You love what you do. You’re a go-getter. But lately, you’ve been feeling a bit sluggish and tired, and can’t seem to find the energy to complete tasks, commit to healthy eating, exercise or enjoy regular, every day activities. In addition, you’ve been feeling more moody and irritable and have difficulty concentrating, despite your best intentions.
If this sounds familiar and drinking more coffee/Red Bull isn’t what you desire/isn’tworking for you anymore, here are 4 things you need to know to have more even, consistent energy throughout the day:
Be Intentional with Sleep
If you experience energy highs and lows, random intense food cravings during the day and erratic sleeping patterns, it may be a sign that your circadian rhythm – your body’s internal clock of when to eat, sleep and wake up – is all over the place.
You most likely go to bed and wake up at all different times throughout the week, or perhaps it’s consistent during the week, but you spend the weekends sleeping in, staying up late and/or trying to recover from the week.
If this sounds familiar, one of the biggest, game changing steps you can take is to be intentional with your sleep. You probably already know that 7-8 hours of sleep each night is ideal, but did you know that there is a huge difference between 8 hours of sleep at varying times throughout the week, and 8 hours of sleep at roughly the same time every night?
A consistent sleep schedule will assist your body in developing a steady circadian rhythm, sleeping and waking when your energy naturally peaks and diminishes, instead of relying on an alarm clock. Go to bed around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each day – yes, even on weekends, even when you’re on vacation.
This step alone has helped many of my clients experience more even, consistent energy throughout the day.
What You Eat Impacts Your Energy, Too!
Eating a primarily unprocessed, unrefined, whole foods diet is one of the key ways to have more energy.
Your body gets energy from the proper absorption, assimilation and digestion of nutrients from high quality whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, beans, legumes and whole grains.
Processed and refined foods, such as cakes, cookies, chips, etc., however, can be difficult for the body to break down and may cause your body to pull minerals from your own body stores in order to properly digest the foods, causing a deficiency in specific minerals and nutrients and ultimately causing you to feel more tired.
But it’s also not enough to eat healthy, as what healthy means can vary from individual to individual. Some individuals have food sensitivities/allergies/intolerances, some of the most common ones being dairy, wheat/gluten and soy. Eating foods you are sensitive/intolerant to can impair your digestion and make you feel more tired and sluggish.
One of the best ways to get a sense of how your body is to keep a food/energy journal and tune in to what foods best nourish your unique body. My clients are often amazed when they realize that foods they previously thought were healthy are actually not so healthy for them, and foods they thought they would not enjoy are actually quite nourishing to their bodies.
Tune Into Your ‘Rhythms’
The seasons, your menstrual cycle, the moon cycles – can all affect your energy levels.
Do you ever notice how you seem to be less energetic during the winter season and naturally more energetic during the summer?
Or how, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, you may naturally feel more energetic some days, and less so other days?
Be mindful of when your energy naturally dips and when your energy is at its peak. Pay attention to the cues of your body. Try to schedule your power tasks when you’re most energetic and alert, and intentionally set aside quiet, reflective time and activities for when your energy is naturally lower.
In other words, learn how to work with your natural energy, instead of trying to swim upstream with it.
The reality is that everyone needs rest and recharge time. Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how tired we really are because so many of us just don’t give ourselves the permission to slow down. There is a common misconception that fatigue is a bad thing. Everyone just wants to have more energy. The irony is that the more you intentionally set aside rest and recharge times regularly and in sync with your rhythms, the more energetic you will feel overall.
Address Any Underlying Stressors and/or Health Conditions
Sometimes chronic fatigue can be caused by underlying stressors, such as finances, relationships, environment, health, etc. You can be eating the healthiest diet and doing everything else right, but if you’re not addressing the underlying stress that’s zapping your energy, you’re most likely not going to be able to maintain high energy consistently until you’ve addressed the root cause.
In addition, chronic fatigue that doesn’t seem to resolve after implementing the above steps can indicate a deeper, underlying health issue. Anemia, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s are common health conditions that can lead to chronic fatigue.
If you suspect that this may be the case for you, consult with professionals who have experience with fatigue/energy issues and can create a customized blueprint for you to have more even, consistent energy every day.