Energy Hacks, Part Deux

Aaaand, welcome back!

Today, we talk about Part Two of:

HOW TO HAVE AN ENERGETIC DAY WHEN YOU DON’T NECESSARY FEEL ENERGETIC.

Last time we talked, we discussed the importance staying hydrated, prepping your body with protein for you to BURN rather than STORE, and the trifecta of protein/healthy fat/complex carb thats going to keep you full and happy.

Today we carry through the idea of the winning combo, but also touch on how to set your sleep/wake cycle, how to UNWIND, and some good habits to GET BETTER SLEEP (so tomorrow is even better).

So without further ado...

Wake Up: I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT

After you rub the sleep from your eyes and shuffle out of the bathroom, its nice to get your body moving. It sounds terrible, but I actually really like it most days. Sometimes I do a Tabata, alternating between jumping jacks and burpees to rev my metabolism and circulation (thank my dear friend and trainer Daphnie for that tip), other days requiring a more gentle start, I spend a few minutes stretching and breathing (not stretching as in ‘stretch your hammies', more like just a few minutes of childs pose, cat/cow, or simple side bends or my very butchered attempt at sun salutations). 

 

Commute: WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT (or at least not in the morning)

Reset your sleep/wake cycle on your way to your train/bus/walk! This is especially important if you spend most of your day inside with overhead lighting or away from the windows. Ditch your shades in the morning and feel the sun on your face. Allowing your eyes to adjust to daylight will help set your internal clock and tell it “hey, it’s morning!”

 

Lunch: WALK IT OFF

Pop out for a quick walk around the block if you can. Again, when your body senses that the sun is above you, it’s going to help your internal clock figure out what your body should be acting like. Plus, it’s good to shake off any stress and boost your circulation.

 

Before Bed: Chill Out

Sometimes life has me wound up more than usual and my sleep game suffers. And since I’m a creature of habit, I like to have a bedtime routine to get me ready for a solid nights sleep.

1) I do a quick Productivity Journal entry.

Basically, I quickly reflect over my day and jot down:

  • 3 things that went really well during the day (work, personal, big, small, whatever)
  • 3 things to do tomorrow (again, work, personal, whatever), and
  • 1 person/action/thing that I was uber grateful for over the day.

This allows me to reflect on my day, mentally prepare for tomorrow, and give my mind permission to shut off for the rest of the day. This last part takes time, practice, patience, and a little faith, but if you can get the hang of it, it’s a great payoff. Plus, it’s nice to be able to pop into my Journal the next morning and see very clearly the three “absolutes” that I need to address that day. 

2) I try to set the mood with lighting:

  • I try to limit my exposure to blue light, which can disrupt the release of melatonin in our bodies. Blue light is emitted from screens, so I use an app to tint the screen of my laptop and phone to block the blue light. F.Lux and Candlelight are both options. If you want to go lo-tech, you can always get an amber color screen or glasses that you can buy on Amazon.
  • Using indirect, warm light to light my living space. Because our internal clocks are set to understand that light at the end of the day is dimmer and does not shine from directly overhead, table lamps are a good way to keep our bodies in synch.

3) Collagen + Magnesium = Lights Out.

If I know I’m going through a stressful period of time, I dissolve some collagen hydrolysate into some calming tea and take a supplement of chelated magnesium. 

Collagen hydrolysate (I use Great Lakes brand) comes from grass-fed animals and dissolves in either hot or cold liquids. It has a host of awesome health benefits but for this use case it’s particularly rich in the amino acid glycine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (meaning it works against stress hormones, promoting calmness). One point to note is that some people (those who are sensitive to histamines) may not feel good when they supplement with collagen, (clue: if fermented foods, citrus fruits, or bone broth don’t sit well with you).

Magnesium is a mineral that we can easily become deficient in (through sweat, alcohol consumption, birth control pill, antibiotics, other medications, high levels of stress), yet it does so much good in our bodies, especially our bones, muscles, and brain. You need it for your cells to make energy, and for your body to relax. Magnesium comes in many forms, many of which we don’t absorb or tolerate well (GI disturbances). Trying magnesium citrate or chelated magnesium might be your better option. *Want to try to up your magnesium intake with food? Start rotating kelp, nuts, figs, dates, avocado, shrimp, dandelion greens, beans, brown rice, and parsley into your diet!

4) Meditate…for just 2 minutes!

Meditation is gaining quite the fan club these days, and with good reason. It’s been shown to boost productivity, decrease pain and inflammation, and, of course, help relieve stress. I love the app Stop, Breathe & Think. By inputting your current mood/emotions, it suggests several guided meditations for you to use, ranging anywhere from a few minutes to as long as you like. It also has cute illustrations and hands out awards for different levels of achievements, which I am just a sucker for.

 

And there you have it!

Between the last post and this one, you have a morning to lights-out plan to optimize your energy level. Don’t forget that you should squeeze a workout (work your way up to at least 3 per week) in there somewhere - but now that you have more ENERGY, that should be a PIECE OF CAKE! ;)

 

The TL;DR version:

Get your body moving in the morning

Let the morning sun set your internal clock to “ready!”

Refresh your body and mind at lunch

Set an evening routine to mentally let go and physically unwind.

        √ Productivity Journal

        Appropriate Lighting/Block out the Blue Light

        √ Consider supplementing with collagen and magnesium

        √ Meditate 2 minutes or more, consider using Stop, Breathe & Think!