Tired, anyone? Who isn’t? Many of us are just worn out – in body, mind, and soul.
If someone could package and sell energy, it would probably be the best-selling product ever. Some have tried, and made a lot of money. Just look at the success of 5-Hour Energy®, Red Bull®, and a whole lot of others. Our culture is addicted to over-stimulation and overwork, and as a result is addicted to whatever promises a boost of “oomph.”
Unfortunately, there’s no free lunch. Like a tired horse, the human mind and body can only be whipped so long before they begins to break down. And many of the above-referenced products simply provide a way to whip the horse a little harder. Don’t believe the hype; many of them can be seriously dangerous. Indulging in a caffeine boost OCCASIONALLY may not harm you; making it an every-afternoon necessity is definitely not healthy.
But aren’t there some healthy ways to get more energy? Yes, there are. Here are some energy-boosters for both the short and the long term:
- Take a nap. Research shows that your mind will function more efficiently, and your performance is likely to improve, after just 20 minutes of dozing. Don’t dismiss this idea too quickly! You may get three times as much done in the hour following your nap.
- Eat on time. Whenever possible, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. Your brain and body need fuel to burn. You wouldn’t head out on a cross-country road trip with the tank registering “empty,” would you? Be sure to include at least some protein in your meals – yogurt, an egg, a piece of lean meat, etc.
- Ditch the junk food. That slump you feel mid-afternoon is almost certain to be a drop in blood sugar. So what do most people do? Grab a carb-filled snack. Bad idea! Instead, make sure your breakfast and lunch are protein-filled, and pick fruit, vegetables, or protein for your snack instead of junk.
- Take a walk. Some brief aerobic exercise, such as a walk in the fresh air or 20 minutes of pilates, may do wonders for your energy level. Physiologically, the exercise removes built-up waste products from your blood, and gets a surge of oxygen to your brain. And you get a rush of endorphins rushing in your blood too.
- Focus on what you CAN do. Frustration with fighting a losing battle will suck your energy every time. You can’t change the weather, the stock market, or your boss: don’t waste your energy trying! But there are always things you CAN change, including yourself. Focus there, and you’ll be energized.
- Follow your dream. Ever notice how un-tired you suddenly become when you receive some great news, get around a good friend or loved one, or have an opportunity to work on your favorite hobby? Plan time each day and each week to do something you love.
- Get rid of energy zappers. Some people and some activities drain the life out of you before you even get started. Look for the activities you don’t enjoy and can decrease or delegate to someone else. And consciously limit your contact with the people who sap all your energy.
- Get a medical checkup. Most cases of lack of energy are not related to any disease. But it’s so wise to be evaluated for anemia, thyroid dysfunction, immune dysfunction, and diabetes. Also, chronic pain or chronic illness can be very debilitating: if that’s you, give yourself some grace!
- Fill your energy tank. We all have our most effective ways to get filled up. For extroverts, it may be a meeting with friends or family. For introverts, it may be a walk in the park or an hour with a good book. And don’t forget the simple things like a long hot shower, or a tasty cup of coffee (in moderation!!).
- Ask for it. God has promised strength to those who need it. (Isaiah 40:31) If you are doing what He has given you to do to the best of your ability, you can be assured He will provide you energy for the task. God has no contract guaranteeing He will supply what you recklessly squander, however. So make sure you’re using the strength He gives you for the right purpose.
I challenge you to do these things consistently for 2 weeks, and see if you don’t find a tremendous increase in your energy level.
And for the record, there’s adequate medical evidence to show that MODEST caffeine use may be a net benefit to your health, for most people. That means perhaps 2-4 cups of coffee or tea/day. It does NOT mean a 5 Hour Energy® every afternoon!
Your Turn: What do you do when you need more energy? What energy-sappers are especially difficult for you? Leave a comment below.
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