How to Boost Energy and Increase Your Productivity
Feeling like you have low energy levels, and therefore decreased productivity is something that affects us all at some time or another. If low energy levels is a chronic problem for you, it’s worth taking a closer look at the factors that impact your energy and how to boost energy.
Those factors include:
- Sleep: A good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) will significantly improve your energy throughout the day.
- Activity: Being sedentary increases feelings of sluggishness and lethargy
- Nutrition: Eating poorly makes you feel poorly. Nutrient dense food and staying hydrated helps with developing and maintaining energy levels.
Improving the above will improve not only how you feel each day, but also your productivity! Productivity generally refers to the ability of an individual, team, or organization to work efficiently within that time in order to maximize output.
With increased stress, comes decreased sleep. Sleep helps our body and brain repair from the physical and mental strains of the day, and it supports our immune system. Factors that have impacted our sleep over the last year especially:
- Work from home
- Less opportunity for physical activity
- Sleep is being interrupted, sleeping later
- Staying up late on social media
To improve your sleep, try your best to stick to a strict sleep-wake cycle. This means staying awake during the day, sleeping at night, and keeping those sleep-wake times consistent. If you can’t fall asleep, try doing something dull—don’t turn to technology (phone or TV). Other things that can help improve your sleep are to make bed as comfortable as possible, keep it tidy and free of clutter. A cooler temperature in your bedroom helps improve quality of sleep–68 degrees is solid. Use black out blinds/curtains, relaxing music can help, and in the mornings, don’t hit snooze! In general, saying “no” to things that don’t align with your priorities, allows you to focus more and stress less whereby you now can get better sleep.
Keeping yourself active throughout the day will boost your energy. In order for our brain to fall asleep, we need to have had activity during the day. When we are sedentary, it tells our brain we are in a more sleep state—hence why you feel sleepy the longer you sit or lie around! Try to get up and move every 25 minutes, whether that’s a quick 2 minute stretch break or a trip to the kitchen for some more water—get up and move!
Sitting more than 2 hours at a time increases your chances for systemic disease. Take a stretch break, go outside, play with your dog or do a little dance. According to JustStand.org, standing 2 more hours a day (even spread out throughout your workday), you’ll burn enough calories to equate having run 10 marathons in a year!
Get some exercise—the CDC recommends 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Being able to find balance and learning to relax through breathing will go a long way to improving sleep and therefore energy levels.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
Around 80% of that should be water, the rest comes from other beverages and foods.
Along those same lines, adding more fruits and veggies, and limiting sugar (pay attention to labels), will help improve your energy.
The Unspoken Truth
Consistency in all of these is where people fall short. You know the above exercise and nutrition facts, yet fail to stick to a routine. This may be due to poor nutrition on one day, you don’t workout another day, and you give up.
The above is simple, it’s your consistency that is what matters. Two steps forward, and one step back…is OK! Just keep moving forward!
How to get past quitting before you even get started
Domino Theory- make 1 small change a week. For example, drink water every morning. Put sticky notes up around your house as reminders. Make those little changes, and before you know it, they’ll add up to a huge beneficial shift in your lifestyle.
The excuses you make as to why you quit, are always the excuses you use. YOU are ruining your progress through these excuses.
- “I am too busy to meditate.”
- “I went for walks for 4 mornings, then I couldn’t do it the 5th morning…so I gave up.” How many other times have you done this?
A great first step is accepting where you are now, even if it’s not where you want to be in terms of your goal. When you accept this, you suffer less (accepting with equanimity). You make the best with what you have, and take ownership to make those small changes to get where you want to be. One “bad” day won’t derail you from staying on track.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to boost energy from Dr. Theresa Larson and Jon Macaskill, consider our Mindfulness and Movement Seminar! https://movement-rx.com/mindfulness-movement-rx-for-employees/