You know what you have to do, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of how to do it. You might even have enough time left in the day to do it, if only you can stay in high gear for the next eight hours. But what happens when the force just isn’t with you? When the energy that inspired you to conquer the world yesterday just isn’t cutting it today? Well, there are a few tricks you can always turn to when you need an extra power source. And if you think you’re too busy to indulge in a few energy-building activities, just imagine all the time you waste when you’re stuck in a lull. All it takes is five minutes; you’ll feel better, work faster and reap rewards that will last all day.
Regular exercise can help you maintain energy throughout the day, but whether or not you have a solid regime in place, there are heart-rate boosters you can give yourself when you’re feeling a little low. The emphasis here is fun, so make your activity enjoyable and approach it with a light-hearted, even childish attitude. Try running up and down stairs a few times (and a little laughter doesn’t hurt either!). Go outside and run around the building or the block once or twice, just for the high. If no one is around, put on some loud music and dance like… well, like there’s no one around. There are lots of other options: jumping jacks, skipping, a little head-banging. There’s a reason children seem to have a never-ending supply of energy. Let your inner child go unchecked for a few minutes and discover the energy that’s just waiting to be let out to play.
When your blood sugar is dropping, reach for a snack rich in complex carbohydrates, like a whole grain bagel or unsweetened granola. Fruit offers quick energy in the form of natural sugars and are filled with energizing vitamins, and a little peanut butter can add protein and staying power to just about any light snack. Avoid processed sugars – even energy bars are bound to be laden with sweeteners that will leave you languid in an hour – and snacks that offer only short term rewards. If your goal is energy, you’ll want to bypass that candy bar and put off a full-on meal. Frequent, healthy snacks of 2-300 calories will keep your insulin steady, your energy up and your mind focused on more important things.
Sex gets us going, even when it’s just in our minds. If you can spare a few minutes to think about someone new, someone famous, or something new with someone who’s already yours, you may find that pleasant increase in your heart rate can be harnessed and used to your advantage. Fantasizing helps us escape our present reality – which may be part of why we’re feeling blocked in the first place – and helps get our creative energy flowing. It doesn’t have to be about sex at all. Create a mental scenario that makes you feel happy, powerful or inspired and let yourself live in it for a few minutes. When you come back to earth, you’ll find yourself in a whole new mindset. Just remember your newfound energy has a purpose. Rather than letting a daydream sap hours from your day, get your mind back to the task at hand. Know that whenever you’re feeling sluggish, a happy thought can give you the jolt you need to get through the day.
This one’s great if you’re stuck indoors or around a lot of other people. A CD or mp3 player and the right music can make all the difference in a dull day. Put in the headphones, crank up the volume, and let the rhythm tell your heart how it’s done. If you’re at home, let your hips into the mix. In the car? Sing along (preferably loudly and off key). Music is a widely available energy source and mood elevator. Use it!
Sometimes that drag that’s in the air…is the air itself. It’s difficult to focus when it’s too hot, too cold or too stuffy. And too often we’ll continue plugging along for hours before even realizing we’re uncomfortable. It could be as easy as opening a window or adjusting a thermostat. If you’re not in a position to change your environment, try changing yourself. Be prepared with layers so you can adapt to temperature differences. A quick cold or hot drink can do wonders to wake you up. The spots just below your ears and on the underside of your wrists are particularly sensitive to temperature changes, making a couple well placed ice cubes a godsend on a hot afternoon. And failing all of that, think about changing your location. Moving to a new desk, a new room or an entirely new environment may give you just the lift you need to keep the world running another day.
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