We all know that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and cause all sorts of illness, but did you know that it’s also one of the top causes of fatigue? When stress hits, we tend to just power through instead of incorporating self-care activities to reduce it. But not addressing and dealing with that stress could be why you’re so tired all the time – despite that third cup of coffee in your hand.
According to HealthLine, “Chronic stress may have a profound effect on your energy levels and quality of life.While you may not be able to avoid stressful situations, developing strategies for managing your stress may help prevent you from feeling completely exhausted.”
Whether your stress comes from work, social, or personal situations, there are healthy ways to reduce stress in order to boost your energy. Below are 10 self-care activities that can help you mitigate the damage of every day stress and start to feel more energized.
Studies have shown that meditation can reduce cortisol levels in your body by 50%. Cortisol is a chemical the brain releases when it enters the fight or flight mode – aka: stress. Practicing meditation regularly can help keep stress at bay and allow for more energy. Try these meditation tips for beginners to get started.
Yoga is a great practice for connecting the mind and body, deep breathing, and mindfulness. It’s also an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety and keep those energy levels high. You can take a yoga class at a local studio, or try these simple yoga poses to kick start your day.
Spend Time with a Friend
According to MindBodyGreen, “Science has proven that social exchanges change the neurotransmitter and circuit activity in your brain which decreases stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms and ups those calm and happy feelings.” Whether it’s a Friday happy hour or just a lunchtime chat, it’s time to get social. Try scheduling time with friends this week. Maybe make it a recurring appointment on your calendar!
Share the Workload
Asking for help isn’t always the popular option, but being overworked can lead to burnout. Fatigue is one of the first signs of burnout and should be addressed quickly. Prioritize your workload and find tasks that can be delegated or at least shared. Try focusing on only the most important tasks. Need ideas? Check out these tips for prioritizing your day.
Take the Stairs or Go for a Walk
One study has shown that just 10 minutes of walking or taking a few extra flights of stairs is more effective at boosting your energy than drinking 50mg of caffeine. The next time you hit that afternoon slump, put on your sneakers instead of reaching for that second (or third) cup of coffee. Pro-Tip: take that 10 minute walk in nature for an extra dose of calm while boosting your natural energy.
Get Up and Stretch
If you’re sitting at a desk all day or driving in traffic, it’s important to stand up and stretch to get the body moving. This is really important to your wellbeing and a great self-care activity. It will make you instantly feel better, breathe deeper, and release tension in your muscles. Try these subtle moves that you can even do at work – no stretchy pants required.
Do a Quick HIIT Workout
Exercise can increase your energy and boost your mood, we all know that by now. But not everyone has the time or access to spend hours a day in training mode. HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are the most cost effective (read: free) and efficient ways to get in shape and keep those energy levels high. Try this 15-minute, no equipment required, HIIT workout to get started.
Snack on Low Glycemic Foods
Stabilizing your blood sugar can help maintain energy levels between meals and prevent the ups and downs that come with sugary treats. Snacking on low glycemic foods – like fresh fruit, veggies, and nuts – not only stave off cravings and keep you from crashing before lunchtime, but they can give you that energy boost you need to get through the day.
Drink More Water
Even mild levels of dehydration can affect brain function, mood, and energy levels. Things like keeping a water bottle with you at all times and setting reminders on your phone to refill, can help you stay hydrated and energized throughout the day. Don’t like the taste of water? Try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to give it a little flavor.
Start the Day Right
Harvard Health suggests making a healthy breakfast as part of your morning routine. It will boost your energy first thing and keep it going all day long. Whether you’re an oatmeal person or a green smoothie person, carve out time in your morning to make this a priority. Cultivate an entire stress-free morning routine with these five tips and reap the calming, energy-boosting effects every day.
We all face a myriad of stressful events in our lives and those daily stressors can add up over time. Adopting a self-care mindset each day can help keep that stress from creeping up on you. It will also help boost your energy levels so you can focus and get things done.
What are your favorite energy-boosting self-care activities?