Your guide to boosting your energy.
Why You’re Here: Your energy is low–maybe for the first time, maybe for a long time. Either way you’re ready for a boost.
What’s Inside: Consider this Toolkit your guide to understanding your energy compass, so that you can navigate the ups and downs. We'll give you tools to learn what your energy is telling you and ideas for boosting your energy for the short and long-term.
How To Use It: This isn’t a prescription for all your energy needs, so feel free to take or leave the ideas we share depending on what your body tells you and what habits fit in your life.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Low energy doesn't necessarily mean you're doing something wrong, but it does mean you want to take notice of the factors that impact your energy. Our approach is to consider those factors, and work towards solutions. We believe you can commit to a process and be proactive about keeping up with your energy - not just reactive when it gets you down.
Adrenal fatigue happens to people facing long-term stress, which can be mental, physical or emotional. It includes symptoms such as body aches, digestive problems, fatigue, sleep disturbances and nervousness.
You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you regularly notice the following symptoms:
You feel tired for no reason, especially in the early morning and mid-afternoon.
You have trouble getting up in the morning, even after a full night’s sleep.
You feel rundown or overwhelmed.
You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
You crave salty and/or sweet snacks.
You feel more awake, alert, and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.
WHAT TO DO
The best next step is the one you take, whether that’s a little something you do today, a habit you start tomorrow or the plan you make for long-term health. Here are some ideas for each.
Skip the coffee and go for a protein-filled snack instead. We like a scoop of almond butter or a hard-boiled egg with Trader Joe’s 'Everything But The Bagel' seasoning.
Consider the few things that might be affecting your low energy, and start to track them. Monitor how much sleep you're getting, how much water you're drinking, how much you exercise and any stress you're currently under. How do these factors make you feel? Take some time to map out what your current levels are for each of those areas, and then make some goals if you want to shake any of them up.
Make a plan to incorporate new behaviors (or dust off some old ones!) that will increase your energy. Commit to better sleep, find new protein-filled recipes or buy a water bottle to help you track your daily hydration. Small changes can make a big energetic difference over time. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about what next steps to take, and if you think your energy level could be part of a larger health problem.
I sometimes can't wake up and other days I can get up without a problem, why does this happen?
There are a variety of reasons why you might struggle to wake up some days while it might be no big deal on other days. It might have to do with your overall health and lifestyle. Ask yourself: Is there a reason you aren’t sleeping? What does your sleep hygiene or sleep routine look like?
Often, inconsistent sleep patterns or lifestyle factors can indicate a sleep disorder or common circadian rhythm disorders, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You can also talk to your doctor and look for ways to help diagnose, test and ultimately manage and treat your possible symptoms.
You could have a sleep pattern that needs to be monitored and studied. This could require some testing, including a sleep diary which is created by actigraphy, a method of recording a person’s sleep and having a person wear a wrist motion monitor for anywhere from a few days to weeks. This could involve overnight and daytime testing depending on your sleep schedule. If you work an unconventional work shift, this could also be part of the testing.
Why do energy levels change according to where you are in your cycle especially PMS?
Some women complain that their energy levels change or fluctuate around their periods, according to the Office of Women’s Health. Your hormone levels could be changing, causing your energy levels to go up and down.
On the first few days of your period, your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels are at their lowest. They begin to rise during your period, which could make you more active than in the previous weeks. During the week your period ends, you might notice that your energy level begins to climb back up. Rising estrogen levels indicate that you’re ready to ovulate and your body is ready to release an egg from the ovary.
On that third week, your estrogen levels might peak around the time of ovulation, which is generally about two weeks before the next period for many women. Now, when your estrogen levels fall quickly after ovulation and your progesterone levels begin to rise, your energy might dip and you might feel more tired than you normally do. And that doesn’t mean quit exercising. It actually means that exercise and staying active might help boost your mood and increase your energy level throughout the day. Experts recommend exercising first thing in the morning so you can maximize on your energy level, which is higher in the morning compared to later in the day.
As the week ahead of your next period approaches, you might feel less energized because your estrogen and progesterone levels are falling, unless you are pregnant—then this is not the case. Physical activity can often help your PMS symptoms improve if your energy levels are on the lower side.
You can take steps to help track your energy cycle and come up with solutions to help improve it throughout your cycle. Try tracking your menstrual cycle and energy levels using a fitness journal during each workout. By tracking you should get a better sense of when you have higher or lower energy during the month. If you take hormonal birth control, including the patch, shot or vaginal ring, you might not notice differences in your energy levels going up and down as much as if you are not birth control.
Talk to your health care provider about other ways you might be able to increase your energy level during your cycle.
Why do my energy levels flux during the day inconsistently?
It’s normal for your energy level to dip and jump up during the day. This happens because of your circadian rhythm, the biological clock that manages your brain. Morning is often when you are most alert, then by afternoon you might feel more tired—that’s actually a biological response to what our ancestors might have needed to avoid heat stroke in the afternoons under the hot sun. That means you might want to tackle your most important, brain-heavy tasks in the morning and save your more routine, less concentrating duties for the afternoon and evening.
It’s important to keep a sleep and healthy eating schedule, don’t sacrifice sleep, which restores your energy levels and keeps you more consistent. It’s also important to understand the connection between your energy levels and emotions. If you are low on mental energy you might not be able to do the things you like to do that make you happy, such as exercising at the gym or taking a walk. Eating a balanced diet, one that includes a variety of unrefined carbohydrates, proteins and fats, with lots of vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils, should help you maintain your energy level and prevent fatigue, according to Harvard Health. Certain types of foods in particular amounts can help keep your energy level up. Eating small meals or having a small portion of fruit or nuts can also help sustain you and increase your energy level during the day. Drinking water, limiting alcohol and using caffeine to your advantage are other ways you can increase or maintain your energy level throughout the day. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can increase or decrease your energy levels depending on the amount you consume. Having a cup of coffee before a meeting or beginning a project can also increase your ability to focus, but it’s also important to be careful of having caffeine products after 2 p.m. (or noon if you are sensitive to caffeine).