by Michelle Cole, R.D., LDN, CDE
It is common for me to hear my patients say, “I just can't seem to find enough energy to make it through the day.” Trust me; I am right there with them.
Undoubtedly, by mid-afternoon each day, the inevitable “crash” hits us and no amount of caffeine or yawning seems to help. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true tips for keeping energy levels from plummeting as the day goes on.
- Laughter. Laughing out loud helps our bodies to release feel-good hormones known as endorphins. Endorphins send a chemical message to your brain that gives you more energy than a shot of espresso! Laughing also boosts your immune system and helps fight heart disease and depression. So why hold back? Crack a few jokes or watch a comedy.
- Move! Exercise is one of the best ways to boost those endorphins and re-energize your body. If you find yourself sitting most of the day, make a point to get up and walk around at least once every hour. Only have 10 minutes for lunch? Take a walk! You will feel much more energized and will be less likely to grab a sugary snack, which will actually make the fatigue worse. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
- Stretch. Stretching improves your circulation and eases stress and tension. Try to stretch or perform yoga moves each morning and during periods of sleepiness to get the heart pumping and your muscles loosened up.
- Drink up! Studies have shown time and time again that dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue. Hydrate yourself throughout the day by drinking a glass of water with each meal and sipping on water all day long. A good rule of thumb to ensure you’re drinking enough water is to divide your weight by two. This is the number of ounces that you should be drinking per day. Don't like the taste of plain water? Add a lemon wedge or use an infuser bottle to add your favorite fruits and/or herbs for a refreshing change in flavor!
- Get plenty of sleep. Adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night for a number of reasons – one being that it keeps your energy level consistently high throughout the day. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try meditation before bedtime. Or read a novel.
- Listen to music. Instead of an alarm buzzer waking you out of your deep sleep, set the alarm to your favorite music! Waking up to music will get you up and going in a better mood. Feeling that mid-afternoon slump coming on? Turn on some tunes and sing along! Music can change your mindset and bring life to your day.
- Snack Smart. The first thing we think of when we start to become tired is food. And rightly so – food does supply us with energy that is necessary to feel alive and energetic throughout the day. However, we tend to choose the wrong snacks when we are tired, such as sweets and salty crackers. Instead, make sure you snack smart. Choose protein-filled snacks such as a light Greek yogurt or an apple with peanut butter. Carry these snacks with you so that you are less likely to linger around the vending machines (and save yourself some money, too!)
Don't let the hustle and bustle of life bring you down and zap your energy. Try these tips to get you going again and you are sure to succeed!
Michelle Cole is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the FirstHealth Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center. She has worked with FirstHealth for three years. She has been a diabetes educator for nearly 10 years, and is also a fitness instructor at a local gym in Asheboro, where she resides with her husband and two boys. Health and fitness is her passion - "I enjoy working with people to help them see their potential and reach their health and fitness goals."
FirstHealth’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center offers services in Moore, Montgomery, Hoke and Richmond counties. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services, call (800) 364-0499 toll-free.