Often at the worst times, you may experience lack of energy or spells of tiredness. The reasons you may feel exhausted can vary from lack of sleep or dealing with stress at work, to much more complex ones, such as living with a chronic condition or following treatment for a chronic disease.
While dealing with fatigue caused by a chronic condition may be more difficult, forming some good lifestyle habits can help you to take full advantage of your energy levels on a day-to-day basis.
The food we consume is obviously one of the main sources of energy. So, to maintain low energy levels, eat healthfully and try to add the most nutritious foods in our diets. We measure the energy that we can derive from foods in calories.
If we don’t consume enough calories our bodies may feel worn-out. However, if we get too many calories, there’s a system overload, and we may end up feeling lethargic. So, we must strike a balance in terms of our calorie consumption.
However, energy is not just about the amount of calories; it’s also about their quality. Some foods provide an energy kick but have little or no nutritional value. Such foods are called empty calories, and they typically include processed and ultra-processed products, such as soda, candy, and chips.
Harvard specialists recommend going for foods “with a low glycemic index” — that is, foods whose sugar content is broken down by our bodies at a slow rate. This means that energy derived from these foods is released gradually, helping to keep us active for longer.
Such foods include wholegrains, some fruits and nuts, especially apples, grapes, pears, peaches, oranges, and grapefruit — and vegetables and legumes with a high fiber content, including peas, beans, and leafy greens.
What about coffee?
Most people take coffee when they are not as active or alert as they should. Researchers at Harvard Medical School report explain that caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and cocoa, can help to improve concentration and render our brains more alert and receptive. Caffeine also increases your pulse, which may lend you more physical strength for a while.
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However, the authors warn that these effects may not be seen in routine drinkers whose bodies may have built up tolerance to this substance.
They also warn that people who don’t think they’re getting enough of an energy boost from their daily dose of coffee may increase the intake and gradually become dependent on caffeine, which will affect overall health without bringing any benefits.
So, you should have your cup of coffee at 10:30 in the morning — or at least between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The study suggests that this may help to make best use of the effect caffeine has on your body.
Specialists from the Harvard Medical School explain in their dedicated report, that exercise may not be the first thing that you’ll want to do when feeling exhausted, but it stimulates your body and mind in some dynamic ways.
Any form of exercise at cellular level, form more energy-producing units in your muscles, so that your body may sustain the activity. Exercise also increases the capacity of your body to carry oxygen and boosts circulation.
It also stimulates the release of stress hormones in moderation, which make you feel more energized and alert.
According to the authors, you don’t have to spend a lot of time worrying about this. When it comes to exercise and energy, it’s hard to go wrong — and you don’t have to run for miles or work out to the point of exhaustion to start reaping benefits.
Half an hour of light aerobic exercise daily will help you to stay awake, and it will bring long-reaching profit.
- Yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation might also help to boost your energy levels because these practices focus on methods such as mindful breathing that encourage a state of calm.
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If your fatigue is caused by increase in stress, taking up yoga or meditation as a routine “self-care” approach can help you to become more resistant to stressors.
- Delegate tasks
Most persons may not have any option for this, be it as parents, partners, or dedicated career people. However, if we don’t find a decent strategy to redistribute some of these responsibilities from time to time, it may lead to stress and a constant sense of fatigue in our daily activities which is not at beneficial to productivity.
People who invest in services that allow them to stop worrying about some mundane tasks like house chores that they dislike, have a greater sense of overall well-being.
Elizabeth Dunn, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said eople should consider buying their way out of unpleasant experiences.
- Quality sleep
It’s essential to get good quality sleep at night to prevent fatigue or recover from the effect of stressful activity throughout the day.
Although this may be the most apparent advice, many of us often underestimate the impact that shortened sleeping time, or disrupted sleep, can have on our energy levels and health and well-being, in general.
How much sleep we need largely depends on our age and some other factors. However, on average, adults should sleep for around 7–9 hours per night in order to feel refreshed.