Energize Every Effort
There was a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry’s dad was working at a job Jerry opposed. To get him fired, the plan was to schedule lots of late afternoon meetings, because the old man would naturally be tired by that time of day and look bad in front of the boss.
It was funny, but also true. What’s more, you don’t have to be “old” to find your energy lagging at certain times of the day.
Fortunately, there are some techniques that allow you to avoid mid-day tiredness, and even to find extra energy for the activities you’d like to pursue in your work and your life.
Here are some of the good ones:
Recognize the Problem
As with most issues, the first step in finding a remedy is to recognize the problem. In this case, you want to become aware of times when:
- Your attention is wandering.
- You are thinking about the pleasures of a nap.
- Your mind does not feel as sharp as it usually does.
- You’ve lost your grasp of relevant facts and figures.
- You are trying to stifle a yawn.
There are many possible reasons for experiencing bouts of low energy, and – long term – you’ll do well to identify and remedy the ones that are relevant for you.
But in the moment, the best course of action is to quickly pump up your energy level, even if the increase won’t last.
As soon as you recognize your energy waning, you can seek out a remedy to kick it back up again. Convenient, short-term energy boosters can include:
A glass of water can revitalize your body when you’re feeling sluggish. Water is so important, in fact, that it makes sense to drink some frequently throughout the day, to keep yourself fully hydrated and alert.
There’s a reason we darken a room when we want to fall asleep. It’s the same reason that brightening a room will add to your level of alertness.
Indoors, you can fight your low energy feeling by getting closer to an outside window, fully opening any window blinds, or turning on more room lights. Outdoors, you can try removing your sunglasses, taking off your brimmed hat, moving into full sunlight, and/or turning your face more directly toward the sun.
Physical activity is a good way to brush away any cobwebs clouding your brain. For example, you can stand up and move around the room, take a short walk, move your arms and stretch, or rearrange some items in your office or home. Even small, simple actions will tend to better oxygenate your blood.
What’s more, any change in your environment – as when you take a walk or move around indoors – will stimulate you mentally and help to raise your energy level.
Listening to music can easily change your energy level. An upbeat song, for example, will obviously tend to get your feet tapping and kick your brain into a higher gear.
But any effort at active listening will have a positive impact on your energy level.
If you’re in a group and can’t listen to music, you can try listening more closely to what others are saying. Putting more brain-power toward their ideas, their choice of words, and your own thoughts in response to what they are saying will demand more of your brain and therefore spin it up to a higher level of energy.
While it’s helpful to listen to what others in the group are saying, it can be even more helpful to respond. This is because talking turns on important parts of your brain, particularly if you’re thinking on your feet and trying to come up with something smart or creative to say.
A few well-thought-out responses will jump-start your thought processes and get you moving out of the energy doldrums.
Our olfactory sense is an important source of stimulation. Favorite smells can easily quicken your pulse and increase your readiness for action.
When you’re feeling your energy flag, therefore, you can purposely sniff something that will get you rolling again. For example, lemon or lime tends to stimulate the autonomic nervous system and arouse you to a higher level of energy. Peppermint can also have a salutary effect.
It’s easy to carry gum, mints, or other scented items so they’re readily available next time your energy dips.
Long-Term Energy-Maintenance Strategies
Once you recognize you have a recurring low-energy issue, you can apply some longer-term solutions to mitigate it. These can include seeking medical help, just in case your energy problem results from an illness (like mono-nucleosis or chronic fatigue syndrome) or an emerging medical condition.
You can also change your diet to include more nutritious foods, including fiber and vegetables, and fewer unhealthy items, including those that contain too much fat, sugar, salt, or artificial ingredients.
Including some regular exercise in your weekly routine is another way to increase your overall energy level and reduce those temporary dips that interfere with your productivity.
Finally, you can reshuffle your schedule to place your most important activities into those times of day and days of the week when your energy is highest. This way, any remaining periods of lagging energy will have far less impact on your overall level of productivity and success.
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