In this article you will discover 10 proven tips on how to get more energy for busy people.
Are you battling to bounce out of bed in the mornings bright eyed and bushy tailed? Looking for more get-up-and-go to make it through each day? Do you wish you could have the same amount of energy at 7pm as you do at 7am? The good news is that it is possible to live a healthier, happier more energetic life…even with a stressful schedule. It is no wonder that so many of us are always tired and looking for ways to feel more energetic.
The word “energy” can mean many things. You might use it to describe the strength you need to take on a physical challenge and the endurance to keep it up for an extended period: running a marathon, cycling long distances, sightseeing all day, doing gardening, and so on. But energy is not just about muscles. It’s also about the mind. Mental energy includes motivation. Motivation can be a powerful force in overcoming fatigue.
Why am I always tired?
Rushing around with more things to get done than there are hours in a day seems to be normal for most of us. Family and work commitments, social pressures and the daily challenges of a full life tend to make health and nutrition less of a pressing concern. It is no wonder that we resort to using ready-made foods, sugar and caffeine for refueling. We also compromise on sleep and relaxation or doing the things we really love in order to get through our workload.
Many of us are giving up our health,
while building our wealth.
As much as we believe good nutrition and health should be a priority, without the nutrition knowledge and skills this seems an insurmountable challenge that we shelve for another week, another month, another year.
Because we are so busy and on-the-go, many of us may fall into the trap of not eating at all for long stretches of the day, breaking for high sugar, high fat snacks and then ending off with a really large supper. Clearly, this isn’t the way to increase or sustain energy levels and will leave you always feeling tired. In fact, eating habits like this will make the effects of a hectic lifestyle worse by decreasing energy, decreasing mental engagement, increasing irritability, increasing weight gain and may impair the functioning of your immune system.
There’s nothing worse than feeling drained and always tired. Some of us may make things worse by reaching for a strong coffee, unbalanced energy bar or a drink, but this is only a short-term fix as the effects soon wear off. Like myself, you likely would like energy that lasts all day, not just for an hour!
Why am I always tired – could it be adrenal fatigue syndrome?
Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that are essential to life. The medical term adrenal insufficiency, or Addison’s disease, refers to inadequate production of one or more of these hormones as a result of an underlying disease. Adrenal fatigue syndrome is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, which include: Fatigue, body aches, weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of body hair, depression.
Adrenal fatigue syndrome is a mild form of adrenal insufficiency caused by chronic stress. The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue syndrome is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. As a result, they can’t produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good.
Why am I always tired and what can I do about it?
The adrenal fatigue diet.
Even in the best of times, you need food to survive and be healthy. Adrenal fatigue or feeling always tired is definitely not the best of times, so the food choices you make are even more important to your health.
Whenever your energy engine is running on fumes, try the following energy boosting strategies and adrenal fatigue diet for some high-octane juice.
- Go for low and slow!
For managing energy levels it would be a good idea to rather choose higher fibre or more slow releasing carbohydrates and starches. The glycemic index or GI gives an indication of how fast a food that contains carbohydrate, affects our blood glucose levels. All carbohydrates are not equal. There are those that are digested and absorbed slowly over about 3 hours and those that spike blood glucose levels almost immediately.
Low glycemic index foods, take about three hours to be digested and absorbed and thus supply the body with a steady source of fuel (glucose) for up to three hours. Some of these foods include high fibre cereals, oats, corn, barley, legumes, dairy products, most vegetables and fruits.
High glycemic index foods, on the other hand, invariably spike blood glucose levels, resulting in higher insulin levels that encourage fat storage, irritability and reduces cognitive function as the body tries to rectify the high blood glucose levels. Some of these foods include biscuits, cakes, pies, bread, muffins, certain cereals, sports drinks, sweets.
Visit www.gifoundation.com for a comprehensive list of GI and GL values of many foods.
- Aim to eat light and eat often.
Eat 4-6 small meals per day. Spacing out your meals and snacks will help regulate your blood glucose levels and help sustain your energy levels throughout the day. If you have adrenal fatigue syndrome or you want to get more energy because you are always tired, when you eat is almost as important as what you eat. You should also eat a nutritious snack in the late afternoon as many of us experience a dip in energy at this point of the day. This will also help you to eat a lighter evening meal which may help you to sleep better and even lose some weight.
- A Spoonful Of This And A Spoonful Of That
If you are experiencing extreme fatigue or adrenal fatigue syndrome, you will do best combining as many food groups at each meal as possible. Eating balanced meals and managing portion sizes on the run may be easier than you think. This practical guide will help you eat balanced meals wherever you may be eating.
How to put together a balanced meal:
- Half fill your plate (two fistfuls) with lots of colour in the form of fresh fruit, salad or vegetables.
- Add one fistful of starch, ideally one that is low GI or high in fibre such as seed loaf bread, barley, legumes, rice, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Add one portion or the size of the palm of your hand of low fat or lean protein such as yoghurt, cheese, fish, seafood, chicken, egg, lean red meat, etc.
- Add a small portion of a healthy fat such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, peanut butter, etc. Alternatively, a small amount of good quality oil could be used in the meal preparation or as a dressing.
- Kick caffeine
Caffeine, the best-known stimulant, occurs naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate. It is also added to some soft drinks and energy drinks and used as an ingredient in some medications.
Caffeine has many effects. When you consume a food or drink that contains caffeine, your brain cells fire messages more quickly, improving concentration and reaction time. The heart pumps blood faster and more forcefully, increasing your physical energy. Some people are more sensitive than others to caffeine. For them, a cup of coffee or a can of cola is all it takes to have some or all of the stimulating effects. But people who consume caffeine on a regular basis develop a tolerance for it, which means that they need to increase their intake to get the same effect. People can become so dependent on caffeine stimulation that they feel tired when the level of caffeine in their blood drops. This constant flood of caffeine will also stimulate your adrenal glands and may worsen adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Cut back on the chronic caffeine fix. Caffeine can lead to a quick energy burst, but it usually results in restlessness and insomnia later. Try stick to no more than 3 cups of coffee per day, providing no more than 250mg caffeine per day.
- Hot on hydration
Did you know that thirst can also masquerade as fatigue? Drink enough water as one of the first signs of dehydration is flagging energy levels!
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” Thomas Fuller
Even mild dehydration has a very negative effect, resulting in reduced concentration, false sense of hunger, headaches, joint pain, poor digestion and lower energy levels. If you want to know how to get more energy and are always tired, then drinking enough water to stay hydrated is one of the key things you should put into practice.
How much water is enough? Aim to daily drink about 1 glass (250 ml) per 10 kg that you weigh.
A few creative ways to help you stay hydrated:
- Keep a jug or bottle of water on your desk – if it is ‘in sight’ you will be more inclined to drink it.
- Drink from a larger glass. Somehow the thought of drinking 5 glasses instead of 8, may make it easier.
- Herbal teas, hot or chilled, make a delicious source of water in colder weather.
- Alternate every cup of regular tea or coffee with a glass of water.
- Make water look and taste appealing by adding some sliced fruit or even cucumber.
- Cheesy? It works! Having a cool or cute cup or bottle can encourage you to drink out of it.
- Keep a large glass or bottle of water next to your bed, you’d be surprised how much more water you consume when not simply drinking from the bathroom tap.
- Start the day off with a steaming cup of water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or fresh ginger. This will not only refresh and revitalise you, but will boost your liver function. TIP: Over the colder season why not keep a flask in your car so you can still enjoy lemon and ginger tea on-the-go.
- Supplement with Savvy
Supplements may be useful when they fill a specific identified nutrient gap that cannot or is not otherwise being met by your intake of food. It is recommended that you speak to a health care practitioner or a registered dietician before taking any supplements.
If you’re experiencing low energy levels then you may benefit from supplementing the following:
- Vitamin B complex
The concept of adrenal fatigue syndrome and adrenal fatigue diet has given rise to an industry of dietary supplements marketed to treat this condition. These supplements are largely unregulated, are ineffective, and in some cases may be dangerous. Ideally you should consult with a registered dietician or qualified health care provider to ensure you are supplementing appropriately.
- Motion creates emotion and energy!
Move around as the more active you are, the better your circulation will be. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, they deliver oxygen rich blood and nutrients to your tissues so you’ll have more energy to do the work you need to. Movement positively impacts every system of your body. Lack of movement causes the body to “switch off” non-essential functions to conserve energy and impairs blood circulation. Movement is one of the most powerful stimulators of energy to the body. Try to not sit still for longer than 30 minutes. Even just a few basic stretches or going for a short walk will increase your energy. If you have a desk job, get up throughout the day to give your body breaks from activities such as typing and staring at the computer. Also, stand up when you’re on the phone or pace around the office. When you’re stuck seated, like on a long car ride, do neck rolls, shoulder shrugs and sit upright with your belly button pulled in towards your spine.
- Breathe more!
Never mind the adrenal fatigue diet, sometimes the smallest things come with the biggest benefits. Breathing deeply is one of them. Breathe in through your nostrils and fill your belly with air, hold your breath for a few seconds and then gently exhale. Try the 4-7-8 technique. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat as often as needed.
Alternative energy boosters:
- Aromas can be powerful up lifters. Have an oil burner in your office with peppermint or lime essential oil or spill a few drops onto a tissue and inhale deeply when you need the energy lift.
- Try something new. When you do something novel, the brain’s reward chemical, dopamine, is released. Dopamine is also a motivating chemical that gears us up to do more. So go to a dance class after work, try a new hobby, take a trip or learn French.
With these tips you now are equipped with some practical ideas and know how to get more energy if you are always tired. If these strategies don’t work and you’re consistently fatigued or rundown, consult your doctor. Even though fatigue is one of the most common medical complaints, you may feel hesitant about making a doctor’s appointment just to say you lack energy. But don’t wait until you’re so tired you can’t get out of bed before seeing a health care practitioner or registered dietician.