12 ways to get more energy today
Tired of feeling tired? Do you wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy that was pulled out of the ground two weeks ago? Are you unable to function until you’ve had your first caffeine fix? You need our essential tips on how to get more energy in your day.
1. Manage your mitochondria
“Mitochondria are small organelles within every single one of our cells, and they are the powerhouses of energy,” explains Renee Holmes, nutritionist at Health Space Clinics. “We need to supply them with specific nutrients to make them work well, so as always, it comes down to what we feed ourselves. Mitochondria require ample amounts of Co Enzyme Q 10 (Co Q10) to help them convert the food we eat into the energy we require. If we don’t eat Co Q10 rich food, our energy levels really can slump. Rich sources can be found in organ meats, broccoli and cauliflower and some oils, such as grape seed oil. Alternatively we can use good quality supplements, but see a health professional to get expert advice.”
2. Make meditation a part of your daily routine
Kevin Jankelowitz, Chief Meditation Officer and Co-Founder of Centred Meditation, says meditation is vital for keeping energy levels high. “Stress is a huge cause of fatigue,” he says. “Meditation is a proven antidote to stress. By activating our relaxation response, the opposite of our fight or flight mode, our body experiences a deep state of rest (some say deeper than sleep), leaving us less fatigued and more energised for the rest of the day. Research also shows that meditation improves our quality of sleep, and we all know what difference a good night’s rest does for our energy levels throughout the day.”
3. Love your liver
“Our livers love good nutrition,” says Renee. “When they work well our bodies feel energised. Our bodies feel lethargic and ‘hung over’ when we consume food and drink that our livers have to work too hard to eliminate, think sugar, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, dairy.” Yes, it might be a cliché, but Renee says if you want to wake up feeling revived and fresh in the morning, you need to increase your greens. “Broccoli (a liver lover), spinach, rocket, bok choy… mix it up every day. Your liver will love you for it, and in return you will feel energised.”
4. Work in bursts
The study of biological rhythms shows we can concentrate and perform high-level cognitive processing (thinking) tasks for 90 to 120 minutes. Set your day up to work in waves of 90 minutes to two hours followed by a five- to 15-minute brain break. Use this time to do some physical activity… movement keeps the blood pumping through the body and instantly energises you. Just like computers have an energy-saving mode when they aren’t being used, so does the human body, so this is your time to reboot.
5. Start the day with a green smoothie
Renee says the best start you could possibly give your body each day is to down a small green smoothie for breakfast. “Blend 1 banana, 1 pear, 1 handful spinach and 1 glass of water and enjoy. That’s more greens for your liver before you’ve even left the house!” she says.
6. Pay attention to your breathing
When we’re preoccupied, we tend to take short, shallow breaths through our mouths and hold our breath without realising it, and this is only exacerbated when we’re stressed. When we breathe shallowly, we’re depriving our bodies of oxygen – and less oxygen means less energy. Focus on taking long, slow, deep breaths.
7. Head outdoors for your lunch break
A 2013 survey by the Australia Institute and beyondblue found 3.8 million Aussies routinely don’t take a lunch break, and of those who did, 72 per cent said they either choose to eat lunch at their desks, cut short or postponed their break until mid-afternoon.
If this is you, you are likely missing out on a daily dose of sunshine, which helps boost vitamin D levels. Experts believe vitamin D may help to regulate metabolism and insulin secretion, which both have an impact on energy. A break in the middle of the day also means you’ll feel more rested and be more productive for the rest of the day.
8. Don’t reach for the sugar for an energy fix
While many of us tend to grab something sweet when that afternoon slump hits us, it’s actually only serving to decrease our energy. “When we grab that sweet treat or drink to cure our energy slump, our blood sugar spikes and we feel great because our bodies are working to use the sugar,” explains Renee. “Then we come crashing down. What we really want to be doing is having stable blood sugar levels to have more consistent energy throughout the day. Go for something with more fat in it to help stabilise blood sugar levels (fat slows down the release of glucose into the blood), such as avocado, seeds or nuts. It will also help you feel fuller longer too.”
9. Take a power nap
If fatigue really has you in its clutches, a power nap can help you to get through the day, but do it in your chair, and keep it to 5-10 minutes maxiumum. Any longer and it will have the opposite effect of knocking you out for the rest of the day.
10. Embrace yoga
Yoga is hugely beneficial for our energy levels for many reasons, explains Ximena Flanagan, yoga instructor at Health Space Clinics.
“Firstly, on a physiological level, exercise, or yoga asana (poses), will help release endorphins which can energise the body. Secondly, on a mental and emotional level, yoga holds space for you to recharge and reconnect with yourself away from all the stressors and distractions in life – it’s like coming out of a nap feeling refreshed. Finally, breath work can help energise you, because yoga focuses on marrying movement with deep breath, which has a relaxing and energising effect.”
11. B good to yourself
When our food isn’t rich in important nutrients, explains Renee, we often feel tired and blah – and none are more important than B vitamins.
“B vitamins play a key part in our biochemical conversions of food to energy, as well as many other biochemical processes in our body, as do iron and zinc,” she advises. “There are many available supplements to help with these dietary deficiencies, but food is our best source and the most easily absorbable form.”
Renee lists great sources of B vitamins as “organ meats, green leafy veggies, beef, chicken and fish, lentils, nuts, seeds and eggs”.
12. Create the perfect slump time snack
Power up “slump o’clock” with a nutritious snack, that will keep you satisfied longer and stabilise your blood sugar levels. Renee recommends this recipe for Brain Balls by Dr Libby. “This chewy, nutty treat is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, the perfect afternoon snack for a burst of energy.”
- Combine 2 cups walnuts pieces, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 8 fresh pitted dates and 1 cup shredded coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds to grind the ingredients.
- Add 2/3 cup cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of water and 1-3 drops of peppermint oil (optional) to the bowl and process until the mixture forms a paste.
- Form the paste into medium sized balls by rolling between your palms. Place the finished balls on a tray lined with waxed paper and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website