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I’m all about flourishing both inside AND out and lately I’ve been making RAISING MY ENERGY LEVELS a key focus. I found that while in my mind I would be motivated and rearing to go and make my dreams happen, my body didn’t always follow suit! I would want to wake up at 6am and hit the ground running but my body wanted to stay in bed and snuggle under the cosy duvet. By mid-afternoon I would be flagging. My one cup of coffee a day would turn to two, then three. Insomnia would creep in. Followed by late starts and groggy mornings. Not a good direction to be heading in!

I realised that if I really wanted to FLOURISH, I needed the ENERGY to do so!

Do you ever feel like you’re lacking energy? I’m sure you do! And as I write this post, we’re heading towards the end of winter in England. The first signs of spring are starting to appear and I’m ready to come out of hibernation, hopefully filled with energy and vitality!

So I made the decision to consciously make changes to improve my energy levels.

I’m all for simple and uncomplicated. Once something becomes too complex, I simply don’t do it. What sort of small changes could I make to increase my energy levels?

Well, as with most things, the answers are pretty obvious! There were three key areas I knew I needed to work on if I wanted to have more energy and those three key areas are sleep, diet and exercise.

Not exactly breaking news eh?!

And yet these three key areas are so ultra important to maintaining optimal health and wellbeing. So I decided to look at these 3 core areas and identify just 3 things in each that I could do to raise my energy levels. That’s a total of NINE things I could immediately start implementing to move the needle in the right direction. Here’s what I came up with!

Sleep

This is first on my list for good reason! I tend to go through phases of insomnia and it’s not fun at all. All it takes is one sleepless night to throw me off track and have me dragging myself through the day. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people that can get away with 4 hours sleep every night and be bright and chirpy all day. I need my 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well rested the next day! And not just sleep, but good quality sleep. As I said, the answers are usually glaringly obvious, I knew what mistakes I was making and what I needed to do to fix them. The three changes I decided to make with regards to getting better quality sleep every night were:

  1. go to sleep earlier and try to do this around the same time each night: many times I would go to bed well after midnight for no good reason (and then wonder why I can’t get out of bed the next morning!)
  2. no screens for at least two hours before bed: the light from the screens really does play havoc with getting a proper night’s sleep; I swapped my habit of looking at my phone before bed with reading a book instead
  3. ensure my bedroom was as dark as possible at night: and this really was an easy fix – the curtains we had before let the light from outside in, so especially in summer, we’d have light flooding in at an unearthly hour each morning and until very late into the night – I simply replaced them with blacked out curtains – problem solved!

All easy fixes, right? It’s just a matter of disciplining yourself to make the changes you know will benefit you. These seemingly small changes have already started having a positive effect on my sleep quality. Sure, I fall off the bandwagon sometimes and stay up late, or go on my phone but I always make a concerted effort to get back on track again.

Next up:

Diet

Again, the endless sea of information out there on the gazillion diets we should be trying is just too much for me… I boiled it down to my need to simply eat what’s good for me and to listen to my body. I know that eating a bowl of oats porridge is a better choice that a sugary donut for breakfast. I know that six cups of coffee a day is not going to do me any favours. I know that heaping my plate with carbs every day is a bad idea. I just needed to make conscious decisions about my eating, make healthy choices as much as possible. I have actually never counted calories in my life, even that’s too complex for me, ha! The three changes I decided to make in relation to my diet were:

  1. reduce my portions of food at dinner time: I have always had a very bad habit of heaping ridiculous amounts of carbs on my plate – and then being full halfway through but not want to waste the rest, so end up finishing it!
  2. focus on gut health: I’m taking baby steps here but am currently incorporating fermented foods into my diet, taking probiotic supplements etc. Getting your gut into good shape can have a tremendously positive effect on your life – watch this space for how I get on!
  3. eat as much whole food (and as little processed food) as possible: for example, lunch would almost always be a sandwich (carbs again arghh!), now I make a point to instead have a salad with plenty of good things in it, or a fresh soup.

As I consciously think about what I am going to fuel my body with instead of stuffing whatever is convenient into my mouth, I find that most of what I used to do was simply habit, doing things on autopilot. By consciously putting a decent sized portion of food on my plate at dinner time, I find I feel completely satiated afterwards. I actually like fermented foods but never really bought them simply because it’s not something I was in the habit of doing (except sauerkraut which I grew up eating). And then I do like whole healthy foods, salads etc but always used to gravitate towards carbs first because they were the quick, easy and let’s admit it, often the tasty option!

So, this journey I’m on to a healthier, more energetic me is more about conditioning my mind to think in healthier, more energetic ways, and align my actions with those thoughts. 

And lastly,

Exercise

And this too, is a biggie. If you want to be more energetic, you’ve simply got to MOVE your body more! Over the last year or two, my exercise routine slowly evaporated and it’s therefore no wonder my energy levels dropped. I like to run outside but I’m a ‘warm weather runner’ as they say, which isn’t the best option when you live in England! With winter coming to end though, I’ll be back running outside, for at least thirty minutes every day. Ok, at least three times a week for a start! In the area of exercise, my three chosen changes were:

  1. to incorporate daily stretching e.g. yoga: I get a lot of tension in my body and stretching is key to loosening those tight muscles
  2. to aim for thirty minutes of high intensity exercise every day: whether that’s a power walk or run outside, or a workout at home or in the gym
  3. make daily meditation a habit: not sure if this counts as exercise (!) but as I’d like to incorporate breathing exercises into it, maybe it does! Both work wonders

So, that’s NINE things I’ve started doing in those three key areas to get my energy levels up again. The great thing is that these three key areas are like three giant puzzle pieces that fit together to form a whole. Ramping up my exercise will help me get good quality sleep. It will also encourage me to make healthy food choices. And getting good quality sleep will give me the energy to want to exercise!

See how it all fits together?

I’ll be posting updates on how I’m doing in my quest for more energy, so stay tuned!

Do you have any top tips for raising your energy levels?