While it’s undeniably true that the hours you work and the amount of sleep you get contribute to your energy levels, energy is derived as much from your emotional wellbeing as it is from external sources.
By all means make sure you’re eating the right foods, getting enough exercise and taking care of your wellbeing in all of the obvious ways, but you might also want to try the following suggestions to improve your energy levels.
1. Stand up for yourself
Become aware of the relationships that leave you feeling drained. If you notice that you feel powerless in those relationships, it might be time to change the dynamic.
Try standing up for yourself in a calm and assertive way. Feel comfortable to set boundaries or to say no to some requests.
2. Connect with nature, even if you spend most of your time indoors
There’s loads of research that tells us we do much better when we spend time in nature. Patients in hospitals with a view of nature heal faster than those without, people who work in offices with windows get sick less frequently and a recent study of elderly people found that those who don’t venture outside are more prone to depression.
Try to get into nature at least several times each week. Even if you can’t get outside, brain scans have shown that looking at images of natural environments can lower your stress levels. Use a screensaver of a beautiful natural scene or put a bunch of flowers or pot plant on your desk.
3. Spend time alone if you’re an introvert (or with others if you’re extroverted)
If you’re an introvert, spending too much time in the company of others will deplete you. If you’re extroverted, the opposite may be true.
For most of us, it’s about striking the right balance. We all need time with the right kind of people. They’re usually the ones who make us feel good about ourselves and don’t feel the need to compete with or contradict us.
Learn to tune in to your capacity for socialising. If you do better one-on-one, reduce your big group gatherings. If you work with people all day, schedule some time alone or if you’re often on your own at work, you may want to make a point of being more social.
4. Learn to accept your flaws
One of the biggest energy drainers is self-criticism. Learn to catch the negative chatter in your brain and turn this to kindness.
The greatest sense of emotional freedom is achieved when you can learn to be at one with who you are, including your flaws. Remember that none of us are perfect –some people might be better at hiding it than others, but at the end of the day we’re all simply doing the best that we can.
We live in a culture that tells us that winning (or at the very least, finishing) is everything. In some cases, quitting or admitting you’ve made a wrong choice takes as much courage as hanging in there.
If you’ve tried everything to improve your work situation or an important relationship and your instinct tells you it really is time to let it go, maybe it’s time to listen.