To Have More Energy We Need To Fuel Our Bodies And Our Minds
I was working with a group of business owners recently discussing their goals and aspirations and how to plan for them. I always begin with their vision for life, but inevitably we end up discussing the 'energy' it takes to start, keep going, stay balanced, appreciate your achievements, and do everything else that's required too. I believe this is especially important for women. Because I believe this is fundamental to all aspects of life, and to everyone, not just those in business I thought I'd share my thoughts here.
Remember, you need to put fuel in your car if you're going on a journey!
When your energy is running low and you can't keep going you could feel any number of these things:
- Lacking enthusiasm
- Not feeling in the flow
- Lacking empathy, intuition or spirituality
- What's the point?
- No / low motivation
- It's all just a bit too much
- Things happen to you instead of everything falling in to place
- You can't hear yourself think - let alone that quiet inner intuitive voice
- One step forwards, two steps backwards
- and plenty more.
If you feel like this - or similar - or if you just want to ensure you never do, you can do something to help you have more energy.
The Secret Is That You Need To Find The Right Combination Of Fuel To Keep You Going
It doesn't matter whether you have a massive life goal, a business idea, a busy family to look after, or anything else, we all need to look after ourselves first in order to do all the things that life demands. Or that we demand of ourselves.
I think there are four absolute essentials that no-one can continue to function without addressing.
Sleep - Are you getting enough? This is so important. Everyone is different but we all need a decent amount of good quality sleep overnight to ensure we are functioning at our optimum. It helps us to process all the things that go on inner lives, and also to regenerate physically. Personally I need 7 1/2 to 8 hours sleep. Ask yourself are you getting enough uninterrupted sleep? If not, is there anything you can do to help with the situation. I'll be writing more on this in the next few weeks, so watch this space!
Hydration - There is a consensus that 8 8 ounce glasses a day (about 1.9 litres) will keep you hydrated, improve your skin condition etc. There is also a school of thought that as your body is a self-regulating system you should go with the thirst trigger - i.e. when you're thirsty have some water. There is also conflicting opinion about what you should drink - just water, or does tea and coffee count? (there's even one study that shows beer can count but personally I'm not convinced this is such a great idea!) You can only go by what feels good to you. I personally know that when I drink 2 litres of (just) water or a combination of water and fruit/herbal teas, a day I feel more awake, have more energy and sleep better. I'll be doing some more research on this so keep an eye out. In the meantime, do you think you drink enough water? Be honest now, I know some people who go all day without a drink, is that you? What could you do to improve your hydration? Why not monitor it to see if it makes you feel better?
Nutrition - Food is the fuel that keeps our bodies and our minds functioning. If we under or overfill our tanks, we won't perform at out optimum. If we use diesel instead of unleaded we could have problems. Do you turn to high fat, high sugar snacks to get you through the day? Do you eat out of boredom, to procrastinate, or as a reward? Is this the best way to fuel yourself for all the things you want to or have to do in your life? Often the short cuts will have long term effects that we won't realise until it's too late. Lots of people say they can't eat breakfast. I was one of those people once, a long time ago. However, I know that if I fuel myself correctly in the morning I can get so much more done. This is especially important if I have a morning at the gym planned otherwise I won't make it through the classes. What changes could you make to improve the nutrition that your body receives?
Exercise - this may seem counter intuitive, but exercise really helps to improve your energy levels. If you can find the energy to exercise (eat good food!) then exercise will give you more energy to fulfil all the other things you want or have to do. It helps improve your mood, gets your heart and lungs pumping so you have more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the cells of your body, you have more energy and stamina, and helps you to fall asleep faster, and have a better quality of sleep (just don't do it too late it night otherwise you'll be buzzing). I mix things up and change my exercise routines regularly. I love training with weights but the gym can be lonely, so currently I prefer classes, they are fun, you get to meet people and I think I work harder with a trainer in the room. I like high impact, cardio vascular training, but I also love yoga and dancing so I have a real mix of exercise going on, at least 4 times a week. What can you do to add some regular exercise in to your week? A brisk walk with the dog? What do you love to do? A dance class may be more appealing than a run.
What Happens If Your Car Runs Out Of Fuel?
Make Sure you Top Up Regularly To Ensure You Have More Energy to Keep Going.
These are my basic requirements to keep myself energised. I don't always succeed in all areas but I do know that if I feel a bit run down at any point, I'm missing at least one of them. There are two other slightly less basic needs that I have, and I believe most people do, so I'm going to cover them briefly.
Make Sure You Have Enough Alone Time As Well As Human Contact To Help Give You More Energy
When I spend a lot of time continuously with people, especially if I'm training or running a workshop I can eventually feel a bit drained. This happens for lots of reasons including simply the physical energy it takes to participate in the event. I know that I need some quiet time to myself to regenerate and get my energy levels back to normal. Meditation is great for this, as is getting out in nature, or even just a quiet cup of tea on my own without any other stimuli.
Conversely, too much time spent alone can drive me a little bit bonkers! When I'm home based and haven't had human contact for a while I can feel a bit low and de-energised. this is when I need to get out and remember that I'm part of the human race. Text messaging and email doesn't really solve it as it's silent, non-human contact. The gym helps, combining this element with exercise is brilliant but doesn't always fully fix the problems there's not as much interaction as I need. Grabbing coffee with a friend, having a good catchup on the phone, going to a social or business event, or rounding a few people up for a night out are great ways to feel that connection with others again.
Be honest, check in with yourself now and again and ask yourself, do I have enough energy to fuel my life, as I want it to be? Is there something missing? If in doubt, try it out. see what happens. Have you ever thought you wouldn't go to that class, or in that run, and then when you do you tell yourself off for forgetting how great it makes you feel? Remember those moments. Leave yourself notes if necessary!
Take the time to find your required fuel combination, and keep topped up to ensure you have more than enough energy to fulfil all the things you wish to in this life.