How to eliminate fatigue & increase energy off the plate
Louise Murray is a Holistic Health Coach certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Mindfulness Teacher. She takes a holistic approach to health and wellness by nourishing people ON and OFF the plate; combining nutrition advice with lifestyle and behaviour change. In this article Louise shares her top three tips for increasing energy off the plate.
Around 80% of the clients I see in my coaching practice are looking to decrease fatigue and increase energy levels. Being tired affects our mood and our behaviour, causing a lack of motivation and rationality and augmenting stress and frustration. This is because being tired directly affects our brains. When we are fatigued, the emotional part of our brains (the amygdala) becomes significantly more active – as much as 60%. Our emotions literally go into overdrive. Being tired also affects our pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for rational thought. So when we are low on energy, our emotions are raised and we are less able to act rationally... a bad combination!
Luckily there are lots of things we can do to help renew and recharge our energy levels. Let’s take a look.
1. ENERGY ROADMAPPING
Of course choosing foods that either fuel us or leave us exhausted is one of the main factors that affects energy…but there are also many factors OFF the plate that have an impact. For example, we can choose to do activities and spend time with people that drain our energy or build it. Identifying what energises us and where the energy leaks are is key to understanding how we can make improvements.
Below is an energy roadmap diagram. Print out the chart or sketch it out on a notepad and mark a dot for each category. The closer you place your dot to the outside of the circle, the more energy you feel you get from that area of your life. The closer to the centre, the more draining. Connect your dots and see where your energy boosters and sappers lie.
Now ask yourself, what might your life be like if you could move all those dots a little further out. Consider what in each area you can increase in order to boost your energy and if there is anything you could decrease to boost your energy.
Let’s take a look at four areas to see how this can be achieved: relationships, career, exercise and spiritual practice. NB spiritual practice does not have to be religious – it is anything that makes you feel grounded and connected e.g. being out in nature, yoga, meditation.
Taking the time to complete the above exercise is worth its weight in gold, giving you an actionable roadmap to work on that will make a significant impact on how energised you feel day to day.
I honestly believe that energy boosting breath work can be better than caffeine. You can use the power of breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus throughout your body.
If you are not breathing optimally, you are robbing yourself of energy. The way you breathe may be causing you to feel tired, fatigued, foggy, and uninspired. This is because proper, controlled breathing ensures an optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange - vital for high energy and mental alertness levels. Since oxygen is the breath of life, it is rocket fuel for the body and mind.
Do this simple breathing exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yourself losing steam:
- Deeply exhale with a whoosh sound
- Deeply inhale through the nose for 4, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8
- Repeat for 4 breaths
With this exercise, we are focusing on deep, diaphragmatic breathing. This means we are not using our chest or upper body to breathe. We are engaging our lower belly as we inhale and exhale. On the inhale, your lower belly should rise outwardly. On the exhale, the lower belly moves inwardly, towards the navel. These movements draw air into the lungs, and not just the upper lungs, as in chest breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing fills every part your lungs, including the lower parts.
3. LET GO LIST!
Self-care is hard and sometimes means setting tricky boundaries and letting go of the stuff that drains us. So what in your life can you LET GO of? What behaviour and habits could you do with saying 'goodbye' to in order to fill your self-care cup with a little more energy?
Make a list for yourself, and try to stop just a few of these things. You will gain SO much more quality time in your life. Here are a few ideas for your ‘stop-doing’ list:
- People pleasing
- Negative self-talk
- Overthinking things you cannot change
- Mindlessly scrolling social media
- Negative people
- Dwelling on the past
I hope that you have found some of this information useful and that you can now welcome a little more life-giving energy into your days!