How to boost your energy levels

Published: 24/08/2020

Research suggests one in three of us suffers from TATT - Tired All The Time - and it’s no surprise really when you consider how busy modern life is, how hard it is juggling work, social, and family responsibilities, and then throw in a global pandemic for good measure and it’s fair to say we’re exhausted. 

We won’t beat around the bush - COVID-19 has been draining, and it’s left many of us feeling pretty demotivated. Financially it’s been taxing, it’s taken its toll emotionally, and to top it all off we’ve missed out on our annual holidays to destress.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, there are things we can all start doing today to boost our energy levels and get our sparkle back, and here at takepayments we want to do our bit to help. So, buckle in for our eight top tips and we’ll have you feeling ready to smash your business goals again in no time.

1. Eat for energy 

Breakfast

Are you guilty of skipping breakfast? Apparently up to a third of us are and it’s doing us no favours at all. A good breakfast can provide the energy needed for the day, so to give yourself a headstart try and include:

  • Proteins - such as eggs, yoghurt, nuts and seeds, fish, etc. Proteins have been linked to a healthy, functioning, and alert brain throughout the day.
  • Whole-grains - think high fibre, whole grain cereals and bread, they can help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level and avoid a mid-morning crash.
  • B vitamins - these can be found in legumes, beans, spinach and other green veggies, as well as some of the proteins listed above. B vitamins are used to constantly fuel our bodies and our brains and keep us energised. 

Little and often

Once you’ve nailed your breakfast, nutritionists recommend eating small snacks and meals more frequently, every couple of hours ideally, rather than three big meals a day.

The idea is to provide your brain with a consistent supply of nutrients to boost energy and reduce the perception of fatigue.

Reduce sugar intake

When you feel wiped out it can be a natural instinct to reach for a sugary snack for a swift boost, we’re as guilty of it as anyone else, but it can actually make your fatigue worse.

Sugar provides a short-term lift in energy levels, but it wears off rapidly and can be followed by a crash - making you feel worse then you did to begin with.

So, we’re not saying cut out sugar altogether (unless you have superhuman willpower), but opt for foods without added sugars where you can.

2. Sort out sleep

Now we realise this sounds like the most patronising statement ever, but sleep is essential to energy, so nailing your sleeping habits is mega important to feeling your best. 

Even though we all know it’s important, it’s not uncommon for sleep to be put on the back burner when life gets hectic, and what can start as pushing bedtime back by half an hour to fit in a few extra emails can soon result in people not getting as much rest as they need night after night - and that makes us feel sluggish, fatigued, and grumpy.

According to the NHS, adults need somewhere between 6 and 9 hours a night, and that sweet spot will be different for everyone - some of us can manage on much less than others. 

A good trick is to time how much sleep you’re getting and make a note of how you’re feeling - that way you can play around with how much your body needs to feel energised and be sure you’re always at your best.

3. Look at lifestyle 

If you smoke or drink too much alcohol, these habits can have a negative effect on your energy levels.

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen being transported around our bodies and this, in turn, impacts our energy levels and leaves us feeling tired. We totally understand it’s not as simple as just stopping, but it could have you feeling more spritely in no time if you can kick the habit. 

Remember: your GP can provide help and advice for quitting smoking. 

When it comes to alcohol it’s all about moderation and keeping your habits in check. Alcohol can mak you feel drowsy so it’s not uncommon for people to indulge in a tipple before bed, but research actually shows it can interfere with your quality of sleep.

So, even though it might send you off into the land of nod, you’ll get less rest overall and be left feeling tired the following day. On the subject of drowsiness, avoid drinking alcohol with lunch or hitting happy hour if you’re hoping to have a productive evening. 

4. Stay hydrated

Being dehydrated can impact your energy levels, brain function, and mood - so drinking plenty of water is an important element of maintaining energy throughout the day.

Our bodies are made up of between 55-75% water (variable depending on age), and studies have shown a dip in hydration levels of just 1.59% can result in a poorer working memory function and increased levels of anxiety and fatigue.

We all lose water through various means throughout the day, so it’s important to keep these levels topped up to ensure we’re on our A-game. 

Remember: on warmer days we’ll lose more water through sweat than normal, so drink extra fluids to compensate and avoid fatigue.

5. Get moving

This might sound counterintuitive because the last thing you’ll feel like doing when you’re exhausted is exercising or exerting yourself, but actually living a sedentary lifestyle has been shown to negatively impact energy levels.

On the flip side, research has shown people with sedentary lifestyles who report experiencing persistent and unexplained fatigue have successfully decreased their feelings of tiredness by a whopping 65% by simply taking part in low-intensity cycling on a regular basis. 

Even 10 minutes of walking has been shown to impact energy levels more beneficially than reaching for a snack, so try and get moving more and squeeze some exercise into your schedule.

6. Stress less

Simple, right? Of course not, this one’s much easier said than done, but feeling stressed makes it really hard to concentrate on anything and ultimately takes a toll on your physical and mental health leaving you feeling wiped out.

Short of packing up and moving to a deserted island, it’s unlikely to be possible to totally remove all stressors from your life, but there are some actions you can take to reduce your stress levels as well as how you react to stressful situations, including:

  • Indulging in some self-care wherever possible - it’s not selfish, it’s necessary - this could be some form of pampering, reading a book, taking a walk, or whatever you find relaxing and enjoyable.
  • Finding time to exercise - exercise releases endorphins which in turn help you feel less stressed.
  • Practising mindfulness and meditation - these techniques are excellent tools to equip yourself with and will help you deal with stressful encounters both now and in the future.

Remember: if your stress levels are feeling out of control or you’re struggling to manage them on your own, reach out for help. 

7. Be careful with caffeine

A cup of joe is excellent for a quick pick me up, but it’s important you don’t abuse caffeine or it could actually have the opposite effect.

Too much caffeine can leave you feeling shaky with racing thoughts, and if drank too close to bedtime can result in people struggling to sleep or even insomnia.

The experts suggest avoiding caffeine-based drinks after 2pm to minimise these side-effects. Remember, caffeine should be used for a pick me up now and again, rather than as a regular crutch. 

8. Work-life balance

We totally understand running a business is full-on, you’re wearing lots of hats and spinning multiple plates all the time, and this can be exhausting. 

But your business will only reach its full potential if you are fit and healthy, and for this, you need to strike a balance between your work and your life.

Make time for yourself, ask for help when you need it, and don’t be afraid to delegate. 

Social connections are a super important element of good health, in fact, one of the most common factors in areas of the world with low disease rates is a strong social support network. 

On the flip side, social isolation has been linked with low mood and tiredness, so to boost your energy be sure to make time for socialising and spending time with loved ones. 

Ready to take on the world? You’ll find heaps more useful resources designed to help small businesses succeed over on our blog. 

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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