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Most of us were born into perfect, healthy bodies. It is what we do to them over time that causes us to be tired, weak, and exhausted. Restless nights, cranky mornings, and afternoon crashes tend to be results of our own doing, and our habits either support or deplete our energy.

Here are some small changes you can make to brighten your days and get your energy flowing abundantly once again.

1. Start your day of with hot water and lemon, and three minutes of meditation

When we begin our days with a blaring alarm, a quick cup of coffee and bite of a power bar before sprinting out the door, it sets us up for s draining day. Try developing the habit of waking up ten minutes earlier than usual to develop this energizing morning ritual.

When you wake up you’ve been fasting for the last five to eight hours. This is a perfect opportunity for a mini-cleanse to flush toxins from your body and hydrate your system.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and neutralizes free radicals associated with aging and disease, wrinkles and acne. Drinking hot water with lemon hydrates the lymph system responsible for secreting necessary hormones that regulate energy levels, hunger, metabolism, sleep and much more. It’s easy to do and will brighten up your body immediately!

Studies show that even a few minutes of meditation can generate happiness, improve concentration, maintain optimum blood pressure and benefits many other functions of the body. Starting in the morning, take three minutes to sit and calm the mind. Beginning your day with meditation will activate your brain and  help flush obtrusive thoughts that interfere with clear thinking.

2. Commit to snacking only on nuts, fruit and other whole foods; AVOID refined sugars and carbohydrates

When you eat refined carbs and sugars your body works overtime trying to process the food you’ve just eaten. The body digests and converts food into sugar, and the more refined the food is the faster the conversion. The pancreas then begins to rapidly pump insulin to move sugar into the cells and store them as fat. This process is what creates the sugar highs and crashes that most of us feel throughout the day when snacking on overly processed, overly refined products.

Not only do refined sugars and carbohydrates widen your waistline, they harm your brain by reducing production of chemicals that aid our memory, keep us alert, fight depression and anxiety, and improve our sleep. By switching your snacks to whole foods like walnuts, raisins, berries, hummus, and veggies you’ll reap tremendous benefits. Whole foods with a low glycemic load slow the conversion process, and the food is used as fuel instead of acting as an attack on your system.

Do yourself a favor and have small, tasty snacks with you at all times – at work, after the gym, out and about running errands. Changing your snacking style will absolutely increase your energy and reduce the unnecessary consumption of extra sugar helping prevent weight gain, bad moods, and poor concentration.

3. Cut down on meat

Digestion is the most energy intensive process in our bodies, and because we have such long digestive tracts is takes a very long time for meat to leave our systems after we’ve extracted the nutrients and fats from it. Eating meat once or twice or even three times a day requires a huge amount of energy, detracting from your ability to have energy for the demands of daily life.

If meat is a big part of your diet, I suggest gently reducing your intake. Begin by eliminating meat on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If that feels good, take it out of another day, and so on. You can also try not eating meat until dinnertime. This gives you something to look forward to and takes the burden off your system during your workday. Trust me, your body will thank you for replacing that meatball sub with a veggie Panini.

Quick Tips

  • Drink more water
  • Do 20 jumping jacks/ push-ups/ squats when you’re feeling lethargic
  • Swap out your afternoon coffee for a brisk 10-minute walk
  • Go to bed earlier – try 15 minute increments until you get to a full hour
  • Stop depending on caffeine for energy, it’s draining your adrenals. Try drinking decaf every other day, or at least every other cup.
  • Have an evening ritual; even five minutes of something will help
  • Don’t eat after 8 pm, ESPECIALLY not sugar. It interferes with your sleep and will give you a hangover.
  • Drink tea before bed
  • Take a break from your workload twice a day to watch or read something inspiring
  • Have something to look forward to tonight or on the weekend, whether it’s a drink with an old friend, an interesting talk, a group sport, or an exercise class with a great instructor.

If you are eating a well-rounded plant based diet including seeds, nuts, legumes, lentils, and green veggies, you’ll surely get plenty of protein and every other nutrient you need. Since plant foods are so quickly and easily digested, you’ll have significantly more energy. They also provide you with vitamin D, magnesium, iron, antioxidants, vitamin C and tons of other nutrients that are great for your energy, skin, hormones, mental clarity, metabolism and more. Creating rituals gives your body something it can get used to over time, and reduces stress on the body and mind. Take time to develop small habits to support your energy levels, and you’ll feel the change instantly.

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