High Energy Lifestyle Choices
Did you know that primary care physicians report that the number one complaint of patients is chronic fatigue? While symptoms of fatigue could be related to a medical diagnosis such as a thyroid imbalance, depression or sleep apnea, lifestyle choices are the more likely cause. Many patients are frustrated when they share their concerns with their doctors and only to learn that the results of routine medical tests are within normal limits. If you've found yourself in this situation, it may be time to explore options for increasing your energy.
Let's start by taking a look at common energy drainers. The most common include poor sleep, stress, personal and job demands, and lack of time or too much to do. Typically, all of these concerns interact to create a state of persistent anxiety that depletes energy.
Some fairly simple lifestyle changes can counteract some of the energy drainers. Energy is generated by proper nutrition, physical activity, adequate sleep, positive attitude and taking time for relaxation. How do you measure up in these five areas?
1. Are you depending upon caffeine and sugar to fix that mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump? Observe more closely, both of these substances set us up for a roller coaster of highs and lows throughout the day. In addition, afternoon or evening caffeine could be impacting your sleep.
2. Are you too busy for physical activity? Try taking a 10-15 minute walking break. You will be more productive when you return to your task.
3. Do you go to bed only to find that you rehash your day or focus on your to do list and have difficulty falling asleep? It's helpful to start unwinding before bedtime by developing a relaxing routine. Reading for pleasure or journaling is often helpful to quiet the mind. Planning for 7-8 hours of sleep also results in greater energy levels. Getting fewer hours of sleep has not been demonstrated to increase productivity.
4. Attitudes are contagious. Have you ever noticed how you feel like your energy has just been sucked out of you by someone else's negativity? Luckily, positive attitudes are just as contagious. Focus on the things for which you're grateful and avoid naysayers when you're feeling vulnerable.
5. Most of us don't take enough relaxation breaks throughout the day. Even a few minutes of deep breathing can rejuvenate. Try sitting in your car and taking slow, deep breaths for a couple of minutes before you start your drive home from work, or before going into work or when you arrive home at the end of the day. Just those couple of minutes of deep breathing can be refreshing and can help you to re-focus.
So…what are you waiting for? Choose one thing that you will do to generate more energy. The lifestyle choices you make will positively impact the quality of your life. You're the only one who can determine how to stop draining your energy and start producing it.
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