Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Mom Proven Ways to Boost Energy Naturally

"Why did I think it would be a good idea to walk the kids to school?" I think as I slowly contort my body, sneaking out from under the sleeping baby that only just barely closed her eyes.  The sun now slowly lifting herself from a long night's rest.  Stretching her fingers above the tops of the mountains like she's peaking out from under the covers.  I haven't seen that for awhile.   Summer has been good to me.

Last night was not good to me though.  Last night was very abusive.  Despite spending the last couple of weeks of summer getting the kids on a schedule again, the excitement of the first day of school fought hard to keep the kids awake.  I think Jack finally closed his eyes around 1:30 a.m., right about the time that Thea woke up crying, waking up a very sleepy Kate. "I'll never sleep again," I think.  I'm more angry than tired.  After getting both girls back to sleep I peek at my phone.  2:30 a.m.  6:30 is going to come pretty early, but I force myself not to worry about it because that will keep me up all night.  Funny how that works.

So 6:30 came really early this morning.  And now because of my brilliant idea to walk my kids to school, I actually have to get ready.  I will be seeing real people and I doubt my kids want me talking to the neighbors in my pajamas.  Maybe I can take the three year old and the baby in their PJs.  Nah, I should get them up and ready too.  And to top it all off, I told the kids I would make cinnamon rolls.  Oh today is going to be a day!

Luckily getting no sleep and still being able to get things done is pretty much my super power.   Tragically I don't drink caffeine so the only way I survive is by using a few natural habits I've developed to keep things going. And since I graduated in nutrition and exercise science most of them revolve around lifestyle management.

Here are few ideas that will help after your next sleepless night.

1. Exercise

I know it seems like the last thing you want to do when you've been up all night, but it makes such a difference.  Sometimes I am so tired that I can't even get motivated to put on my sports bra.  I mean, that takes work.  But even on those days, if I can just take a walk in the neighborhood (no sports bra required) I feel so much more invigorated.  In fact studies show that the days where more daily steps were taken, subjects reported having higher levels of energy.  In fact 20 percent more energy was reported and a 65 percent decrease in fatigue.

So which exercises help the most to boost energy?  Light to Moderate workouts will generate the largest amounts of energy without depleting your resources.  The best activities include walking, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, and strength training.

2. Drink More Water

So anyone that knows me know that this is my cure all for anything that ails you.  Stomach hurts, drink more water.  Can't lose weight, drink more water.  High blood pressure, drink more water.  No energy, DRINK MORE WATER!  It will seriously solve any problem you have.  Except maybe having to pee too much.  I don't think it helps with that.

The truth is water helps maintain fluid balance in our bodies which aids with our physical performance and fights fatigue and exhaustion.  Just a glass of water can clear our minds and help us to think better. It helps increase your attention span, memory, and motor skills and will naturally lighten your mood.

3. Have A Snack

Being a new mom again, I am constantly watching what I eat so I can lose those pesky pregnancy pounds.  I've kind of gotten used to being hungry all the time so that is not always a natural trigger for me to eat.  But I've noticed if I haven't eaten in a while, I will start nodding off and yawning like nobody's business.  This fatigue has become my new trigger.  It lets me know I need fuel.  So what is the best thing to eat when your feeling drowsy?  Find a good snack that has protein, fiber, and a little bit of fat.  Peanut butter is always a good bet.  Also try yogurt and nuts, or hummus and pita chips.  My personal favorite is a banana and peanut butter smoothie.  Energy for days!

4. Take Time To Laugh

You know what they say, laughter is the best medicine and it's true!  We change physiologically when we laugh.  We stretch muscles in our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure rise, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues, creating more energy!  The effects of laughter and exercise are actually very similar! So take some time today to watch a funny YouTube video or visit with your funniest friend.  It's good for your health and you will be much more productive with the rest of your day!

5. Good Nutrition

Fill your body with fresh fruits and vegetables and you will notice a difference in your energy levels within just a couple of days.  These foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that will kick your energy into high gear.  Some of these vitamins include Magnesium, B vitamins, and Iodine.  If you don't think your diet is giving you enough of the good stuff there is no shame is popping a multivitamin.  Supplementing is a great way to to make sure you are getting what your body needs to stay alert.

6. Massage Your Ears

It might sound funny but only to us here in the western hemisphere.  This technique has been used for thousands of years to help increase energy.  The reasoning behind it is that all your acupuncture points run through the outer edges of your ears.  Pinch the outside edges of the ear and massage them up and down and you will notice a significant increase in energy!  I know you're doing it right now and it works right?!  You're welcome.

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