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15 Ways to Have More Energy (Part 1)

15 Ways to Have More Energy

So many people have been writing in recently and asking me, “How do you have so much energy?”

This question amuses me somewhat, because although I do try to live intentionally by setting goals and following through with them each week, I am not Superwoman or the Energizer Bunny and have friends who run circles around me (I’m looking at you, Angie, and you, Jessica!).

But since I’ve been getting this question so often recently, I sat down and made a list of 15 things I’ve personally found help me have more energy and zest for life. I can’t guarantee that by implementing this list you’re going to all of a sudden have this amazing transformation and feel like you could take on the world, but maybe my list will help give you some ideas and inspiration if you’re feeling lackluster and un-enthused about life right now.

I’ll be sharing three things from my list of 15 each week day this week in hopes that maybe something that has helped me will also be helpful to you. Here’s the first three:

1. Make Sleep a Priority

I know, I know. It’s hard to get sleep when you have a hundred other things you feel you should be doing.

However, if you don’t take the time to rest, you’ll constantly be running on fumes. Rearrange your schedule, turn off the electronics, do relaxing things before bed, go to bed early (if at all possible), take a 30-minute nap in the afternoon, or do whatever else it takes to make sure you are getting good sleep at least 5-6 nights each week (I’ve found that if I sleep well at least five nights each week, I’m rested enough that I can have a late night once or twice a week without it really affecting me!)

Don’t know whether you’re getting adequate sleep? I’ve heard that a good barometer is to see if you’re tired at all midday or afternoon. If you are, you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. Keep extending your sleep at night by 15 to 30 minutes until you no longer feel tired in the afternoon.

2. Drink More Water

Most of us suffer from dehydration, whether we know it or not. Make sure you’re drinking at least 64 to 80 ounces of water each day. If you think you’re currently drinking that much, track your water intake each day for two weeks. You might be surprised to realize you don’t drink as much as you think you do!

I’ve found it helpful to always have a glass of water nearby me, no matter where I am. And when I leave to go somewhere, I try to never leave the house without a big water bottle.

By make water readily accessible, I find I’m much more apt to drink. I also track my daily water intake on SparkPeople, just to verify that I’m staying well hydrated.

3. Exercise

Exercise will refresh you, it will help you shed excess pounds that can be zapping your energy, and it will probably help you be more alert and focused. Plus, as a side benefit, it will likely help you sleep better at night!

There are a thousand excuses for why you can’t or don’t exercise, but I’m not buying any of them. Everyone can find at least 10 minutes a few times per week to go out on a brisk walk, ride the exercise bike, do jumping jacks, or pop in an exercise DVD.

If you can find time to read this post, you can find time to exercise. Make exercise a priority; your current and future health is worth the sacrifice of time and rearranging of schedule.

…To be continued tomorrow.

photo courtesy of BigStock

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  • wendy davis says:

    great post.I know I need to do better on all 3 of these

  • Mistina says:

    These are so true! I recently started my weight loss journey and have dramatically increased increased my water intake and started exercising, and I have a TON of energy. Sleep has always been a priority for me. Great tips!!

  • Cassi says:

    I like the “if you have time to read this post” comment 🙂 hubby and I have both been working on exercising more. On days where I get up and ride my bike I definitely have more energy and usually feel up for a couch to 5k session as well as a swim!
    The sleep thing has not been a problem for me in quite a long time. Although I know how important it is to get plenty of sleep, what constitutes “plenty” varies greatly for hubby and I. I am a 7 hour kind of girl and he is an 8-9 hour kind of guy it actually makes me laugh at times.
    The water thing is probably my greatest downfall-I seem to cycle with doing great with water intake then failing at it miserably! I will have to see if tracking it can help me not yo-yo so much!
    I look forward to this series-mostly to see similarities 🙂 I am quite the energetic person myself and my students joke that they would love to see what I am like after having an energy drink (I don’t consume any caffeine other than the occasional spot of chocolate) because I have never even tasted one LOL
    I think a lot of my energy comes from my optimism-I say that because I spent a good portion of my young life depressed and I really felt sluggish at times. Now that I am past that I feel like I have all the energy in the world 🙂
    Thanks for the great post!

    • Crystal says:

      I definitely agree with you that your outlook and purpose in life can be a big factor in how much energy and zest for life you have. We’ll be talking about that later this week!

    • Melodie says:

      To encourage you with the water intake, just google “8 glasses water per day myth” and you will discover that this rule has been disproved and that most of us are just fine with only 4 -6 glasses per day or even less. And since too much water actually dilutes your system, forcing yourself to drink beyond what your body is telling you to, might actually be a bad thing. My Dr. always tells me, “drink to thirst”. If you are thirsty, drink. Have the water with you at all times so you can drink when your body calls for it, but don’t force it. It simply isn’t necessary.

      • Crystal says:

        If you’re eating lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, then I think you can definitely drink less. However, I think most people have grown accustomed to being dehydrated and they don’t even know how thirsty their body is. Most of us can survive on 4-6 glasses per day, but I think most people would feel a lot better if we were more hydrated with water.

        Dehydration can lead to weight gain, headaches, constipation, and much more. Before dismissing the 8 cups or more a day rule, I encourage people to at least try it for 4-6 weeks and see if it makes a difference in your health and overall well-being. And hey, if you find that it just doesn’t work for you, you can go back to drinking less, no harm done. 🙂

        • Bethany says:

          I’ve heard lots of different places that the best way to figure out how much water your body needs is to divide your body weight in half and drink that amount in ounces. So, if I weigh 125 lbs, I should drink 62.5 ounces of water every day. I always round up to 70 or so, since I drink coffee in the mornings and afternoon, and it can be dehydrating.

  • Casey B says:

    True, true, and true! I’ve got water and exercise under control, it’s that stinking sleep that I’m lacking. I KNOW my body needs it, yet there is SO MUCH TO DO!!! All the time. Never ends. So, you think I would realize that and know that I’ll never get it ALL done anyway, so get done what absolutely must get done, then get some sleep and start again tomorrow. I think logically, unfortunately I don’t always act logically. 🙁 Working on it. Love this little mini-series 🙂 I can always use the little reminders!

    • Crystal says:

      I’ve found that I am much, much more productive if I get an hour or two more of sleep than I am if I burn the candle at both ends. So it ends up working in my favor if I just listen to my body and go to bed — even if I feel like I should stay up and get more done. I’m much more efficient the next morning after a good night’s rest.

  • Jenn says:

    Those are great, and I definitely recommend doing all three. But what really made the difference for me was going to an all plant based, whole grain diet. Radical, yes, but it has totally been worth it! My energy has increased 10 fold, my chronic migraines have decreased significantly, I am more focused and I’m less stressed. And strangely enough, I don’t miss meat. OK, so desserts are tempting sometimes, but it’s really not hard to make awesome vegan desserts. We are also spending less on our grocery budget (even with buying almond milk)!

    • Marsha says:

      For me, the dietary change that worked best was much less grain and more high-quality protein from animal sources (salmon, field-raised beef and so on). Even so, I agree with your overall point – if one’s diet isn’t working, then mindful change is key. If someone were to try more animal products and didn’t feel better or even felt worse, that doesn’t mean that dietary change won’t work, it just means that maybe vegan is the best for that person, or dairy-free or nightshade-free or whatever. As with so many things, mindfulness counts!

    • Sarah says:

      I do low grain and high quality animal protein too (all grass fed meat and organic). I am a huge believer in the blood type diet and as an O that is how I function best. But I definitely agree, diet plays a huge role. I can get so tired with eating things that are not right for my body. I feel sluggish and hate that I do it to myself. My worst offender is wheat and sugar. Together they just make me blah! Although I love eating it!

    • Andrea says:

      Sometimes feeling tired/sluggish is a direct result of the food you’re eating. I no longer eat pasta or much bread, because I would crash about 30 minutes after consuming it. I definitely agree with these three comments about finding the diet that works for you!

  • Amy f;) says:

    I lol’d about the having glasses of water always around….doesn’t work very well with a toddler in the house;)

  • Mary says:

    Great post!

  • Jessica says:

    Actually, I like to think of myself as more like Elasti-girl 😉 You’re very kind, but know that I’m just treading water like everybody else. Miss you, friend!

  • One thing I don’t enjoy about the newborn stage…absolutely no energy and nothing you can do about it 😉

    I always try to keep in mind that “this too shall pass”, which definitely helps the perspective when sleep is a priority and yet can’t be established.

    • Crystal says:

      I think the best thing you can do for the newborn stage is to just plan that you’ll have no plan… well, at least no plan to do anything but the barest of basics — like keeping everyone fed and clothed — and trying to get as much sleep as possible in between caring for your home and a newborn!

  • I’m so glad you are doing this series! I know I need to get more sleep! I’ll try the water thing, too. I just re-started fitting exercise into my day. SparkPeople has some great short workout videos that I have been enjoying.

    I’m wondering if caffeine will be on your list. I know it’s on mine, but I would like to reduce the amount I’m drinking.

    • Crystal says:

      I went off caffeine completely for a three-month stint last year. I found that I felt worse as a result. So I’ve decided that a little caffeine is a good thing for me. However, I limit myself to one big cup of coffee each morning with good whole milk and raw sugar in it — so good and something I savor slowly while reading my Bible and blogging in the quiet hours of the early morning.

    • Try drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning. when you wake up, you haven’t drank fir hiurs. Water first thing is wonderful!

  • Thanks for the reminders. I need to readjust all 3 of these on calendar. During summer, I get off my “normal” schedule.

  • Becky says:

    Does that ten minutes include the time to change, shower, etc? I wish exercising were as simple as just doing it, without prep or clean up.

    • Shannon says:

      Me too!

    • Crystal says:

      When there’s a will, there’s a way! 🙂 Try building your exercise time into your schedule right before you usually shower, that way, you don’t have to take an extra shower as a result.

    • Amie says:

      I used to work at a big facility that had a gym, but no shower. I worked out on my lunch break and brought work out clothes, baby wipes, deodorant, powder or dry shampoo and make up. I got pretty sweaty and would wipe down and freshen up before returning to work. It really didn’t take long. I had an hour long break and exercised for 30 minutes and used the rest of the time to eat, change, and make my away across campus.

    • Meredith says:

      I learned over time that exercise doesn’t have to include running shoes, a sweat band, and a free hour away from my daughter. If you have kids, work out videos are great….they will probably try to do them too. If you have a gaming system that can work. Also, spring for some cheap hand weights and lift with your arms while watching a program. Mind work on my legs too. Also, just joining in on a game of tag with your kids (or something of the like….a meandering walk around the block in your flip flops) does the trick. Many times, I get a workout and a shower isn’t even needed!

    • Liz says:

      I don’t know about you, but I find that if I only have 10 minutes to exercise, chances are I won’t ever get sweaty enough to need a shower 😛

  • Georgia says:

    Oops, typo error there in the first line … do you mean to say “How do you have SO much energy?” (Feel free to delete this comment after you see it. Sorry, don’t mean to be nitpicking, but I guess it’s my inner grammar nerd.)

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank for the sure and yes, energy is also a big concern for me. Though I always tell myself that my lack of sleep is not affecting my energy, I do notice other side effects such as memory loss, irritability, etc. The hardest part for me in doing exercise is deciding to do it. Every time I finish exercising, I always feel great and satisfied.

  • Jena says:

    If you find you’re tired during the day, sleep apnea may be a cause. It is a common sleep disorder when you actually stop breathing when you sleep, lowering your oxygen level, increasing your heart rate, and interrupting your sleep cycle. I help people with this condition to use a CPAP mask so they can keep breathing while they sleep and feel better when they wake up. If you’re feeling tired often, ask your doctor about sleep apnea. It could really help turn things around for you.

    • Jena says:

      I kind of sound like a commercial there… Sorry- I’m a real person, I swear! Hehe.

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks so much for mentioning this. I know of some people who have struggled with this — without realizing it — and when the finally discovered what it was and were able to get the CPAP mask, they felt like a whole new person since they were finally getting good sleep!

  • I do a pretty good job at getting my sleep, and my exercise, but not such a good job of drinking the water. I have found one thing that helps though, I buy herbal fruit tea bags, and make up a big batch of what is essentially flavored water, sweetened with just a bit of stevia. I steep the tea just as you would for sweet tea. I find adding this bit of taste to my drink really helps.

    • Crystal says:

      I’ve been doing a lot of herbal fruit infusions as iced tea this summer, too. I don’t sweeten it, but there’s something about having a little zing to the water that seems to help me chug more of it!

  • Marsha says:

    My husband and I just started making time for family exercise with our kids and we’re pretty amazed at how much better we feel after just a few months of making more activity a priority. Some days it’s just walking all together as a family (we live on a street not suitable for walking so we go to a park or the local bike trail) or having a vigorous “catch” in the front yard. Other days it’s more involved – taking our bikes to the trail, for example, or packing up for the pool at the Y (most Ys offer reduced or waived fees for qualifying families so if there’s one near you and you believe you may fit the criteria do yourself a favor and ASK!). My husband and I alternate dinner clean-up several times a week to allow each other solo workout time, which has worked well. If you have a Play-it-Again Sports near you, check out their clearances on basic sports gear like baseball gloves or basketballs (these stores are consignment shops for sporting goods) and also check end-of-season sales at local or big box sports stores…we’ve found high-quality baseball gloves for $5 and really good swim goggles for $1 which are much more effective than the dollar store versions. Lately, we’ve even been pricing out kayaks (expensive! – maybe a future “we paid cash” post?!) but have realized that sometimes it’s just a matter of strapping on sneakers and getting to it. If you met us, you’d never think of us as “sporty” but we’ve both lost weight (him about 20 pounds, me only 12 – it’s not fair!!!!), feel so much better, sleep well, and know that we’re providing a good example for our kids.

  • Jessica says:

    And there are seasons of life where you just won’t have a lot of energy. Sometimes you just have to accept that despite your best efforts, there are seasons of life when you won’t be able to do everything you’d like to get done.

    I’m pregnant and have a 5yo and 2yo who leach energy from me! And when the baby comes, I expect to get very little sleep for a good many months.

    • Crystal says:

      I don’t know that there’s any season where you’re able to get everything done you’d like to get done — or at least I have yet to hit that season yet! 🙂

  • Lana says:

    Here is a formula for figuring out how much water you personally need to drink. Take your body weight and divide it by 2 then add 2 ounces for each ounce of caffienated beverage you consume daily. I fill reuseable water bottles to meet my onces each night before bedtime and they are cold and ready to go for the next day. I never go to bed at night without finishing my bottles of water.

    • Lana says:

      I put the bottles in the fridge each night—sorry.

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks so much for sharing the formula!

    • Becky says:

      I feel so much better when I drink water according to this formula … and worse when I don’t. 120 lbs = 60 ounces of water; 150 lbs = 75 ounces of water. As you said, Crystal, measuring it out for a while to see how much I *actually* was drinking made it clear that I was not getting as much water as I had supposed.

      This is a great series, Crystal; thanks for writing it!

  • Anna says:

    Netflix has exercise movies. I know I didn’t think of looking on there until a friend said she was using pilates on Netflix. If you already have the service, you might look at the exercise instructional videos, too!

    • Kelly says:

      There are a lot of good exercise videos on Hulu, too. Short and long, cardio to yoga. I’ve also tried grabbing a DVD every time I go to the library. Gotta love free exercise!

      I find that mixing up workouts with different videos keeps me motivated. I get bored doing the same things over and over.

  • I would also say that you MUST eat healthy! I believe this one is the priority because for years I suffered from many things such as over exhaustion, painful muscles, lack of focus, and depression. I now know my problem was poor eating habits and because my symptoms were so severe I couldn’t simply eat healthy the way the media says is healthy. I had to go on a VERY strict diet to cleanse and detox all the candida that had built up in my body.

    I’m so happy I did because I feel better even than I did during my childhood and can run laps around my husband at this point! I get WAY more accomplished every day, I can wake up early without feeling groggy, I can get through my day without any coffee, I have a much better relationship with my kids, and I am much happier. I want that for everyone else in this world!

    • I totally agree! I just went through a 7-day detox diet and felt amazing BUT then I started putting those fats back in my body! Now, I feel gross! Thanks for the inspiration to get back to eating healthy!!!!!

      • Oh, you’re so welcome. You might want to check out the Herbalogica Weightloss/Candida program (I’m not getting paid to say this it’s just SO wonderful). It’s a lot longer than 7 days and has 2 detoxes in it. I’ve been doing it for 3 weeks now and am AMAZED with my energy, focus, and the pounds just keep on dropping! I’ve been doing a vlog about it lately. Good luck on your endeavor to get healthy!

  • September says:

    Three things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately! The water thing I have down…when I was pregnant with my first I had the hardest time keeping up with my water and I developed a habit of having a big 20 oz water bottle made up the night before and I have to drink that before I’ll let myself have any coffee. It sounds silly, but I’m *highly* motivated to chug that sucker down when I’m looking forward to my morning coffee (and when I was pregnant, that one big cup of half-caff was my indulgence of the day!).

    And as for the other two, a few months ago I would have said I had exercise down, but the craziness of summer has thrown me for a loop! I run 30-40 miles a week so for me exercise is a pretty big time commitment…I get that, and it’s built into my normal schedule. But with kids out of school and crazy schedules I haven’t been able to keep up with it and it’s made me tired and cranky, until I felt convicted to make it a real priority, set the alarm really early and run in the morning when everyone is in bed. The first mile is rough, and then I get into a groove, and it’s sooo hard every morning when that alarm goes off, but I need it mentally and physically, and as a positive side effect it’s been easier for me to get to bed at a reasonable hour (something I’ve always had problems with).

    • Crystal says:

      I love your idea of drinking 20-oz. before coffee in the morning — brilliant way to get in more water for those of us who love our morning cup of coffee!

  • Andrea says:

    Here’s a completely different viewpoint on water consumption:

    Food for thought 😉

    • Crystal says:

      I definitely agree that we need to increase our intake of foods that are high in water content. And I’ve found that as I’ve been eating a no-refined-foods diet, I’m not as thirsty and feel more hydrated — even while exercising fairly strenuously on a regular basis.

      However, as a general rule, I think most Americans could benefit from more water. 🙂

  • Sleep is such a biggie…It is so easy to forget about it’s importance when we want to squeeze ever last ounce of productivity into a day, but we are just doing ourselves in if we don’t get the proper rest. We wind up being less productive the next day.

  • Jesse Dugan says:

    Great Post! Making Sleep a Priority is a tough one haha. I find taking little 10 to 20 minute naps during the weekend helps boost my energy during the day.

  • Amie says:

    This was the perfect post for me. Lately, I am always tired. I used to have much more energy and at that time I was exercising and drinking plenty of water. I’m going to get back to it. I was overweight at one point and joined a weight loss program. They encouraged us to do some physical activity for just 10 minutes per day. I started out just walking and it did make a difference.

  • olga says:

    Thanks for this post. Totally what i needed.

  • Rebecca says:

    These are such great tips. It’s just so easy to slack off on each one. Then all of a sudden, you’re so tired and you don’t know why. It’s so great to have the reminder!

  • Busy Mom says:

    Awesome post!!! My favorite part was “a good barometer is to see if you’re tired at all midday or afternoon”… that is so true! Totally makes sense, just never really thought about it before. (I just thought it meant that it was time for another cup of coffee :)) Thanks for all the great suggestions, Crystal!

    • Crystal says:

      I can’t remember where I read that advice (it was some book or article a few years ago), but when I started paying attention to it, it really was true. I now aim not to have that afternoon slump if I can help it!

  • cathy says:

    Making sleep a priority is #1 for a good reason. Although when my children were babies it seemed impossible to do. Vigorous house cleaning and yard and garden work are probably enough exercise for most women though if you live in the country like me. Working hard helps you to stay fit along with proper diet. If not, walking and playing sports and recreation with your family will do it. I don’t support the gym and ugly equipment! Enjoy your life to the fullest 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    I agree with the points you made in this wonderful post. I would like to add that sometimes anemia can deplete one’s energy and make you lethargic. I find that taking a slow-aborption iron supplement helps me feel more energetic. I know iron can be hard on your stomach, but I take the iron supplements marked “slow absorption” with a signficant meal and my stomach is fine. Taking iron also helps my nails get stronger and less likely to break off. I don’t take one every day, but I try to take them 4-5 times a week. Just thought I’d throw that suggestion out there. Anemia seems to be a problem with lots of women.

  • WilliamB says:

    For me getting enough sleep pays back double or more. If I stay up an extra hour, then I’m so groggy the next day that I lose at least two hours of productivity.

    Dunno what my payback for exercise is, but it’s considerable. Additionally, I don’t want to be decrepit when I’m 90 and exercise is the best single means to that goal.

  • Yeney says:

    Thank you ,just reading this make me feel I can change my life for good. THANKS !!!

  • Thanks for this Crystal! I like the Sparkpeople idea – I haven’t heard of them before, I’ll be checking them out. I try to drink at least one 500ml bottle of water a day but could do with increasing it to a litre at least.

  • Radwa says:

    Hi Crystal. Good tips. Thank you. I vote a hundred times for good restful quality sleep. I have seen people waking up cranky, going through the day feeling depressed and exhausted, and complaining about being forgetful. And I always knew 100% that they needed more sleep. I wish everyone morw and more deep nourishing love in the form of good sleep so that they are beaming with love and sunshine throughout their day, feeling strong and alive, feeling their best, beaming with laughter and sunshine. Amen.

  • Four words for you Crystal: HOW DO YOU SLEEP?? That’s my question to you, haha! When I see all you do and offer here, not to mention your personal obligations, how do you do it? Do you have a post on “How to Stop Thinking About Things You Have to do While Trying to Fall Asleep”? 🙂 At Latina Wife and Mom Life, I talk to Toddler Moms (like myself), who have forgotten to prioritize self-care. And I have never mentioned sleep in a single post, now that I think of it. I just haven’t figured that one out myself.

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