Often find yourself dozing off during your daily commute? I know I do. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a state of perpetual tiredness. All bed head and bleary-eyes, I drag myself out of a glorious slumber and onto the train, dreaming of coffee and my dear, dear friend the snooze button. On a good day, I might read a book or muster thoughts of pseudo-productivity as I ponder potential evening plans; on a bad day, I feel like I’ve been drugged. Recently, I decided it’s time for a change. I don’t want to subsist on the promise of the weekend, I want to actually live my life. And I can’t do that if I’m half asleep.
Trawling my way through magazine articles and health blogs, I came across list after list of ‘top energy boosting tips’, but none of them really seemed to fit the bill. Apart from the obvious – ‘get enough sleep,’ ‘don’t eat crap’, ‘exercise once in a while’ – most of the suggestions involved spending a small fortune. Whether it was signing up for a course of Bikram Yoga at the local health club, eating your body weight in bluberries and kale, or stocking up on the latest vitamins, minerals and natural beauty treatments imported all the way from Sweden, almost everything seemed to be over my budget. No more than 6 months ago, I was an impoverished student living a Fagin-like existence and eating anything I could lay my hands on, and now I’m an Intern, so things aren’t much better. But as far as I’m concerned, money doesn’t make a difference. You don’t need to spend a fortune to improve your quality of life.
Take Time To Reassess
If you’re living out your days like an extra from The Walking Dead, chances are there’s a good reason for it.
Take a look at your schedule and pinpoint the things that might be zapping your energy levels. Once you’ve identified some of the culprits, you can start turning things around.
Don’t Sleep Too Much
This might sound a bit counter-intuitive, but in my experience, getting too much sleep can be just as bad as not getting enough. Not only will you spend the day feeling groggy, sluggish and dehydrated, but over time, your body will begin to demand more and more of those precious z’s, whether it needs them or not. Whilst it may be tempting to snooze your way through the weekends, both your body and your social calendar will reap the benefits of a tight sleep schedule.
Break Up to Wake Up
Although the strong, rich aroma of your morning caffeine fix might be the only thing that gets you out of bed at 7am, if you’re feeling particularly drained, it may be an idea to call time-out on your favourite morning stimulant. Swap coffee for herbal tea, or a super-green smoothie and you might find that your caffeine addiction and your zombified state are a thing of the past.
Take time to relax before you finally hit the hay – even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Going straight from stressed to slumbering might seem like a time saver, but in the long run you’ll actually lose out on those precious hours of dreamtime.
Eat Yourself Alert
If you think you’re doing yourself a favour by skipping breakfast, think again. Come mid-morning, the energy you gained from those extra few minutes in bed will have vanished without trace, leaving you worn-out, drained and more importantly, starving! To banish grogginess and avoid that pre-lunchtime lull, start your day with a nutritious breakfast of oats, wholegrains or eggs. If you really have to eat on the move, stock up on things that are quick and easy to prepare at the office – yoghurt, fruit, granola and porridge all require minimal forward planning, so grab a bowl from the break room and tuck in!