Although many do not recognize it, energy is the driving force to how each individual operates in the world. However, many people sometimes have low energy and unable to do things productively. As a result, there are numerous supplements and drugs available (over-the-counter and not) that aim to modify individual energy levels.
One can improve energy levels without the use of drugs and supplements. However, for an added boost, I do often suggest several all-natural/organic supplements that can be utilized effectively to increase energy.
Examine the areas of your life that you think can still be improved or “hacked”, as some may say. If you are honest with yourself, I’m sure you’ll identify these areas that could use some improvement.
But before you can learn how to boost your energy, you should know what causes your low energy in the first place.
Causes of Low Energy
We all can’t be full of energy all the time. Like everything in life, there are ups and downs in terms of our energy levels. Here are the 7 causes of low energy.
1. Circadian Rhythm and Lack of Sleep
Circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle of an individual. It repeats on each rotation of the Earth (roughly every 24 hours).
In our technological age, sleep has become an after-thought for many. Many people practice poor sleep habits, such as eating before bed, going to sleep too late, watching TV, or using smartphones/tablets before bed.
All of these habits harm our circadian rhythm. Eating before bed and blue light exposure from screens are both major disruptors of our circadian rhythm.
2. Lack of Hydration
Surprisingly, when I speak with most people about hydration, they are the first to admit they don’t drink enough water. When people ask me about illness or even something as seemingly simple as a headache, my first question is always “do you drink enough water?”, and the answer is always no.
Why people don’t associate illness, disease, or dysfunctions within the body with a lack of hydration is beyond me, especially since up to 60% of the human adult body is water.
According to H.H. Mitchell, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, respectively. Moreover, the lungs are approximately 83% water, while muscles and kidneys are 79% water. The skin contains 64% water and bones are composed of 31% water.((USGS: The Water in You: Water and the Human Body))
With that in mind, it’s honestly a no-brainer that if someone is feeling a bit off, hydration is the first thing to examine. Beyond simply consuming more water, the quality of water is also a factor.
Personally, I drink water that has been filtered through a Santevia filter, which helps restore the body’s natural pH level with an alkaline water filter system. Alternatively, I drink natural spring water. Both of these options are better approaches to water consumption.
3. Lack of Exercise
This goes beyond exercising in a gym. Most people live very sedentary lives where most of their day is spent either in bed (sleeping), watching TV (sitting), on a computer/smartphone (sitting), or commuting/driving (sitting).
Rewind 10,000 or even 5,000 years and consider that most humans were up and active for the majority of the day. Movement is needed to generate energy and additionally, to increase circulation/blood flow and synovial fluid, which is primarily involved in reducing friction between the articular cartilages of your synovial joints when you’re moving.((NCBI: Hyaluronan and synovial joint: function, distribution, and healing))
4. Poor Nutrition
In 2020, this has become even more prevalent for many people in society because fast-food chains have increasingly been the source of food. On the other hand, many people have taken it upon themselves to begin cooking more at home. However, even with grocery store ingredients, this can impede energy levels.
The old expression “you are what you eat” is absolutely true. Without going on a tangent, I will simply say that mass factory-farmed protein is not high-quality protein and chemically modified (pesticide sprayed) produce and vegetables is not ideal either. Most especially, fast-foods are generally unhealthy and give unneeded calories without much nutrients to justify it.((Medical News Today: What happens when you eat fast food?))
5. Poor Breathing Patterns/Habits
This one really gets me in that much of our society now is wearing a mask throughout parts of the day or even the whole day. The problem with this is a lack of clean air/oxygen and an abundance of recycled carbon dioxide.
Heightened carbon dioxide and lack of clean oxygen can lead to Hypoxia (when body tissue does not get enough oxygen) or Hypercapnia (elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood causing dizziness, shortness of breath, headache, hyperventilation, seizures, and in extreme cases death.).
Poor breathing has already been a global epidemic as far as I can tell, especially with the increasing levels of air pollution. It is also caused by poor posture, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, stress, anxiety, and more. Now with the Covid-19 pandemic, improper use of masks can amplify the lack of oxygen that many had already been experiencing.
Overthinking, in general, can be extremely energy-draining for an individual. This ties-in with stress, depression, and anxiety. I even present the notion that excess thinking is something that can be carried over generationally, meaning if your parents (especially mother) had been prone to overthinking, it can be challenging for a child, especially later in life. This can be confirmed by the genetic carrying-over of certain mental illnesses, such as dementia, bipolarism, and more.((Rethink Mental Illness: Does mental illness run in families?))
Not taking time to unwind and relax will most likely lead to low energy levels. Life does not revolve around various types of work, though some would argue that point. Overworking and overthinking go hand in hand, and both need to be seriously examined by anyone looking to improve energy levels.
How to Boost Your Energy
Now that we know the main causes of low energy, we can now better tackle this problem. Here are some ways to help you boost energy.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Our society devalues sleep for some reason, yet it is the number one most effective way to ensure you feel alert and energized throughout the day. Begin with setting a plan for sleep habits.
As an example, I aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night during the week and 8-9 hours of sleep on weekends. The plan includes getting to bed before 12 am and, in some cases, before 11 pm. Part of this plan includes not eating at least 2 hours before bed, though I have to admit I don’t always achieve that and when I do eat too close to bedtime, it noticeably disrupts my sleep throughout the night.
2. Don’t Forget to Drink Water
Hydration is a simple one to tackle in my opinion. We’ve got so many third-party sleep and hydration tracking mobile apps nowadays and using your default phone reminders allows you to set a reminder to drink a glass of water.
I suggest setting a reminder to drink a glass of water (8oz for example) several times throughout the day. I personally feel best when consuming between 3-4L of water per day (approx 1 gallon).
Exercise doesn’t need to be as strict as going into a gym and lifting weights, though I suggest doing just that as it is very beneficial for your physical and mental well-being. Simply going for a 15min walk 3-4 times throughout the day (walking for 45min-60min per day) would yield great results in terms of boosting your energy.
Want to step it up a notch? Go walking in nature for that 60min per day as there are many benefits to ‘Forest Bathing’, ‘Nature Therapy’, or Shinrin-Yoku.
4. Try Yoga and Conscious Breathing
Yoga practices are something I have been adopting more as time goes on. The reason is simply that it combines a type of exercise/movement with focused/conscious breathing. As you can tell from this article, movement and breathing play a large part in the energy of an individual—from generating to expenditure. Here’s How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses).
Practice conscious breathing, and draw your attention to the breath more frequently throughout the day. One method I can suggest is to take a small thread or string and cut a piece that can wrap around your belly (navel) but not tightly. You should be able to fit 2 fingers (approx 1 inch) between the string and your belly. You can test the required length by taking a deep diaphragmatic (360-degree core expanding) belly breath and cutting the string at the point where your navel expands most.
Once you have the string in place, keep it on throughout the day. It acts as a physical queue/reminder that you should be expanding your full core and taking deep breaths throughout the day. This approach helps unlearn shallow or chest breathing habits. You will gradually notice an increase in energy on the sheer fact that you are breathing more optimally throughout the day.
5. Meditate to Avoid Overthinking and Overworking
Addressing overthinking and overworking happens in large part when one has a better grasp of the aforementioned energy boosters of sleep, hydration, exercise, and breathing.
Specifically addressing the matter of overthinking, I have in many cases suggested various forms of meditation. However, for this particular article, I’m circling back to Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing/Nature Therapy) as it allows one to perform a walking and nature-type meditation while boosting energy.
Regarding overworking, you’ll find that if you improve sleep habits, your waking state will substantially improve, and of course, you’ll also start generating and utilizing energy more optimally.
Simply put, try these steps either one by one, a few at a time, or all at once. You will see improvements with each suggestion, and they are good remedies whenever you’re feeling low on energy. Energy begets more energy, meaning you will then continue to improve how you manage energy levels.
More Tips for When You Have Low Energy
- 7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days
- Managing the Ebb and Flow of Energy
- 14 Simple Hacks to Increase Energy No Matter Your Age
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