I have a deep empathy, especially at the moment, for anyone struggling to keep energy steady throughout the day. Being in the depths of the third trimester makes a midday nap and a 7pm bedtime feel so necessary. While I feel no shame in resting as needed and certainly recommend that you honor your body’s needs as well, there are simple strategies that help prevent afternoon burnout.
This may seem overtly obvious, but the integrity of our energy truly begins the night before. I recently talked about the 3 bedtime practices that have been helping me get better sleep. You can read the full post here. Aim for 7 hours nightly by finishing your last meal 2 hours before bed, sipping magnesium and leaving your devices outside the bedroom.
I’m not shy about admitting that water is a daily challenge for me. I found it much easier to drink adequately when we lived in warm, sunny Florida. Here in Chicago, especially through the winter months, I have to be very intentional about meeting my daily needs. Using hydration packets like LMNT Elemental Labs helps me hit my daily water intake goal and provides extra hydration simultaneously. I love this brand because they provide a great tasting, low carbohydrate option that won’t mess with your blood sugar.
3. ENERGIZE WITH PROTEIN & FAT
Gone are the days of relying on small carbohydrate-rich meals for all day energy. I know, I know. Welcome to the ever-evolving world of nutrition. You just have to ride the wave as new studies emerge each year. What we know now is that protein and healthy fats provide the long-lasting energy needed to support a day’s worth of energy and that quality, fiber-rich carbohydrates serve a purpose, but are needed in much lesser volume. Instead of turning to sugary breakfast options, choose something that will set the stage for a day of steady energy. A favorite of mine is breakfast tacos with avocado on grain-free tortillas.
Being sedentary is a death sentence for your energy. When I worked in corporate wellness, I often provided metabolic testing services to help my clients understand their individual daily "burn." Many were surprised to learn that while an active workout provides some, their simple daily movement comprised the majority of their energy output. In other words, get your steps in! Use a standing desk, stretch, walk to lunch or coffee, park further away, take the stairs... Your basic activities really do account for the majority of your energy expenditure. If you have it in you to rally and workout during an afternoon low, go for it, but any movement no matter the intensity or time of day will help.
5. GET OUTSIDE
I know it's January, but try to get some fresh air. We've all been told how artificial indoor light and blue light screens drain us. The reason is that your eyes are quite literally exposed brain tissue. You can increase energy and help your brain to function optimally simply by subjecting your eyes to natural light. For a really interesting listen on how nature impacts our neuroplasticity, focus and circadian rhythm, head to the Broken Brain podcast episode #134.
I hope these tips help you cruise right through the afternoon without a crash. Wishing you an energetic Monday and productive week ahead.