Where has my energy gone?

Fatigue is the enemy of productivity. When we are low on energy, just getting through the work day can be a chore and we are left with no motivation to get things done or make clear decisions.

The good news is that there are simple lifestyle tweaks that can boost your energy and enthusiasm for tackling even the toughest of workday challenges.

Sleep

Sleep isn’t just about resting – lack of sleep not only leads to fatigue, but also to decreased strength and stamina, and depression symptoms. Growth hormone, a protein made by the pituitary gland, plays a role in making muscles healthy and bones strong. It affects how our bodies collect fat (especially around the stomach area) and it helps balance the ratio of good to bad cholesterol. It’s also essential for normal brain function. Since growth hormone is secreted primarily when we sleep, high-quality shut-eye each night will help keep weight and pain down and boost your energy. Try to switch off devices at least an hour before your bedtime and take a warm bath instead of watching that extra Netflix episode. Your  brain will thank you for it the following day!

Keep your goals realistic

Being a perfectionist can sap your energy, causing you to spend longer than necessary worrying over your decisions. Instead of moving forward with a task, perfectionists obsessively circle back, ruminating about whether they are performing well enough. Perfectionists set goals that are so unrealistic that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, and in the end, there is no sense of self-satisfaction. If this sounds like a pitfall you tend to fall into, try setting a time limit for yourself on your projects, and take care to stick to it. In time, you’ll realise that the extra time you were taking wasn’t actually improving your work.

Get moving

You can jump-start your energy by getting up from your desk and moving around. When you get moving, nitric oxide is released from the artery linings to allow blood to move freely through your vessels. This helps get more nutrients to your cells. Your body responds to your actions. If you sit still at your desk all day your body will downshift energy production. If you tell your body that you need to have a brisk lunchtime walk or exercise session, it responds by giving you the energy you need to do just that.

Adjust your office lunch

Filling up on processed carbs such as white pasta / bread / rice or biscuits, chocolate and crisps causes spikes and dips in blood sugar that leave you dozing off in the afternoon. These foods hit the bloodstream too fast, giving you a quick rise in blood sugar, followed by an energy crash as the levels drop. This leaves you feeling light-headed, moody, irritable and exhausted.

Keep blood sugar steady by including lean proteins and whole grains in your office lunch and wave goodbye to that mid-afternoon energy dip.