Standard solutions and revitalizing hacks
By Jim Walker
There’s occasionally tired, and there’s always tired. There’s a little tired, and there’s too tired to function. There’s tired that is explainable, and there’s tired that seems unreasonable. If your tired runs toward always, too, or unreasonable, you should get a through medical, and possibly psychological, checkup. Then, aside from any necessary repairs, your doctor will probably have lots of advice about eating better, and sleeping and exercising more. These are effective and hallowed recommendations, and we will include them here in our standard list of energy reviving tips. But we will also include some non-standard, more imaginative tips, some “hacks” that have less of a proven track record, but might be easier to stick with.
Standard tips to improve your energy
Most of the standard tips we list here should be no surprise to you. They are advised nearly universally. You are aware of them and even believe them. But the hard part is following them. However, they are continually being “improved” as new ways to implement them evolve.
Get good sleep: “Good sleep” used to be measured in hours. But now it’s about the quality of your sleep as much as its length. Entire books are devoted to sleep quality, but the least you can do is allow enough time in your schedule to find it. “I can get by on four hours a night,” is just delusional.
Eat well: This subject is constantly being refined, but current thinking includes eating complex carbs, rather than sugar, taking in more fiber and less ultra-processed foods, and maintaining the right flora in your gut. Studies have shown that one of the first indicators your flora is off is fatigue.
Exercise: Here is another subject where the definition of getting “enough” or the “right” exercise is constantly evolving. But things are getting easier. Taking regular 30-minute walks may be all you need. You might also get up and move as often as you can during the day.
Drink more water: Fatigue can be an indicator of dehydration, and staying properly hydrated helps energize your muscles and improve your outlook. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake (from all beverages and foods) is about 15.6 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men, and about 11.4 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. Obviously, this will increase with exercise and temperature.
Limit alcohol: Drinking none or a little is the way to go, depending on who is advising. But if it is getting in the way of your sleep, performance or outlook, you are drinking too much.
Don’t smoke: This is universally recommended, and you know the many reasons why.
Control stress: Stress happens. You can’t avoid stress completely, only limit it and control your response to it. Consider taking up meditation, or at least taking regular breaks during the day to ponder nature or other beautiful or relaxing things. Put down the smart phone and get away from other screens.
Hacks for increasing energy
No claim is made here about the effectiveness of the following tips. We include them to broaden your horizons – and because they are easier than exercising or eating well.
Use caffeine strategically: While some would list cutting out caffeine completely as a standard tip, newer thinkers are advising using it strategically. But using too much can be counter-productive, and using it too late in the day might interfere with your sleep.
Snack well: When your energy runs low, consider a power protein bar instead of potato chips.
Connect with people: For most people, socialization helps improve mood and increase energy. And try to get some laughs in.
Expose yourself to natural light: Studies have shown that exposure to natural light has positive effects on health and mood and energy. So, get at least 15 minutes of it a day.
Listen to music: Stimulating (but not too stimulating) music can elevate mood and drown out distractions.
Visualize your day: Before you begin your day, take a few minutes to visualize, in detail, the tasks you want to accomplish. See yourself succeeding at them. You will be more efficient, effective and successful – and find yourself feeling energized by that success.
Stimulate your sense of smell: Smelling cinnamon, or stimulating oils, such as peppermint, rosemary and eucalyptus, can increase alertness and elevate mood.
Chew peppermint gum: Chewing gum is known to increase alertness, and peppermint gum brings in a stimulating smell.
Massage your ears: Gently rubbing your ears will increase blood flow and stimulate nerves that will help keep you alert.
Wear orange lenses: For some people, brightening the colors around them can have a stimulating effect. But others might be overstimulated.