Energy and Mood

Easy Energy Boosts for When You Feel Like the Walking Dead

Do you start the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but find yourself losing steam steadily throughout the day? Or are you one of those people who feels tired from the moment they wake up and you start missing your bed before you’ve even lifted your head from the pillow? We often see this lack of energy as normal and a natural result of modern life. Some of us even take a weird pride in being stressed-out and exhausted, as if it shows that we’re important and busy. Sure, we get tired sometimes. It happens to the best of us, but, if you’re constantly feeling like the life is being sucked out of you,  you’re gonna want to do something about that. The situation isn’t hopeless, and there are a variety of fixes that can do wonders if we are willing to give it a go. Here are just a few to chew on for now:

Breathing Exercises

We breathe all day long without giving it a second thought and we can really take this vital function for granted. Did you know that there are various breathing techniques that can be used to induce specific states? By consciously focusing on our breath and doing particular breathing exercises, we can actually effect physical changes in the body. We are able to do this because breath is something we can control and regulate. Pretty amazing! You’ll be happy to know that there is one breathing exercise in particular that can do wonders on the energy front. The Stimulating Breath, which is also known as the Bellows Breath, was adapted from a yogic breathing technique. It will make you more alert and is meant to stimulate vital energy, which may also be referred to as your ‘life force’ or ‘chi’.

  • Keeping your mouth closed but relaxed, inhale and exhale rapidly through the nose. Your inhales and exhales should be equal in length, but as fast as possible. You’ll be making a bit of noise with this one, so you might want to go somewhere private.
  • Try for three in and out cycles per second, and be sure to breath normally between cycles.
  • The effect can be intense and you don’t want to try for more than 15 seconds on your first go round. After you get comfortable doing it, you can gradually increase the time by five seconds until you can do the exercise for one full minute.

No excuses that you are too busy for this one! All you need is 15 seconds to start, and it will never take you more than a minute. If you want some guidance, you can check out a video of natural health expert Dr. Andrew Weil demonstrating the technique here.

Meditation

When you think of boosting your energy, meditation may not be the first thing to pop into your mind. You may even think it would worsen your energy woes by getting you into a nice relaxed state where the only thing you want to do is sleep. But, it is actually a great way to boost energy. Poor stress management is a big contributor to fatigue, because when you feel stressed your body releases hormones that can zap your energy and make you feel tired. While our ancestors were exhausted after spending all day hunting for food, our modern exhaustion is a very different animal, but we still experience the same chemical reactions as those who came before us. One of the best ways to change perception and quiet your monkey mind is meditation. It can provide immediate effects when you take a short break and get zen for a few minutes, as well as far-reaching benefits such as sleeping better, boosting growth hormone, decreasing activity in the stress region of the brain, and raising your ‘stress ceiling’. A recent study by researchers at Keck School of Medicine at UCLA found that people who practiced meditation slept better, experienced less fatigue during the daytime and reported lower levels of depression, when compared to people who were simply educated on proper sleep hygiene.

Carb Considerations

Diet can make a huge impact on our energy levels. We all know food is fuel, but we often fail to appreciate how deeply it can affect every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. While carbohydrates have gotten quite the nasty reputation in recent years, not all of them are evil poisons. Complex carbs are the fuel of choice for your body. Simple carbohydrates can also work for an immediate energy boost, but choose wisely here. Go for the fruit, not the candy bar in the vending machine. We have all heard about the crash that comes from eating those foods, but we may not understand why. When your blood sugar is running low, and then you give it a quick shot with a sugary treat, it makes things all unstable, and it will fall again. But, it just doesn’t fall back to where it was before, it typically goes even lower, which is why it makes you feel so terrible. Processed carbs have that same effect of quick energy burn that will not last. Choose your carbs wisely and you can find yourself with a nice energy boost that lasts.

Article Resources:
www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00161/Dr-Weils-Breathing-Exercises-Stimulating-Breath.html archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2110998

The Glucose Connection: How Blood Sugar Affects Your Energy Levels

The Mexican tradition of taking a siesta after lunch definitely has its merits, but if your workday doesn’t have a built-in nap time, you may need to look at your eating habits for ways to find extra energy. Sometimes it’s about what you eat. Sometimes it’s about WHEN you eat. Both are important… You probably already know several reasons why WHAT you eat is important.

Balancing Blood Glucose

Blood glucose is the answer to why WHEN you eat is important. Sometimes referred to as blood sugar, it’s what supplies energy to the cells in our bodies. If you have a balanced glucose level, your get-up-and go energy level should be fine. It’s when it’s not balanced that you have a problem. The glucose in your blood is made from the food you eat. The problem is that not all foods are created equally in this department. Sugary foods (like donuts or pop), processed foods (like puffed rice cereal or pretzels), and refined carbohydrates (like pasta and white bread) can quickly raise your blood glucose level. The short-term effects of eating these foods feel great. You might get an energy surge or “sugar rush”. The longer-term effects, however, are not so great. When your body gets a rush of glucose, your body sees this as an anomaly and produces insulin to quickly get your blood glucose levels down to normal. (People with diabetes have a problem producing enough insulin, so they have to be particularly careful about their blood glucose levels.) This sudden and inevitable drop in blood glucose is what makes you feel like curling up into a ball and snoozing after a big meal. For some people, it can also cause headaches, foggy thinking, or even a jittery feeling. The good news is that there are ways to control this rollercoaster glucose effect. It involves balancing your glucose intake by watching what, how much, and when you eat. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Once you know some of the basic rules, it’s pretty easy to figure out.

Eat a Little a Lot

The easiest way to keep your blood glucose levels balanced is to eat lots of small meals and light snacks. This can sometimes be a little difficult, as much of our social culture involves eating large, long meals with others. But try to get creative. For example, have a little trail mix as a mid-morning snack so you’re not ravenously hungry at lunch. Or instead of having two helpings of casserole at dinner, just have one and promise yourself a yogurt later in the evening. If you want to munch on something while others are still at the table eating, try low-glucose foods like raw veggies.

Eat Low Glucose Foods

Yes, that’s probably stating the obvious. The trick is figuring out which foods are low in glucose. If you’re really interested in this there are lots of websites that list the Glycemic Index (GI) of foods. The GI measures how a food containing carbohydrates affects blood sugar. A food with a low GI is good. The higher the GI, the more a food raises blood glucose. But unless you are diabetic, you probably don’t want to bother with looking up a food’s GI every time your tummy starts to rumble. Fortunately, there are some general guidelines to help you figure out if a food has a low or high GI without any fuss:

  • Most fruits and non-starchy vegetables have a low GI. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, some fruit – like melons and pineapple – have a high GI. There are also some starchy vegetables like sweet potato and corn that have a low GI. Another point to keep in mind is that the riper the fruit is, the higher the GI.
  • Processing food tends to increase the GI, so try not to overdo it with processed foods. Have a piece of whole fruit instead of juice, oatmeal instead of processed cereal or whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
  • In most cases, the longer a food is cooked, the higher its GI. Eat lightly steamed vegetables instead of boiled vegetables, or better yet, eat your veggies raw.

Balance the Where and When Factors

If you have some high GI foods in your diet – and most people do – try to balance what you eat them with and when. In other words, combine high and lower GI foods in the same meal. Some dieticians refer to this as “sharing the health wealth”. Your body can only use so many nutrients at a time, so spread out eating the good stuff. For instance, instead of having a humongous sandwich at lunch and a salad for dinner, have half a sandwich and half a salad for two meals. In this case, a mix of the yin and yang in your diet will help you to have enough energy to make it through your day.

Article Resources: www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249413.php www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/living-with-type-2-diabetes www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/10344206/How-to-stop-feeling-tired-and-maintain-your-energy-levels.html www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/symptoms-of-low-blood-sugar-topic-overvie www.oprah.com/health/Keeping-Your-Blood-Sugar-Levels-Under-Control www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/energy-boosters/tips/get-more-energy/

Feeling Raw: Boost Your Energy Levels By Eating Raw For A Day

You may have heard raw foodists talk about finding great beauty in growing, preparing and eating living foods, but for most people interested in a raw diet, the real beauty is in the long-term health benefits and increased energy that eating raw brings. Mimi Kirk, the author of Live Raw, says that eating raw foods reverses the natural aging process, stating in interviews that she accredits her youthful appearance and vibrancy to eating raw for over forty years.

 

The trouble, for many who wish to reap these benefits, is that adopting a raw food diet seems costly and time-consuming (and, well, boring!). The good news is that the best way to experience raw foods is by incorporating them into your regular food routine and enjoying the occasional raw food day or week. These tips can help you get started without overwhelming yourself.

  • RAID THE HOUSE – Start by going through your pantry and getting rid of refined, processed or “dead” foods. This will help you to avoid temptation when starting out and will improve your diet overall, including your cooked meals and snacks.
  • PLAN AHEAD Do some research into recipes you would like to try and plan a few days ahead at a time. Try to include some raw foods in each day’s plan, maybe even planning an entire raw meal or two. Pick recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients and that can be made in batches and stored.
  • GO SHOPPING – After you plan your recipes, make your grocery list and head to the store. In the produce section, be sure to buy all the colors of the rainbow, and remember no boxes, cans or cartons. If there is a store near you that offers non-GMO, organic foods, that’s a great place to start.
  • START SMALL – Take each day one meal at a time. Be fair with yourself; if you slip up don’t sweat it, just move on to the next meal. You can start by challenging yourself to eating something raw at one meal or snack per day and gradually work up to eating an entirely raw meal here and there. When you’re ready, you can even try eating all raw food for an entire day or weekend.
  • START SIMPLE – As far back as the late 19th and early 20th centuries Maximillian Bircher-Benner was the first to tout the benefits of eating raw food in order to heal the body and maintain overall health. He is best known for inventing Muesli. Muesli is made by combining raw rolled oats, fruits, and nuts; a simple combination that has become a classic. Delicious, healthy food doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated.
  • MAKE IT FUN! – Raw food doesn’t have to be all veggie sticks and salads. Fermented foods offer great nutrition along with exciting flavours and textures. Kimchi is a delicious fermented food that can be a great starting point for eating raw.  It requires only a few ingredients and once made it can last a long time in the refrigerator, plus it is low in calories. Smoothies with nut butters are another fun favourite. They’re quick to make and pack a protein punch along with your fruits and veg.

Going raw for only a few days can help reset metabolism and increase energy levels. Consuming live foods like sprouts, nuts, leafy greens, vegetables and fruits raw offers more in terms of nutrients than eating their cooked counterparts. Adding a blender, a food processor and a dehydrator to your kitchen arsenal can help you to unlock the nutrition within many foods, while making them easier for your body to digest without cooking. There are plenty of online communities for raw foodists; this can be a great way to find tested recipes and connect with like-minded individuals who may have additional suggestions for starting out and staying on track.

Recipe: Tangerine-Tomato Soup

Try this delicious and beautifully coloured soup as a light snack or use it as a dressing for cucumbers.

1-4 medium tomatoes, cored 4 tangerines or clementine oranges 1 sprig of fresh basil 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 tablespoon cumin ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt (natural grey salt) or to taste ½ a jalapeno pepper, seeded ½ clove of garlic, minced ½ cup sesame seeds (optional)

Peel oranges and place tomatoes and oranges into the blender. Pulse to liquefy then add spices and herbs. Enjoy at room temperature.

NATURE’S RAW NUTRIENT POWERHOUSE. PANASEEDA FLAX OIL.

Article Resources:

health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/12/27/how-to-boost-your-energy-levels-in-just-one-night

youngonrawfood.com/about-me/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_Bircher-Benner

Skin Care DIY

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the face is the frame. Everyone wants perfect skin, free from blemishes and scarring. We also want even tone and fewer, if any, wrinkles. Yet few of us understand skin and its fickle ways. One day you’re blemish-free and the next you’re battling a break-out. Some of us have aging skin or dark spots. Dermatologists often prescribe pharmaceuticals that effectively wipe away break-outs, but they can leave skin parched and thirsting for a better solution. To improve your skin, start by looking at a couple of factors:

  • What is your skin type?
  • What are your skin issues?
  • What tactics have you already tried?

Flawless skin, starts with genetics, but what you eat and what you put on your skin are also important. According to the Mayo Clinic you need to know what type of skin you have in order to correctly treat it. Next, take into consideration the effects that sun damage could be having on your skin and protect your skin religiously from UVA and UVB rays. Finally, remember that any time you lose moisture, as with a hot bath, you should be sure to give it back.

Selecting Your Products

The products you use can either positively or negatively affect your skin’s look and feel. Reading labels for product ingredients and contraindications can help you to keep the things you can control in check. It is safe to say that buying organic facial and skin care products is a good place to start, but what if that isn’t always an option for one reason or another?  If you’re crafty you might find enjoyment in making your own skin care products. You can easily whip up a fresh batch of vitamin lotion or serum in your own kitchen. You’ll wind up with yummy products that contain only the ingredients you put into them, for a fraction of the cost. 

Vitamin Lotions

There are a few lotions on the market that claim to deliver vitamins directly to the skin. Doctors will sometimes prescribe vitamin lotions or creams that work topically for eczema or psoriasis. The thing is when we hear about vitamin lotions or creams we assume that the vitamins will enter our bloodstream helping our overall vitamin intake, another words we think by applying the cream to our skin daily or as needed it will sink in deeper. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough vitamins in the cream to go that far- at least not in any over the counter type of vitamin creams.  So how can work around this and assist the skin to heal and sustain vitamins topically?  You can deliver moisture to the skin by way of a humidifier or, you can create your own vitamin lotions. Doing both things is also another option. Creating your very own serums and lotions that have the ability to deliver better nutrients to the skin is easy and when talking about Vitamin C lotions can also do double duty as a mild dark spot lightener.  It should be noted that online retailers, big box stores and natural food stores also carry commercial brand vitamin B lotions and patches. Again, these usually work locally and probably don’t have much impact on overall delivery of vitamins to the whole body.

WATER WORKS

Making a quick do it yourself at home facial serum looks to be relatively easy. You’ll need;

  • L-Ascorbic Acid
  • Purified Water(not tap if possible)
  • A small dark colored container(Amber or blue glass bottle)
  • Measuring spoon

You can usually find Ascorbic Acid online at many retailers or even locally at a naturals store in your area.  Using a measuring spoon – take approximately 1/8 a teaspoon of powder placing it in the bottle, pour in small amount of room temp water.  Shake well- check the consistency to make sure it is a thin gel.  A serum usually can be slightly runny but thick enough to stay in a dropper without squeezing the dropper. If it is runny add a little more powder. Remember the shelf life of Vitamin C is short, it is best to make a small batch and use it up. The less waste the better and the recipe is so simple that it can be whipped up on the spot with little prep. A more detailed explanation of this process can be found here.

Article References:
www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237 www.health.harvard.edu/family_health_guide/moisturizers-do-they-work www.whiterskin.info/make-your-own-vitamin-c-serum-or-cream/

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene for More Energy Throughout the Day

There’s no definitive answer to the question of how much sleep you need; it’s different for everyone. That said, most people do best with about 7 to 8 hours nightly. The best way to figure it out is to take stock of how you feel the following day after a certain amount of sleep. If you’re just not able to get into high gear, focus, and thrive throughout the day (without an IV of coffee), you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Or, you may be getting too much, which can sap your energy, counterintuitive though it may seem. Of course, being in bed for the right number of hours isn’t the whole picture. You need to get an appropriate amount of restful sleep. Healthy sleep involves cycles that must be completed to be restorative. And practicing good sleep hygiene is the key to getting enough restful sleep.

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

As the National Sleep Foundation says, lack of energy and sleepiness during the day is one of the most telling signs of poor sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to practices that promote enough restful sleep to have plenty of energy upon waking. Good sleep hygiene helps you fall asleep promptly and stay asleep through the night. “Good” sleep hygiene differs from person to person in some respects, as different people respond differently to particular stimuli, relaxation techniques, and other factors that can affect sleep. Still, there are a number of generalizations that help people get enough restful sleep to start the next day with a high level of energy.

Here are some reliable ways to accomplish this:

Sleep on a schedule to promote energizing sleep. Your body falls asleep and wakes best when it’s trained via repetition to do so at specific times. But don’t lie in bed if you’re not tired. Although maintaining a sleep schedule is important, trying to force yourself to sleep if you’re not ready interferes with getting enough rest. Similarly, if you’re more tired than usual a little before your normal bedtime, turn in a little early. Exercise daily before 2:00 pm. Physical activity helps you become tired and to sleep soundly. However, exercise is initially invigorating, so it will keep you up if you work out too close to bedtime. Skip the naps during the day. Although a quick catnap can help you recharge, it decreases your “sleep debt,” which in turn makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Expose yourself to natural light during the day and make the bedroom dark at bedtime. You sleep best when your environment aligns with your circadian rhythm (your body’s natural sense of when it should sleep and wake). Skip caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants after early afternoon, as they make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. While everyone responds differently, caffeine’s effects typically last for at least several hours. Don’t drink alcohol in the 4 to 6 hours before bed, even if you think it helps you get to sleep. It may make you drowsy, but it prevents you from sleeping continuously. Don’t drink much in the few hours before bedtime, because waking up having to pee interferes with your restful sleep cycle. Don’t eat much, either, in those last hours. If you’re hungry, eat a light, healthy snack, so your hunger doesn’t keep you up. But actively digesting food at bedtime interferes with sleep; fatty, acidic, greasy, heavy, and spicy foods can cause gastrointestinal discomfort that inhibits restful sleep, too. Sleep in a comfortable bed. Good sleep hygiene includes having a comfy mattress, pillow, and blanket that help lull you to sleep and keep you asleep. And limit use of the bed to sleep and sex. If you read, watch TV, work, play online, or do other activities in bed, your body ceases to associate it with sleep. Sleep in a comfortable environment, too. Set the temperature where you like it, use a fan if it soothes you, keep the room quiet, and otherwise see to it that your environment is calming and cozy. Face the clock away from you. Staring at it, watching your time for sleep slip away, causes anxiety that doesn’t do you or your sleep any favors. Use soothing sounds if they help you fall asleep, as the one exception to keeping the room quiet. Low and mellow music, water or other nature sounds, and white noise machines are popular ways to pleasantly induce sleep. Do a calming activity shortly before bed. For many people, a warm bath, deep breathing exercises, or meditation work well. Make this part of your bedtime routine so your body associates it with sleep. And avoid stimulating activities in the few hours before bed. Don’t get yourself wound up. Also, avoid TV, computers, mobile devices, and other electronic equipment during these last hours, too. Article Resources: sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-hygiene www.sleepassociation.org/patients-general-public/insomnia/sleep-hygiene-tips/ www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/Info-sleep%20hygiene.pdf www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Sleep_hygiene?open

Become the Energized Morning Person You Always Wished You Could Be

There are two types of people in the world: morning people and not morning people. If you’re not a morning person, you’ve undoubtedly marveled at the others, jumping out of bed at an unholy hour with a smile, eager to start the day and get things done, on the go from the minute their feet hit the floor. And if you’ve ever lived with one, you’ve probably resented them a little, too. If you’re not a morning person, getting out of bed can be a real challenge. Wake-up time comes after repeatedly hitting the snooze button, pulling the blanket back up over your head, and a good deal of rolling around while moaning and muttering. The morning comes with dread, lethargy, and stumbling around like a zombie. And often the secret wish that you could be a morning person. Well, you can. Maybe you’ll never achieve quite the same gung-ho super-cheerful attitude of a natural-born morning person, but you can certainly boost your early-a.m. energy and mood. By following the tips below, you’ll improve your mornings greatly, and over time, train your body and mind to increasingly act like those belonging to a morning person.

Promote More Restful Sleep

One of the biggest issues for non-morning people is simply that they didn’t get enough restful sleep to wake refreshed. Help yourself get more better-quality sleep. Start by sticking to a sleep schedule and skip the daytime naps. Don’t watch TV, use electronic devices, eat, or drink for at least an hour before bed; stay away from caffeine for the second half of the day. Make sure your bed and bedroom are comfortable. Keep the room dark and quiet and the temperature where you like it. The only exception might be a white noise machine if it helps you sleep.

Find a Reason to Wake Up Excited

It’s a lot easier to enthusiastically leap out of bed if you have a compelling reason to do so. People who love their jobs get out of bed better. But short of quitting yours to pursue your lifelong love of abstract painting tomorrow, find smaller reasons to look forward to the coming day. Pick something to be excited about and think about it as you go to sleep, rather than lying there filled with dread about having to get up or the things you don’t want to do the next day. You’re bound to wake up with more of a go-getter attitude this way.

Get Right Up

Whacking the snooze button over and over again just delays the inevitable, and it also saps you of energy and encourages you to wallow in fatigue and denial. Relocate your alarm clock somewhere out of reach so you have to get out of bed when it goes off (just make sure it’s close enough or set loud enough to wake you up). When you wake up a bit before the alarm’s set to go off, don’t try to milk a few more minutes in bed; just get up and turn the alarm off. You’ve probably just come out of a light stage of sleep and are at a good point to rouse yourself. Furthermore, you’ve built your snooze time into your morning routine. Those fragments of disrupted sleep don’t do you any favors, and can leave you more tired. You’re much better off skipping the snooze entirely and extending your uninterrupted, restful sleep by the 20 or 30 minutes you give yourself to keep hitting the snooze button.

Exercise in the Morning

When you get out of bed, go straight to the sink and splash some cool water on your face, but skip the shower as the first major part of your morning routine. Instead, get some exercise first, working up a sweat before the shower. It will be hard in the beginning, but as these workouts become the norm, you’ll gradually start waking up energized to get right to them. Plus, the exercise is energizing for the coming hours. It may be helpful to build up your activity as your body adjusts; start with something short and not too strenuous, like maybe some jumping jacks, and work your way up to the long jogs.

Add Energizing Components to Your Morning Routine

Drink a glass of water first thing after getting up. It’s not uncommon to be slightly dehydrated after drinking nothing for 8 or more hours, and that saps your energy. Have your coffee after that—the caffeine is a proven pick-me-up. If you’re not a coffee drinker, consider other sources of caffeine, like tea, guarana, yerba mate, or kola nut. Other stimulants can help, too, like Asian ginseng (which also improves concentration, another useful characteristic early in the morning) or capsaicin. A healthy, balanced breakfast with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals also boosts energy. If you’re not in the habit of eating much breakfast, or even any at all, force yourself to eat it; soon, your body will become accustomed to it, and a healthy hunger will help you energetically bound out of bed.

Article Resources:
www.cnn.com/2014/09/30/health/become-morning-person/ www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/sleep/become-a-morning-person/ www.entrepreneur.com/article/238219 www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/energy-boosters-can-supplements-and-vitamins-help?page=2

How To Feel More Energized Without Grabbing Another Coffee

Some would say caffeine is the nectar of the Gods. After all, it helps millions of people get their day rocking and rolling. However, the tasty black gold follows many of us well past the morning. We all experience that midday slump, and what’s the first thing we grab for? You guessed it. From what research shows us, coffee is relatively healthy. One study published earlier this year found that drinking three to five cups per day was associated with a reduced risk of CAC or coronary artery calcium, while another study found coffee consumption to decrease the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. These studies sound great, but they’re only one side of the story. Coffee is also known to cause insomnia, anxiety, increased heart rate, and make you more agitated. This can all lead to more stress, something we don’t need any more of. The next time you feel like you need yet another cup of coffee, try these tips instead:

Go For A Walk

Exercise has a tremendous impact on our energy levels. A 2008 study published by the New York Times found that even low-intensity exercise helped to reduce fatigue. From Dr. Tim Puetz: “Too often we believe that a quick workout will leave us worn out — especially when we are already feeling fatigued. However, we have shown that regular exercise can actually go a long way in increasing feelings of energy — particularly in sedentary individuals.” While a walk out in nature is preferable, if you’re stuck behind a desk, simply walking around the office will help get your blood pumping. Many workplaces have their own gym, and in that case, walk on over to the treadmill.

Talk To A Friend Or Loved One

You ever chat with a close friend or loved one, and feel a boost of energy? Well, there’s actually some evidence to help back it up. In 2013, doctors Jack Groppel and Janet Nikolovski published a study titled “The Power of an Energy Microburst”. In it, they talk about “microbursts” or small activities that help increase energy. Similar to the study published by the New York Times, they also found physical activity to help. However, simply talking to a loved one was more beneficial than drinking a cup of coffee. From Fast Company: “Interacting with people is also energizing, though it has to be the right people. “Talking to a coworker wasn’t nearly as energizing as talking to a loved one,” Nikolovski says. They plotted various energy boosters on a 1-10 point scale and compared these to the default energy booster: coffee. “When you go to reach for energy, you reach for caffeine,” Nikolovski says. People who’d had a coffee in the 30 minutes before reporting their energy levels scored a 6.8. People who’d talked to a loved one? They scored around 7 on the 1-10 point scale.”

Get More Sleep

Sleep is one of the more underrated ways to boost your energy. Sadly, many of us don’t get enough of it and if we do, it’s not always quality sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for people ages 18 to 64, and seven to eight hours for those over 65. Fitness bands like the Jawbone UP or Fitbit track your sleeping patterns, and will help you determine if you’re actually getting quality sleep.

Take A Power Nap

Since we’re on the topic of sleep, there’s few better ways to beat that midday slump than a nice power nap. Many Fortune 500 companies and startups have adopted the idea as it not only helps boost energy, but makes for more productive employees. Generally, 10 to 30 minutes is recommended, and naps that go any longer than that can actually cause you to feel as tired, if not more so than when you laid down. Obviously, a power nap isn’t possible for everyone, but if you can swing it, it’ll do your body good.

Grab A Healthy Snack

While getting enough sleep and exercise is up there in terms of having a good amount of energy, if you’re not putting the right food into your body, it can completely derail everything else. Foods rich in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates are an important part of every diet, and you should stay away from sugary snacks as much as possible. Similar to drinking a cup of coffee, you’ll eventually come down from a high, in this case sugar, and crash. Instead, focus on healthy energy-boosting snacks when that grogginess kicks in. Here are just a few:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Almonds

Also, if you’re not drinking enough water, that can affect your energy levels as well. The most common sign of dehydration is fatigue, and unfortunately kicking back one soda after another isn’t a good way to keep yourself hydrated.

Article Resources:
heart.bmj.com/content/early/2015/02/06/heartjnl-2014-306663 www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/GetDigitalAsset/11535 well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/the-cure-for-exhaustion-more-exercise/?_r=0 www.wellnessandpreventioninc.com/sites/default/files/publication/Microburst_FINAL_PDF_09.13.13.pdf www.fastcompany.com/3018642/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/need-more-energy-skip-the-coffee-and-call-your-mom-instead www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218(15)00015-7/fulltext www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/07/24/why-you-should-take-a-10-minute-nap-every-day/  

Mythbuster: Exercise Actually Improves Energy – 8 Workouts That Prove Why

Who said working out is tiring? We’re here to bring you 8 workouts that will prove exercise is well capable of improving your body’s energy levels! That’s right; any myths you’ve heard about exercise being an energy drainer are all about to be busted! The following are zero-equipment, absolutely sneaker-free exercises, all of which are guaranteed to provide you a boost in energy along with tone that you have likely craved for what seems to be an eternity. In these workouts, you’ll simply be targeting the major muscle groups of your body, from each plane of motion, all the while scorching away some much needed calories during the process. So let’s get straight to these super-moves!

1. Pick Up Sticks

Areas Targeted: Abs, butt, hips, and quads All you need is a mat to get this one done. Stand with your feet hip width apart along with your arms by sides. Go forth by lunging with your right leg, and bend your right knee about 90 degrees. Your left leg should extend behind you, with your right hand reaching to the ground beside your right foot. Once you get this done, return to the starting position and switch sides. Doing so will complete 1 rep. You’re supposed to do 10 reps, i.e. half a rep per leg.

2. Air Guitar

Areas Targeted: Butt, inner and outer thighs For this one, you also need to stand in a similar position as the one above, except that your feet should be wider than shoulder width apart. What you’re supposed to do here is shift your weight all onto your right leg, bending the right knee to an angle of about 90 degrees. Due to this, you will lower into a deep lunge with your left leg completely straight. Now you’re supposed to bend right elbow back with your left elbow bending forward. Try it!

3. Charlie’s Angel

Areas Targeted: Butt and outer thighs The stance for this requires you having elbows bent so that your hands remain in front of your chest, with both palms being pressed together as if you’re praying. You are supposed to be standing with your feet hip width apart. Now, making sure your shoulders stay square, you should lunge forward diagonally with your right leg, which is supposed to form a cross with the outside of your left leg. Both knees are supposed to bend at an angle of 90 degrees.

4. Tuck and Extend

Areas Targeted: Abs, lower back, butt, and hamstrings Stand with your feet being hip width apart, along with your elbows bending by sides. Your hands are supposed to be in front of your chest, and your palms should face each other. Now, bring your left knee up to your hip height, while making sure it’s bent. Your foot should be flexed and bending forward at the waist so that it gets into a tucking position.

5. Tadpole to Frog

Areas Targeted: Shoulders, triceps, abs, butt, quads, and calves Start with a full push up position and balance yourself on hands and toes. Keep your arms extended, with your body forming a straight line. Now keep your arms tucked close by your sides, bend your elbows directly behind so that your chest is lowered to the ground.

6. Thread the Needle

Areas Targeted: Shoulders, abs, obliques, lower back, and butt This one also starts from a full push up position such as the one above, but in here, you’re supposed to lift right hand off the ground and reach your arm under the torso as far to your left as possible. You’re also supposed to turn your head to look at your fingertips.

7. Rock the Boat

Areas Targeted: Abs Sit on the mat with your knees bent, arms by your sides, and feet flat. Lean your torso behind by 45 degrees, raise your arms overhead, and lift your feet off the mat to extend your legs together at an angle of 45 degree. This will be your boat pose.

8. Cross the River

Areas Targeted: Abs, obliques, butt, and hips Stand with your feet hip width apart in this one, and keep your elbows bent by your sides with the hands in front of your chest. You’re supposed to leap over to the left, pump arms (left elbow going back, right elbow going forward, and land on the left leg with your knees bent slightly. The right leg should be bent while slightly crossing to the left one behind you. This will look like a skater’s pose. So there you have it! Make sure you give all of these a try; we are completely certain you will be surprised to see how energized these exercises leave your body!

The Secret to Never Feeling Tired Again

Think about how many times you hear yourself or your friends and family complaining that you’re tired. Most people chalk it up to stress, not having enough hours in the day to do everything, and the general everyday stressors of life. While these are contributing factors to our tiredness and lethargy, they aren’t really the cause of constant fatigue and energy. Often the true things to blame lie in our everyday habits and the way we live. A lack of energy and that constant nagging tiredness is usually related to something we can control: the food we choose to consume, our sleep patterns, and how we cope emotionally with things. Imagine never feeling lethargic and fatigued again. It seems like a dream, but it’s completely possible by tweaking your lifestyle a little.

Energize yourself by eating properly.

Have you ever noticed that when you eat your favorite bowl of pasta or munch on a delicious, supposedly healthy sandwich, you begin to feel sleepy, foggy, and even forgetful? Your nutrition and general diet play a huge part in the way you function and your everyday energy levels (JET, 1996:15) You’ve heard it a million times before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true. Even if you don’t feel hungry at the time, it’s essential to eat something in the morning. Breakfast preps you for the rest of the day and as a result you’ll feel both mentally and physically better. According to researchers, just one spoonful of cereal in the morning will reduce the body’s stress-related hormone, cortisol. Eating breakfast religiously will help your body replenish its blood glucose levels, which is the brain’s main energy source. Not only will your energy levels benefit from tucking into a delicious morning meal, studies show it also boosts endurance, strength, mood, and a person’s general attitude (JET, 1996:16). Eating regularly – For example every three to four hours, throughout the day will also give you more energy. Smaller meals and snacks scattered throughout the day will help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. However, these snacks and meals aren’t just any old snack and you need proportionate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats to help boost and sustain your energy levels (Perlmutter, D. 2014:12). Fueling your body on fiber – will also give you a noticeable amount of energy. Carbs from fiber-packed food are released at a slower rate into the bloodstream, which in turn will give you more energy and that much needed staying power.  Delicious fiber-filled options include a small portion of raisin bran, apples, and whole-wheat spaghetti (Perlmutter, D. 2014:14). Not only do you need physical power throughout the day, you also need brain power, which is why it’s essential to feed your brain with omega-3s which can be found in fatty fish, walnuts, eggs, and canola oil.

It’s not all about your diet and food intake.

Staying hydrated throughout the day is also imperative. The mildest form of dehydration causes a person’s blood to thicken, which in turn forces the heart to work harder to pump blood, resulting in unnecessary fatigue. Unfortunately for coffee lovers, it’s essential to curb your caffeine intake, especially after midday. One or two cups of your favorite coffee a day is harmless and can actually give you a kick when it comes to short-term energy, but excessive amounts affects sleep quality, resulting in fogginess and heavy puffy eyelids the following day. Caffeine is a stimulant and although your body might tell you it’s time for bed, your brain will be active. Too much caffeine leads to chronic sleep deprivation, so swap your café latte for an herbal caffeine-free tea instead (Nehlig, A. 2005:14). Mental exhaustion can also play havoc on your energy levels and the common feelings that people regularly feel such as boredom, sadness, anger, angst, and stress will wear you out. Depending on how you react will depend on how your body’s affected. One of the best ways to de-stress is to vent your feelings. When you keep strong feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear pent up, it will result in restless nights, which of course leads to tiredness. Work on discussing. Air any negative feelings through discussion to ease negativity and the negative repercussions of no sleep. The same goes for letting go of grudges. When you nurse a grudge, without even realizing it both your mind and body automatically react. Such stress leads to an increased and irregular heart rate and high blood pressure, both of which can lead to a compromised immune system and chronic exhaustion. Even if you believe you’re still in the right, a simple act of forgiveness can help you regain control over your emotions, which results in lower stress levels and more energy. If you find that you’re suffering from constant fatigue, listen to some music. Researchers have found that one of the most effective ways to reverse a bad mood, decrease stress, and increase your energy levels is to listen to music just like a jogger or a person working out might do while running on the treadmill. Studies have proved that those people who listen to music while doing sport work harder, run faster, and generally push themselves more. Music is a great distracter, and if this is not a good reason to stick your earphones in and listen to your favorite tunes, what is? (Nalapat, S. 2008:18). Deep breathing exercises otherwise known as belly breaths will give you more energy throughout the day. Typically, people take what’s referred to as chest breaths, which are short and shallow and result in less air being transferred to the lungs, which in turn reduces the body’s much needed supply of energizing oxygen. When you don’t receive the necessary energizing oxygen, your body and brain will be drained. Concentrate on deep breathing from the diaphragm every day and you’ll notice your energy levels soar with very little effort (Zi, N. 2000:18). While breathing exercises may be one of the more traditional methods to reenergize and revitalize yourself, there are also other more unlikely ways to boost your energy. Can you honestly look around your home and say there’s no clutter or mess? Clutter and mess is easy to make and even the tidiest of people are guilty of it. However, clutter in the home or office has a way of making you feel overwhelmed and out of control. De-cluttering your life will energize you and you’ll also get the extra added positive feeling having accomplished a goal. Once you’ve decluttered your physical space, you can then work on decluttering your life (Austin, D. 2011:35). A person’s energy levels can be compared to that of a rollercoaster – they go up and down all the time, sometimes with a massive drop. The secret to boosting your energy and never being tired again is your lifestyle. It’s related to the food you consume, what you do, and how you think and live, so give yourself a gift of boundless energy through a positive and healthy lifestyle.

Article Resources:
www.webmd.com/balance/features/your-guide-to-never-feeling-tired-again
www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/10344206/How-to-stop-feeling-tired-and-maintain-your-energy-levels.html 

Five Caffeine Free Ways to Boost Energy Immediately

It’s two o’clock and you are starting to feel the usual energy fade. You decide it is time for the pleasant jolt that only a strong cup of mocha java will provide. But is it really that wise to rely on coffee to give us an instant boost of energy every day? We know that caffeine is not always that great for us, and we also know that a cup of coffee at two or three o’clock might get us through the workday but may fail us as the evening hours arrive. You may lose steam even as you make your way to the parking lot or drive home.

Even worse, that cup of coffee may even cause us to experience a disruption in sleep that makes the next day even more “coffee reliant”. Though experts do tell us that coffee does have many antioxidants, there have to be less stimulating ways to enjoy good health as well as good energy.

So, what are some good and effective ways to regain your zing without a trip to the coffee pot? The following five techniques may surprise you, but they are also proven to energize.

  1. Engage the brain – We have all been told that “switching gears” can help to clear the mind. This is why we might switch to a different task when we feel our attention slipping or we start to lose focus. However, a former NASA researcher discovered that the more activity you use, the more alertness results. (Prevention.com) This is why he suggested that people experiencing fatigue keep learning materials on hand. For instance, if you find that your 3pm burst of fatigue is getting harder to overcome – simply keep a language learning tape, a text book, or some other learning material nearby. When you feel tired, switch gears and give your brain a virtual slap that brings it back to awareness.
  2. Try ear massage – Yes, you did read that correctly. Simply applying pressure along the outermost edge of the ear actually stimulates the body. This is related directly to acupressure and uses what are commonly called meridian points or pathways for the body’s energy. Whether you believe in alternative medicine or not, this is one technique that has a proven track record for success. To do it effectively you must use your thumb and index fingertips to pinch the rim of the ear and then rub them in an up and down movement for 30 seconds each. If you are doing it right now, be prepared to feel very alert in the next few minutes!
  3. Use blue light bulbs – As odd as this sounds, a study done by the Lighting Research Center in New York revealed that red and blue light stimulate the brain and can really issue an afternoon wakeup call to anyone feeling drowsy or fatigued. The problem with red light, though, is that it seemed to cause irritability and edginess in most test subjects while the blue lights created alertness accompanied by a sense of calm. You can find such light bulbs in almost any home improvement store.
  4. Pack whole grains at breakfast – Nutritional experts all agree that whole grains deliver a nice, slow burn of consistent energy to the body in a way that processed grains (like white flour) cannot. However, too many of them actually make the body sluggish. So, if you want to give yourself a good boost of energy that lasts through many hours of the day, try “front loading” your food intake with whole grains at breakfast. An ideal example would be a piece of whole grain toast, a serving of a whole grain cereal and a good serving of protein. You will feel totally energized and not the least bit hungry for hours afterward.
  5. Chewing gum – Studies have proven that people who chew gum for at least 15 minutes experience measurably higher alertness than those who have not chewed gum. Why does it work? Essentially, it increases the flow of blood to the brain by boosting the heart rate a bit. This little caffeine free trick works especially well when you choose a minty flavor too as mint of any kind stimulates the nervous system and boosts your alertness.

Clearly, there are other more obvious ways to get yourself a bit more alert: splashing water on your face and wrists, running up and down some stairs, singing loudly for a few minutes, and doing some mindful breathing. However, these tend to deliver instant results that fade almost as fast as they started. The five methods we have outlined above give you a much longer period of wakefulness that will help you finish the work day, complete the drive home, and even make and clean up dinner without lagging in energy at all.

Article Resources:
www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/7-caffeine-free-ways-boost-your-energy/massage-your-ears

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