Put Some Spring In Your Step: 5 Surprising Ways To Boost Your Energy
The days are getting longer, buds are starting to blossom (unless you’re still buried under snow in the Northeast, if so, my heart goes out to you), and the sun is actually making an appearance here in the Pacific Northwest, which is definitely cause for celebration.
Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, shaking off the cobwebs of winter, emerging from the dark cocoon and hopefully, feeling energized now that we aren’t dragging a stroller through the slush. But I can remember so many times throughout my mom life that I just simply couldn’t get out of bed, the exhaustion was so real.
Barring genuine sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn, or a more serious medical condition like autoimmune disease that can cause extreme fatigue, there are steps you can take to regain some of your vibrant energy and get that spring back in your step. You might be surprised at some of these suggestions, but give them a try and watch your energy levels rise, gifting you some much-needed superpowers.
Break Up With Caffeine. I know, hold the phone. This is not a typo and not a drill. Many of us rely on coffee to get through the day (or even worse, when I met my husband he was a soda drinker! Multiple cans a day!). One cup turns into two, then three, then a mid-afternoon espresso, and then an after-dinner pick-me-up. While a small amount of caffeine can be stimulating, too much can cause anxiety, jitteriness and insomnia. I often recommend trying to reduce or cut caffeine to see how much you are trying to trick your body into doing too many things and relying on caffeine to get by. Another great alternative is green tea or matcha - while it has some caffeine, it has less of a spike than coffee and is also chock full of antioxidants that are linked to a whole host of benefits from fighting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, to weight loss and more.
Hydrate Like A House Plant. We’ve all heard that humans are made of about 70% water, so it only goes to show that drinking water is essential for everything to function smoothly. During the day we lose water through normal bodily functions, like sweating, and even more when we exercise. We need water for our cells to work in harmony, for digestion to work smoothly, and dehydration can lead to fatigue and low energy levels. Sometimes we don’t even get thirsty until we are already dehydrated so it’s important to drink water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is about half your body weight in oz, but nursing or pumping moms and folks who exercise a lot need to increase their water intake accordingly.
Move Your Body. This is a bit of a catch-22 of the energy world - you might feel too tired to exercise, but energy usually begets energy, and just a brief workout can release endorphins, boost metabolism, increase blood flow and give you that extra burst of energy you need to tackle potty training or a class field trip. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, whether it’s going for a walk in the brisk air, or heading to a group exercise class. While I can’t stomach going to the gym, I love hiking, yoga and barre3, so figure out what works for you and try to work in at least 30 minutes of movement a day.
Ditch The Candy Jar. When we're feeling that afternoon slump the first thing we do is reach for a donut or chocolate bar or bag of gummy bears. Processed sugar can definitely give you a quick jolt of energy but it’s short-lived and followed by an unwelcome crash that just sets you up for more fatigue in the long run. Consuming processed, highly refined, high-glycemic foods causes a spike in blood sugar. This releases a flood of insulin, causing blood sugar levels to crash, bringing energy down with it, and the vicious cycle continues. We know that a diet high in processed sugar can also put you at risk for diabetes, obesity and heart disease. So it’s much better to reach for a healthy mix of complex carbohydrates and fats to keep you satisfied with a steady stream of energy. Think trail mix or homemade energy balls. https://detoxinista.com/date-energy-balls-vegan-paleo/
Tame Tension. Stress is probably the most insidious stealer of energy, but it’s also one of the most common. We all lead incredibly busy lives, juggling work, family, the demands of young kiddos, and being constantly available and “on call" thanks to technology. In the old days, you could leave work behind for the weekend, but now it follows you in the palm of your hand, with constant alerts, along with the siren pull of social media and its own host of stressors. Stress can manifest as anxiety, poor sleep, racing thoughts, or an inability to relax or be present, constantly worrying about the past or the future. In studies, women also report more stress than men and more fatigue as a result. Ways to reduce stress include unplugging during designated times of day or even entire days on the weekend, taking up a mindfulness or meditation practice, and seeking professional help if the stress and anxiety become severe or unmanageable.
You’ll notice that "Get More Sleep” didn’t make it on to this list, and I know it often feels like an impossible task as a mom. But it still goes without saying that if you can get a good night’s sleep, you might just wake up the next day feeling like you can conquer the world. After your matcha latte…
(*This post has also been published on the Mindful Mamas Club - it's a great blog/website, so go check it out!)
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