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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

15 Ways to Have More Energy (Part 2)

15 Ways to Have More Energy

Here are three more ways to have more energy (Missed the first three? Find them here.):

4. Eat Well

Food is your body’s fuel. If you’re mostly fueling yourself with donuts, candy bars, and carbonated beverages, that is probably the reason you’re feeling lethargic.

I recently read Energy Explosion (a quick and very practical read, by the way) and I loved the author’s encouragement to start each meal with protein and produce. Fill up on good fresh fruits and veggies and protein first, before eating sugars, fats, and carbs. This will not only give you more energy, but it will probably also help you more easily shed any extra pounds you’re carrying around.

I’ve found it helpful to make raw fruits and veggies really accessible. If I have a big bag of carrot sticks pre-washed and chopped in the fridge, fresh fruit already cut up, and eggs already hard-boiled, I have a lot fewer excuses for not grabbing a healthful snack or for not filling up on good foods at lunchtime instead of reaching for breads or sweets.

It’s completely okay to have some breads and sweets, but make sure that your diet is primarily made up of protein, fruits, and veggies. I find it helpful to track what I eat on SparkPeople to help me make sure I’m eating a balanced diet.

5. Take Vitamins

I used to be one of those people who felt like you could get all the nutrition your body needs from food alone. But my husband encouraged me to start taking a high-quality multi-vitamin and fish oil on a daily basis and I’ve been amazed at the difference that I’ve felt.

I encourage you to try taking a high-quality multi-vitamin for three months and see if you feel any difference. If you don’t, at least you know you’re not hurting anything to be getting some extra vitamins and minerals. 🙂

In addition, I would recommend scheduling an appointment with your doctor to have routine bloodwork done to see if there are other vitamins or nutrients you’re deficient in. It’s very possible that your lack of energy is due to anemia or some other vitamin deficiency you’re experiencing and simply adding some additional vitamins or supplements might make a major difference.

6. Refill Your Tank on a Regular Basis

In Leading on Empty, the author talks about making a list of things that refill your tank and things that deplete your tank. And then he encourages you to look at your week and make sure that you aren’t lop-sided in your activities (i.e. only engaging in activities that deplete you and never taking time for things that energize you).

What will energize you versus deplete will be different for each and every person. Since I tend to be more of an introvert, I’m energized and refueled by quiet: reading a good book, watching a movie with my husband, writing, or even cleaning.

I also find that a change in scenery can do wonders for me. Getting out of the house and going grocery shopping, taking the children to the park, chucking the schedule for an afternoon and playing board games or meeting a friend for a playdate, can often be just the ticket I need to recharge my batteries.

Make a list of things that refill your tank and then make sure you are engaging in those activities on a regular basis. If not, you’re going to run around trying to survive on fumes — and that’s a surefire way to constantly feel zapped of energy.

…To be continued tomorrow.

photo courtesy of BigStock

15 Ways to Have More Energy (Part 3)

15 Ways to Have More Energy

We’ve been talking about ways to have more energy this week. If you missed the first two posts in this series, read them here.

Here are three more ways to have more energy:

7. Set Goals

Without goals, you have no real purpose for going through your days. If you’re aiming at nothing, you’re not going to feel inspired, motivated, or driven. Goals give you momentum, passion for life, and a reason to wake up every morning excited about what lies ahead of you.

Good goals need to be specific, measurable, and realistic. I find it’s helpful to break big goals down into simple bite-sized pieces. Instead of setting a goal to read a book in one week, I’ll set a goal to read 2-3 chapters each day — enough to easily finish the book in a week.

By breaking my goals down into smaller chunks, it makes them much more manageable and doable — and I usually end up following through with more of them that way, too!

If you don’t have goals, start with something simple. At the beginning of the week, pick one or two small goals to accomplish, write them down, and then break them down into smaller pieces — and work on knocking them out little by little.

You’ll probably be amazed at how much more zest for life you’ll have when you actually have a destination in mind and a plan to get there. And you just might find that your renewed zeal for life helps you attack all of life with more energy and excitement!

8. Go To Bed Early

If you’re a night owl, you’re already shaking your head and skipping over this one. And it might not work for you.

For me personally, though, going to bed early on a consistent basis really helps me to feel more rested. When I feel more rested, I’m naturally much more energetic and cheerful. Rather than dragging through each day trying to keep my eyes open with toothpicks, I’m meeting the day with gusto.

I’ve found that I can’t commit to going to bed at 9 p.m. every single night, but if I aim to go to bed at 9 p.m., I’m much more likely to be in bed close to 10 p.m. It doesn’t always happen and I usually have one or two nights per week when I’m up past 11 p.m., but I rarely every stay up much past 11 p.m. — that’s really late for me! 🙂

As a result, I get more sleep — and I’m able to get up early most mornings, something that gives me a huge headstart on the day.

If you’d like to start going to bed earlier but you just feel like it’s not possible, sit down and really think through what your hindrances are. Do you need to cut out some of your evening activities or just turn off the TV or computer earlier? Do you need to eat dinner earlier and start your bedtime routine right after dinner?

For those of you who want to go to bed earlier but can’t seem to fall asleep much earlier than midnight, try getting up really early for two or three days in a row, plus adding some exercise into your schedule. You’ll probably find that by the second or third day, you’re starting to feel tired by 10 p.m.

And by the way, if you can at all help it: go to bed when you first start to feel drowsy at night. Don’t wait for your second wind to kick in. Just go to bed — you’ll be glad you did in the morning!

9. Make the Most of Your Mornings

What you do in the first two hours of your morning sets the tone for your whole day.

If you drag yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze button eight times, stumble into the kitchen, turn on your laptop or phone and waste 45 minutes trying to wake yourself up, you’re not setting yourself up for a day of success.

Think about what five things you’d really like to do in the same order each morning, write these down, and commit to getting up and doing them every single morning for the next three weeks.

It will be hard to follow your five things morning routine at first, but stick with it and it will pay off. I promise!

Making the most of your mornings will give you momentum for the rest of your day!

{And by the way, for those of you moms out there who are already feeling defeated because your mornings are so unpredictable when you have little people underfoot: don’t feel badly if you don’t always do all five things perfectly in the same order every day for three weeks. Life happens and perfection is impossible. Do the best you can do and remember that making progress in the right direction — even if it seems like microscopic progress — is still moving in the right direction!}

…To be continued tomorrow.

photo courtesy of BigStock

15 Ways to Have More Energy (Part 4)

15 Ways to Have More Energy

We’ve been talking about ways to have more energy this week. If you missed the first two posts in this series, read them here.

10. Laugh Often

It’s well been said, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s amazing how smiling, laughing, and seeing the humorous side of life can just make life more enjoyable — and give you much more zest for life!

We laugh a lot at our house. We laugh at ourselves, we laugh at each other, and we sometimes laugh for seemingly no reason at all — or at least we forgot what it was that we were first laughing about. 🙂

Yes, sometimes we’re just a bit on the crazy side around here — like when Jesse and I decided to create a good night cheer for the kids before bed the other night. We were all pretty much rolling on the floor after our attempts at putting together a cheer with chant, jumps, hand motions, and all. 😉 However, we believe life is meant to be savored — and sometimes being silly just makes it a whole lot more fun!

I’m always on the lookout for a funny story to share with Jesse from something the children say or do. If I find some funny photo or saying on Pinterest, I’ll email it to Jesse or save it to show him when he comes home. And we also love to watch comedy clips or funny movies as a family.

Look for the humor in life — and you’ll probably start to find it just about everywhere!

11. Clear the Clutter

Whether it’s paper clutter, an overloaded email inbox, or lots of stuff in your house that you don’t love and use, clutter can drain you, bog you down, and zap your energy and creativity.

Everyone has a different level of clutter tolerance, but if you’re tripping over excess stuff at your house and struggling to find stuff in piles of unopened mail, chances are your home could use a little purging.

Going through my house from top to bottom twice a year and doing a complete clutter overhaul is something that has been extremely effective in helping us keep a handle on clutter. I also find it helpful to ask myself five questions about what I own:

::Do I need this item?
::Do I use this item on a regular basis?
::Do I like this item?
::Is this item taking up space I don’t have?
::Could I bless someone else with this item?

12. Stop Worrying

We can waste precious amounts of time, energy, and thought worrying. And how much of the time do the things we worry about actual come to pass?

Instead of letting yourself just go round and round fretting over what probably never will be, redirect that energy into something positive. Anytime I catch myself worrying, I try to instead pour that energy and time into something more productive: reading, writing, exercising, listening to an audiobook, cleaning, singing, or serving someone else. Most of the time, I quickly forget about what I was worrying about!

As a Christian, I also have made a commitment to pray instead of worry. When I start mulling over something and being concerned or fearful over what might be, I try to remember to refocus my thoughts on what I know to be true: God is in control and He will give me grace for whatever situation comes my way. And then I pray and commit that situation over to Him — and I get busy doing something else that’s much more important and productive than worrying.

…To be continued tomorrow.

photo courtesy of BigStock

15 Ways to Have More Energy (Part 5)

15 Ways to Have More Energy

We’ve been talking about ways to have more energy this week. If you missed the first two posts in this series, read them here.

13. Choose Gratitude

Your attitude can make or break your situation. You can choose to focus on what you don’t have or you can choose to be thankful for what you do have.

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. When you have a thankful, grateful spirit, you’ll automatically have more joy, zest for life, and energy. It’s the natural outflow of gratitude. And not only will you have more energy, but I promise you’ll just plain enjoy and appreciate life a lot more if you choose gratitude.

Struggling to be thankful in the midst of hard circumstances? Try writing down a list of your blessings. As I’ve found, when you start writing down your blessings, you just may have trouble stopping!

14. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s never productive and it’s a great way to waste great amounts of time and energy.

I recently learned this lesson in a very personal way. Here’s a snippet from my post

It hit me anew just how easy it is to want what we don’t have–better hair, better decorating skills, a better personality, more creativity, more spunk… there’s always someone who it seems we’d like to trade places with because they have what we want.

But trading places with someone wouldn’t fix anything; we’d just inherit a new set of things we wish we could change. No one has it altogether. Everyone has struggles and difficulties.

Comparison only leads to discontentment.

We can’t change who we are, but we can make the most of our situation. We can’t choose the personality we are born with, but we can choose to be thankful–even in the midst of difficulty.

And we can choose to be intentional and purposeful in how we live our lives so that we make the most of all that we’ve been given instead of wishing we were someone else.

15. Wrap Your Life Around Things That Matter

When you spend your life dedicated to what really matters, you’ll have so much more energy and excitement for waking up and living each day. I try to ask myself often, “What will matter in 25 years from now?” And then I seek to wrap my life and invest my days into those things.

Live your life with outstretched arms. The more you live for others, the more you step outside your comfort zone, the more you give freely and generously of your resources and time, the more you’ll wake up feeling blessed, motivated, and inspired to life to the fullest!

At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back with a lot of regrets and wistful thinking. I want to give everything I have to this one life I have — because I only get one shot at life!

photo courtesy of BigStock