Question: After a long winter, how do I jump-start my energy as I transition into the spring schedule?
Answer: I often hear clients tell me they are burnt out, stressed out and running on empty. They reveal that they may snap when they don’t mean to, think about a situation more than they want to or simply that they always feel behind the eight ball.
The key to getting things done and staying healthy while navigating life’s many responsibilities and changing schedules is to manage your energy, not time. Managing your daily energy level successfully is the ability to focus or do, and then recover many times over during the course of a day. It’s the way our bodies are built! The problem is we keep going and going until there is nothing left.
“The only resources that last, are those we renew.” –Tony Schwartz
Here are 3 KEYS to increase your energy, productivity and daily recovery effectively this spring season!
1. BE FOOD SAVVY
MYTH: If I know I’m going out for dinner, I’ll eat sparingly during the day and make sure I have coffee to suppress my appetite and keep me focused and productive.
FACT: This upper/downer scenario sets your body up for an ultimate shut down of mental and physical exhaustion. The caffeine upper is temporary and negatively affects your adrenal glands (little organs on top of your kidneys) that supplement your body with necessary hormones like DHEA for anti-aging and cortisol for stress management. In addition, not eating shuts down your metabolism and the ultimate swings in blood sugar will make you more tired, moody, less focused, hormonally imbalanced and sleep deprived, causing you to hold onto more fat.
ACTION: Eat moderate amounts of energy rich foods 5-6 times a day as your fuel to renew your mental, emotional and physical resources in realtime! Foods like salmon, walnuts, flax seeds,which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin,which effects mood. Eat leafy greens like spinach, kale, swiss chard sautéed or in a salad. A 2006 study in Neurology showed that people who ate two or more daily servings of vegetables, especially leafy greens, had the mental focus of people five years their junior! Consuming fruits like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries have been shown to improve your memory and keep your brain young! Feeding yourself daily nutrient rich food/fuel keeps you effective and joyful; you will be a person who gets things done with a smile and mean it!
2. BE HYDRATED
MYTH: I get the water I need through coffee, tea, and other liquids I drink.
FACT: H2O, hydrogen and oxygen, are key resources that initiate many important chemical reactions in your body! Drinking pure water translates to weight loss by flushing out toxins and raising your metabolism as it helps digestion and absorption of key nutrients for energy. Drinking pure water helps relieve headaches due to muscle pain, helps skin look younger by replenishing skin tissues, helps your brain be more productive and helps relieve fatigue by increasing the effectiveness of your organs so they don’t have to work so hard.
ACTION: Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water every day. To start, pick a sport, BPA free, drinking bottle between 28-32 oz. Drink one of those with room temperature filtered water when you get up every day. Knowing you only need 2 or 3 bottles a day vs 8-10 glasses makes it a lot easier and more fun!
3. BE RESTED
MYTH: I’ll get more done if I stay up a few more hours OR get up earlier OR just keep going!
FACT: A study by David Dinges, a major American sleep researcher and teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, reported that if you went 4 nights in a row with only 5 hours of sleep you would have the same cognitive capacity as if you were intoxicated. David Dinges says “we have lost site of what it feels like to be fully rested” like the person who’s stopped after 3 glasses of wine and thinks they’re fine.
ACTION: Make a plan and then commit to going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time every day for a week, which gives you 7-8 hours of deep sleep per night. If you have problems falling sleep or staying asleep over the course of 2 weeks during this period I suggest getting some testing done by a health professional and reading “Good Night” by Micheal Brues, PhD. This chronic stress on your body will affect you, your effectiveness and relationships in more ways than one.
To start, I urge you to try even one of the 3-ENERGY KEY’S I outline above using my “5-P Principle” – Planning, Persistence, Patience, Practice and sometimes Prayer.
Look for more information on my “5-P Principle” in another column. Happy Spring Everyone!