days, the tasks can be smaller to help you preserve your energy. You may think that limiting what you can do in a day would set you up to be more overwhelmed in the future when work piles up.
On the contrary, using the rule of 3 will help you really narrow down your priorities and start to let some other things go. I like to write down all the tasks I have for the week on a whiteboard and divvy up the list throughout the week. Sometimes the whole list doesn’t get taken care of and I don’t waste my energy on it. Instead, I take comfort in knowing that I focused on the top-level tasks that will help me keep making progress each week.
Go For a Brisk Walk
While you probably can’t break into a full-on unplanned workout session during the middle of the day, you can try to go for a brisk walk. Physical activity oxygenates blood cells, so going on a 10-minute walk around the block can be the perfect pick-me-up for your energy levels.
If you’re sitting all day, it’s easy to get into that afternoon slump and studies have shown that mini-breaks throughout the day can do wonders for your productivity. Think about it. While you might feel tired and lifeless while you’re cranking out a ton of work during the day, do you still feel like your energy is drained when you’re out walking your dog or running a fun errand?
Some doctors say that mindful breathing exercises can be energizing. You’ll never know how it works on you until you try it out. The good thing about meditation is that it can provide lasting effects and doesn’t take up too much time.
You can practice breathing exercises in silence on your own, or download a meditation app. Headspace and Calm are two apps you can use to start meditating with for just a few minutes per day.
Listen to a Productivity Playlist
If music gets you going, try listening to high-energy songs during the day so you can feed off that energy. I like to listen to Evan Charmichael’s playlists on YouTube, but you can play around with different playlists for your morning coffee time or to keep on low during the day.
Say No More Often
Boost your energy by saying no to the things that don’t serve you. I used to have a ton of commitments then wondered why I was always tired. You can only handle extreme bouts of work for so long. It’s important to give yourself the necessary breaks so you can regain some of your energy back.
Pouring from an empty cup doesn’t make sense after a while so it’s important to prioritize and figure out what you can and can’t do. If your calendar is jam-packed, start removing some things to give yourself more breathing room.
Hopefully, you can try some of these ways to boost your energy each day. Remember, consistently having low energy may be a symptom of a more serious underlying issue so be sure to talk to your doctor for more specialized help if this issue persists.