Our energy levels dictate our mood and productivity. Here’s how you can trick your body into feeling more energetic and in control.
It’s sort of a running joke how large percentages of people always claim to be tired, no matter whether they sleep eight hours or six a night. But there’s a difference between feeling tired and feeling sleepy, and it’s important to differentiate between the two if you want to see some changes in your life.
Hugh Selsick, head of the Sleep Working Group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, spoke with The Guardian about the difference between these two feelings. Tiredness is “I’m lacking energy and concentration, I’m irritable. I’m not motivated.” Sleepiness is biological and more clear cut: “I am battling to stay awake. When I sit on the bus I’m nodding off.”
According to this description, you can be tired even if you’ve slept twelve hours, because your levels of energy are affected by outside factors; your work, your relationships, your levels of stress can all take a toll on you and your productivity levels.
Here are five things you can do to stay energized:
Develop a bedtime routine
For some reason, once you grow up bedtime routines fall out of favor. They shouldn’t, since they’re very helpful, especially when there’s a lot of stuff going on in your life and routines can help you stay on track. Try to make your bedroom as sleep friendly as possible — tidy, cozy, clean sheets and soothing scents.
Don’t limit your bedtime routine to the hour before bed; try to include a workout during the day and implement cellphone and TV boundaries when in bed. Also, avoid eating anything heavy before sleeping or snacking after you’ve brushed your teeth. These rules might seem silly, but they help your brain stay organized and on track.
Talk to friends
No matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, talking to your close friends will always give you a little boost of energy. If you’re feeling down, reach out and let your friends help you and bring you out of your slump.
If you’re feeling low on energy, be that at work, in the evening or right when you wake up, moving around is one of the best ways to get a quick boost of energy and get stuff done. While it’s recommended to workout for at least a half hour, a 10 minute walk will also provide results, especially when in a time crunch.
Fake it till you make it
Psychology Today highlights how important pretending to be happy or energetic can be. “Faking it” can influence the ways in which we feel, be that through smiles or bursts of energy. If you’re not feeling energetic it might be a lot to ask to pretend to feel that way, but it’s a trick that works every single time. It’s kind of creepy.
Eat proteins with meals and snacks
Nutritional therapist Jackie Lynch spoke with The Guardian and explained that proteins help people keep their blood sugar balanced. “This will help you avoid the dreaded mid-afternoon energy slump. And foods that are rich in protein also often contain iron, an extra bonus for anyone who is borderline anemic. Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and pulses are all good sources,” she explains.