“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.”
~ Maurice Chevalier
You’re at your desk. It’s 3pm, you are having trouble keeping your eyes open, and you still have 2 hours until quitting time. “I’m not going to make it.” What will you do to boost your energy? If you’re like most people you chug-a-lug another coffee or six, stuff down some sort of sugary treat and hope for the best. I call this the “white-knuckle” approach to energy management and sooner or later it will blow up in your face.
In the “body rocks” camp there are those who understand that energy improves through physical health: exercise, healthy eating, hydration, and rest. If you spend even a little bit more time on these four areas every day, before long you’ll have so much energy you’ll be able to sell the extra back to the grid. This is my starting wish for every energy-sapped individual out there. But there’s more!
If you want to really harness the power of personal energy management you’ll also need to connect with head and heart health – and I’m not talking about your physical brain and ticker, I’m talking about the feelings, thoughts, and emotions jumping back and forth between them. “OH NOOOOOO that touchy feely stuff.” Don’t worry you’ll be able to handle this.
Energy is also about fun and frivolity and I share ways to recharge there as well.
Small steps to great gains, in key areas of your life every day. That’s your goal. Below is a summary of ten key sources where you can get ENERGY NOW – The 10 Energy Commandments if you will. Well… you’ll get 5 today and 5 next week but that way you can really integrate them.
If you follow my 10 Energy Commandments and put yourself back on your own self-care priority list you may well achieve boundless energy, unlimited success and endless riches the likes of which you’ve never seen!
The 10 Energy Commandments represent vital body, mind and spirit activities that will help you get ENERGY NOW. Read each commandment, make the effort to imprint the ideas as they apply to you… and take a step. Thou shall not let yourself down!
1) Thou shall move your body every day
Since you know that physical activity is so important for health, energy, weight management, and longevity, today find a way to get to it, even if you lack desire or don’t believe you have the time. Exercise energizes, and I guarantee that once you make it a regular part of your day, even in small increments, excuses like lack of time, energy, or motivation, will no longer be an issue.
If your busy schedule restricts you to less exercise than you’re used to, don’t wait for more time, start with less. Just get to it. With a ‘start small’ approach you’ll be less overwhelmed by the changes, and as the exercise habit solidifies you will find more time, energy, and motivation for the next level. For this reason, I want you to think about incorporating at least 15 minutes of purposeful physical activity into every day. On some days I’d like you to do more, but I still want you to get to it every day so it has a chance of becoming a preferred habit.
Here are some ideas:
- Walk 15 minutes to a meeting instead of driving
- Take the stairs all day instead of the elevator
- Get off transit a few stops earlier and walk
- Park your car a good distance from your office
- Drive part way to work, cycle the rest of the way
- Do crunches on all the commercial breaks while you watch your favorite show
- Go for a walk after dinner
- If you already walk your dog, add hills
2) Thou shall make healthy food choices most of the time
If you want better energy, choose to make a few smart changes with your eating habits every day. I’m not suggesting a total elimination of anything sweet, fattening, or carb loaded. Not me! Food is life, and a big part of life is enjoyable eating. That being said, most of us could improve eating habits in small ways every day. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
If eating out is hard to avoid, pack healthy snacks for between meals. Instead of a full-whip super large mocha, choose a tall non-fat latte with chocolate sprinkles. Cut your portion sizes just a bit. Eat breakfast. Choose healthy late night snacks. Skip the vending machine. Add in fruits and veggies. Trim the fat.
Food is fuel for functionality. Regular, healthful eating helps you think clearly through the day, keeps energy levels up, and even assists with weight management and health issues.
When you eat your meals, do so consciously. Slow down. Savour each bite and remember to chew. Eat your meals away from the desk at work, or television at home, and use that time to connect with co-workers or family members. Above all, enjoy your food, and know that healthful eating can still be delicious and satisfying.
3) Thou shall drink more water …SERIOUSLY!
Why is water so darn important? Did you know your body is made up of approximately 50 per cent of the stuff? Your body needs fluids to help with the digestion, absorption and transport of nutrients as well as elimination of waste products. Fluids also act as a coolant for maintaining body temperature and lubricating joints, eyes and air passages.
Drink water regularly to satisfy your thirst. Be sure to drink more water in hot weather or when you are very active.
Besides water, you can count other fluids such as juice, milk, tea and soup toward your daily fluid intake. Drink up!
Aim for eight cups (two litres) of fluid per day for starters and read my blogs on HYDRATION to get the full story.
4) Thou shall get enough sleep and relaxation!
Since when did sleep become a luxury? While you sleep, your body restores itself and repairs from the stress of the day. Inadequate rest impairs your ability to think, to handle stress, to maintain a healthy immune system and to moderate your emotions. Most of us aren’t getting enough of it and we’ve become a nation of ‘working tired’ holding on for dear life, hoping to make it to the weekend. Why not make your rest a priority for a few weeks and see how you feel?
- Try getting to bed 30 minutes earlier, at least three times a week.
- Wind down your busy work at least 2 hours before bed.
- Avoid computer, television, video games, and work related phone calls that stimulate the mind and make it difficult to relax.
- Do your best to stick to the same sleep schedule.
- If you have trouble getting to sleep, try slow, deep breathing or relaxation techniques like stretching or meditation to calm your mind.
Once you begin to prioritize restorative rest you will notice a positive shift in mood and energy. Start tonight!
5) Thou shall seek happiness
Happiness has a direct link to a rich source of energy that no amount of exercise or healthy eating can match. It’s true! Happiness is a big part of staying energized. All you have to do is think about the last time you were sad, depressed, or lonely. You probably didn’t feel like doing much did you? For that reason it’s important to nurture your happiness every day.
It seems like such a simple thing, but when life gets busy we sometimes just cruise along and accept what is handed us and then one day we wake up and think “This is NOT what I signed on for.”
Do you like your work? Do you love the people you spend time with? Do you wake up and look forward to launching in to the day? If any part of your like makes you unhappy you’ll expend unnecessary energy dealing with that pain – energy that could be used to advance your health, career and overall satisfaction.
Face up to things in your life that make you unhappy. It’s not always easy and the fix may not be quick, but the results will be very worthwhile.
Next week I’ll share 5 more Energy Commandments that are sure to add a skip to your step and enthusiasm to your day.
Until then, take small steps to ENERGY NOW and visit Energy TV for great video tips. What are you waiting for?
Michelle Cederberg, CSP (Canada’s Newest Certified Speaking Professional) MKin, BA Psyc, CEP
Helping people with full schedules and a long list of responsibilities maximize their personal energy.