Keeping energised can be a continual work-in-progress for many of us. As someone with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, I find the title a bit laughable. “Energy? What is that?”. While those with chronic illness may not find the same benefits as others when it comes to lifestyle changes to boost energy, there are a few things worth trying.
Every little helps in keeping ourselves as healthy, energised and motivated as possible to get through each day. This collaborative post explores just a couple of suggestions.
★ ★ ★
Every single morning provides us with new opportunities and a new chance to start again. Whether it’s things you want to do or things you need to do, being productive can be difficult for both physical and psychological reasons. In order to be productive, we need our bodies and our minds have some energy reserves to draw from. If you’ve ever felt lethargic going into a day and you don’t really have the motivation to do what’s ahead of you, then there may be a few things worth trying to see if you can turn that around a bit.
Sometimes we just need some respite and a break from what we’re doing. We might need some down time to recharge or a change of scenery to refresh ourselves. Here are five suggestions for helping to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Get Enough Sleep Every Night
This is easier said than done a lot of the time, but it’s worth it once you can get into the habit. If you’re finding yourself lacking energy or irritable throughout the day, then it may be worth considering your sleeping patterns. While 8 hours a night is the typical recommendation, it’s different for everyone and it can change with age, so it might take some trial and error to see whether you’re getting enough for you to function optimally.
If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, there are of course plenty of commonly suggested tips to try, whether it’s blackout curtains and reading a book for half an hour before bed, or meditation and all natural sleep aids that can come in handy should you ever find nodding off isn’t coming easily.
Drink Adequate Water (But Not Too Much!)
Up to around 60% of the body is made up of water, so we need to make sure that we’re replenishing it regularly. Of course, too much water can be potentially dangerous too, so it’s important to know the signs of both over and under hydration. Recommended intake levels vary depending on your health, the climate, your exertion levels and so on, so we need to ensure that we’re getting a suitable level for us as individuals.
Plenty of other fluids and foods, particularly fruits, also count towards your water intake. Drinking an adequate amount of water that suits your needs can make such a difference in your life.
Shake Up Your Nutrition For Sustained Energy
Getting enough nutrients is important, so if you’ve been meaning to give your diet a little revamp then there’s no time like the present. Everything in balance is usually the best way to go, and it’s typically recommended to skip faddy diets or restrictions so that you get a good range of vitamins and minerals from all food groups, including carbohydrates. Try to include more energy boosting foods like bananas, starchy carbs, fatty fish, iron-rich red meat, green veg, and fortified cereals.
If you’re feeling more tired than usual, speak to your doctor. It might be worth getting a general blood test to ensure you don’t have any undiagnosed deficiencies or conditions, especially with things like iron, B12 or hypothyroidism, all of which can leave you feeling exhausted.
If you’re not getting enough of the good stuff in your diet or you can’t absorb them well, such as because of a digestive issue, then you could consider supplements to keep your levels topped up. Think multivitamins, magnesium, iron, B12, probiotics, Vitamin D and so on. Speak to your doctor if you want a blood test to check your levels on key nutrients and vitamins and hormone levels to ensure everything’s optimal, or check out a home blood test privately if you have problems getting what you need from your practice.
Stay On Track With Your Calories For Energy
Calories are a tricky one. The key is with being aware without becoming obsessed, and viewing calories without judgement. Tasks like calorie-counting can be tedious for some, but once you get used to this kind of thing, it becomes a natural habit, for better or for worse. This isn’t advised for those with eating disorders, and we’re not talking about calorie counting for weight loss or self-flagellation. This is to make sure you’re getting enough calories each day to keep you going.
We all need different amounts because of different weight, body make-up, activity level etc. By checking what you’re getting and listening to your body, you become used to eating the right amounts for your body. If you eat too much or too little, then you won’t have the energy you need throughout the day. Not enough nutrients won’t help, whereas too much food can make you feel more lethargic.
Create A Plan & Get Into A Routine
Humans are typically creatures of habit, but you can make habits and routines for you work in a positive way. Plenty of people don’t like the idea of routines and they’re often shunned in self-help books because they can result in people getting stuck in comfort zones and bad habits. However, healthy habits can be life-changing, and after a few weeks they can stabilise in your routine and become much easier to practice.
Having a routine for the day can likewise help with energy. For those with chronic illness, fatigue or pain, pacing can be pivotal to ensuring you have enough ‘spoons’ to do the things you need to do. Working in short breaks regularly can help prevent extreme burnout and help you to recharge, while having a rough plan for the day can help limit procrastination and boost motivation.
Work On Your Overall Fitness
If you’re a fitter, healthier person overall, then you’ll literally have more stamina, strength, and durability to go through the day. By no means do you have to become an athlete, but working on your overall fitness would provide you with a lot more oomph during the day. Whatever your health, there are small steps, habits and changes that can help, even if that’s just a little more movement each day, an extra piece of fruit, a little more sleep, and so on. Don’t underestimate the power of small steps for our overall fitness, whatever your health or chronic conditions.
[ This is a collaborative post ]