1. Get enough sleep
Nothing ruins a day more than a bad night’s sleep, so make sure you’re getting the downtime you need! On average, to function effectively, the average adult needs between seven and eight hours a night. Create a soothing bedtime ritual and make sure your bedroom environment is conducive to great sleep. The temperature should be cool, but not cold. Ban all digital devices from next to your bed – put them on the other side of the room. Invest in decent pillows for the sake of your neck and spine. It’s also important to try to go to sleep at the same time every night.
If you’re one of those people who tosses and turns, worrying about the next day, keep a notebook next to your bed and jot down what’s bothering you for consideration tomorrow. Then let those concerns go. You’ll be far better able to face challenges after a good night’s rest.
2. When you wake up, GET UP
Hitting the snooze button could be the biggest mistake you’ll make all day. You’re sending your body and brain a whole lot of mixed signals that will result in you feeling groggy, grumpy and less than ready to face the day when you finally do get up. Snoozing also cheats you of the valuable time you need to ease gently into your day.
When you go to bed, put your phone or alarm clock on the other side of the room so that you’re forced to get out of bed to turn it off. Get up and stay up!
3. Stay hydrated
Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning, even before you have that hot cup of tea or coffee. Water provides an instant energy boost. Remember that dehydration symptoms can often feel like hunger pangs, so by keeping your body ‘watered’ so to speak, will also help keep your weight under control.
According to the American Heart Foundation, if your body is hydrated properly, the heart is better able to pump blood through the blood vessels to your muscles, which makes them work more effectively. The result – less physical fatigue.
Try to drink water throughout the day. The best way to check if you are dehydrated is to look at your urine. If it’s dark, you’re not drinking enough water. Ideally it should be a very pale yellow. How much you need to drink will vary depending on the climate and your activity levels, but generally 8 glasses a day is recommended.
4. Enjoy breakfast
Get your metabolism going by making sure you eat breakfast every day. You’ll be more alert, be better able to focus and if you eat the right kind of breakfast, it will keep you going for hours.
For staying power, choose refined carbs, lean protein and good fats. Not eating enough protein will leave you feeling tired and drained, so don’t skimp. Good carbs and fats will keep you fuller for longer.
Think along the lines of scrambled eggs on wholewheat toast, oats with nuts and berries, or greek yoghurt with fruit and nuts sprinkled on top.
5. Supplement right
Obviously in an ideal world we’d get all our nutrients from our diet. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced world, many of us eat on the run, grabbing what we can find to keep us going. This leaves the body short of the vitamins and minerals it needs to run at 100%. If you’re feeling tired, burned out and foggy, speak to your pharmacist to find a supplement that’s right for you. Common supplements to fight fatigue include Vitamin B12, Evening Primrose Oil, fish oils and magnesium – alone or in a combination.
6. Stand up, step out
Your desk job can be a health hazard. According to the American Osteopathic Association, a sedentary lifestyle is as bad for your health, if not worse, than smoking. Not only do you run the risk of bowel cancer, diabetes and heart disease by living a sedentary lifestyle, it’s also very bad for your energy levels.
So, to get your blood flowing, and your body working properly implement these small changes. You’ll feel a lot less sleepy during the day as exercise releases endorphins, which will also improve your mood.
- Walk to your colleague’s office instead of sending an email.
- Use a restroom on another floor so that you’re forced to walk up and down the stairs.
- A quick walk around your building every couple of hours will leave you invigorated.
- Park your car far from your office so you have to walk to get there.
- Avoid all lifts and escalators – take the stairs instead.
7. Sit up straight and breathe
Slouching over your computer all day is a recipe for exhaustion. You’re putting a lot of pressure on your spine and neck resulting in muscle fatigue in the neck and shoulders. Also, because you’re hunched over, you’re compressing your diaphragm. The result is shallow breathing that exacerbates stress and fatigue.
So, next time you’re swallowed up by a mid-afternoon fog, try rolling your shoulders back, sit up straight and breathe in and out slowly. You will feel better immediately. Also watch your posture when you walk – imagine you’re balancing a book on your head and walk tall and proud.
8. Snack right
Eat a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to keep your sugar levels on an even keel and your metabolism pumping. Ideal snacks for energy include: fruit, nuts, celery sticks spread with peanut butter, biltong, high-fibre savoury biscuits spread with low fat cottage cheese to name just a few. Remember that protein combined with good carbs and fats will keep you fuller for longer.
Watch your portion size – a snack is not a meal; it’s a little something to keep you going. Have a glass of water before and after your snack.
9. Lunch lightly
There’s nothing like a heavy lunch to make you want to sleep the afternoon away. The old saying: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper is a great way to remember how to eat throughout the day for optimum energy levels. Make sure your lunch is packed with veggies and delicious lean protein.
As the day goes on it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of carbs you eat. A filling light lunch, such as a chicken salad wrap will keep you going all afternoon and won’t leave you struggling to keep your eyes open at your desk. Finish off lunch with fresh fruit for a wonderful Vitamin-C boost.
10. Power down for a good night’s sleep
How you end a day has a powerful effect on how you will begin the next one. A light supper will ensure that you don’t struggle to sleep because your body is battling to digest a stodgy meal. Turn off all digital devices at least one hour before bedtime to let your brain wind down, and switch off from the non-stop chatter of social media. Trying to keep up with everything going on out there is exhausting and unnecessary.
Spend time with your family and friends. Take a walk, read a book (a real book!), enjoy a hot bath – anything that relaxes you. Make powering down an end-of-day priority.