Do you wake up exhausted or find you need a nap by 1pm? Is your head full or are you just feeling drained all the time? If you answered YES to any of these, read on for a few simple daily habit changes that could restore your energy levels.
Lately, I am often hearing similar statements or questions from others:
- “How do I manage working from home and teaching my 8 year old school via Zoom at the same time?”
- “Because I work from home now, as soon as I wake up – which is 6am – I grab a coffee and I immediately get to work. However, I don’t stop until the end of the day. I am now working 10+ hours a day”
- “How do I multitask? Working from home, home schooling my children, managing my household, zoom conference calls, finding time to exercise, plus get the socialization my mental status needs?”
Each of these statements are quite common from others due to recent events. The additional stress added into your daily routine could be causing that exhausted feeling, that fullness of the head, or feeling drained 24/7.
What can you do to help reduce your stress and add that well needed energy back into your life? Read on for some tips…
- How is your Caffeine Intake? Working from home can provide the luxury of staying in your pajamas all day, but it can also allow some bad habits to slide in. The convenience of having your Keurig at hand can lead to multiple cups of coffee or black tea throughout the day. Also, think of those energy drinks you love or the can(s) of coke you find refreshing after work. These all contain caffeine and when you add them up, they can lead to lowering your energy levels. Take inventory of what you are ingesting and drinking. You may be surprised at the level of caffeine you are consuming throughout your day.
How does caffeine lower our energy? Our brain has a chemical called adenosine, which affects our sleep-wake cycles. It binds to receptors in our brain, which prepares us for sleep – unless caffeine is present. If it is, the adenosine binds to that instead and tricks our brain causing an energy spike. Once the caffeine wears off, the adenosine can connect to the proper receptors and this is what causes a drop in our energy level.
What To Do?
Drink more water (add lemon for some flavour). Eliminate any caffeine consumption at least 6 hours prior to sleep. If you are craving a warm drink, try some herbal tea. Davids’ Tea has many of delicious choices. Some of my favourites include Forever Nuts, Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait, or Gingerbread blondie.
- How much Screen Time are you putting in? Are you a night owl who loves crime shows? Or do you have that FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome of ‘needing’ to check Facebook or Instagram right before bed? These two things could be why you are feeling drained.
Screens – whether that is your Smartphone or your TV can suppress the production of melatonin. What is melatonin? It is the hormone responsible for helping us feel tired. A necessary step for bedtime. Screens emit blue light, which can inhibit our REM sleep cycles (REM cycles are crucial for our cognitive function). Eyestrain is another side effect of too much screen time. Our eyes become dry and tired and we tend to blink less while looking at our phones.
What To Do?
Take frequent computer/phone breaks if your job or schooling requires you to be on them. Once an hour, take a 10-15 minute break to stand, walk around, or step outside. Start reducing your phone, computer or TV time by reading a book, doing a puzzle, or beginning an exercise routine.
If your job or school requires you to be on a computer all day – invest in some blue light blocking glasses or set your Smart phone to night mode. This will ease any strain on your eyes.
Decrease your screen time at night. Set a limit, put your phone away after dinner, watch lighthearted TV programs, or go for a walk.
- What are you Fueling Your Body with? Did you know that what we put into our bodies may actually suck the energy right out of us? A main culprit – Processed Foods. And I am not just talking about McDonalds or Burger King. I am also talking about foods right in your pantry. High in sugar items often mean low in fibre and nutrients. Choosing higher sugar snacks creates a cycle of craving more sugar and round and round you go with unhealthy energy-sucking meals.
What To Do?
Choose vitamin nutrient foods like: bananas, apples, fish, dark chocolate, berries, quinoa, oatmeal, hummus, oranges, nuts or popcorn.
Instead of a cookie, grab a piece of dark chocolate and some almonds. Instead of eating chips, make popcorn. Make hard boiled eggs ahead of time for that easy ‘go-to’ high protein snack or make over night oats for a fast healthy breakfast option the next morning.
- Are you Creating Unnecessary Stress? Right now, today’s world has an abundance of stress; working from home, losing your job, kids doing remote learning for school, fear of the unknown, relationship issues, and the ever changing political turmoil. Your cortisol levels may be going through the roof.
Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone, which can affect your immune system, metabolism and your inflammatory response. Most importantly though, it plays the biggest role in your body’s stress response. If cortisol is too high, your energy will be quite low.
What To Do?
Eliminate the negative: Remove Apple News (or whichever App your smartphone has) from your phone, take a break from watching and reading the news. When talking to others, pick topics which are not related to current events or politics.
Organize: Decluttering your workspace, kitchen, closets or basement can have a dramatic effect on your stress levels. A clean space with less ‘stuff’ is healthy for your environment and your mind.
Do things that make you happy: Do you like to walk, play tennis or golf, exercise, read, or fish? Pick a hobby you like and do it.
Following these steps – in time – will provide a sense of peace in your world. It may not happen overnight and it may take a bit of time, but resetting your daily habits may be just what you need to refuel your soul and leave you feeling energize and ready to go.
Need Help or even someone to encourage you? I’m only a click away.