Two of the biggest ways you can influence your energy is through regular healthy sleep and a nutrient-rich diet. But what else can you do to feel more energized?
Between work, relationships, obligations, and self care, it can be easy to feel like your tank is on empty. While you can’t mitigate all of these factors, relying on these seven key ways to feel more energized–even if just the slightest bit–can make all the difference.
How to Feel More Energized
These 7 key ways to boost energy are a great place to start when looking to make a change in your daily approach.
- Go outside.
- Focus on your breath.
- Do something you love.
- Phone (or text) a friend.
- Sweat it out.
- Quit smoking.
- Stop dieting.
1. Go outside.
A 2019 study found that spending 20 minutes or more outside in nature decreased cortisol and helped reduce energy-zapping stress (21 to 30 minutes was the sweet spot!). A series of 2010 studies found that a 15-minute walk outside helped people feel “more alive” and boosted energy. Try taking a short walk when that mid-afternoon slump hits.
2. Focus on your breath.
When we’re stressed, our breath tends to give it away. Instead of breathing deep into the belly, our breath stays shallow and in our chest — requiring more energy and delivering less oxygen. When we breathe from the belly (called diaphragmatic breathing), we regulate our nervous system and reduce our stress response. Next time you feel stress draining your energy, place a hand on your belly and focus on deepening your breath.
3. Do something you love.
The idea of using our free time for things we enjoy fell out of vogue around the same time we saw burnout levels rise. However, taking up a hobby or using your “free” time for something enjoyable (not cleaning, caring for kids, or your side hustle) has all sorts of positive health benefits that could boost energy. Remember: You have to fill your own cup first, and spending an hour reading or 15 minutes gardening can help you do just that!
4. Phone (or text) a friend.
Connecting with supportive friends can help you reduce the intensity of feelings that drain your energy, including pain, sadness, and anger according to research. (Therapy can also have the same effect, as it provides space to vocalize your feelings.) Next time you feel drained from the weight you’re carrying, reach out to a trusted friend for a quick chat. (Journaling can have the same effect.)
5. Sweat it out.
Exercise does require energy, and it can feel draining at first. But the more you do it, the more you’ll see what an awesome ROI you get energetically. (Hello, endorphin boost!) You don’t need to take up kickboxing or train for a marathon, either. Walking (maybe with a friend to get the added benefit from sharing your feelings), yoga, and hiking all count. The best workouts are the ones you actually enjoy doing.
6. Quit smoking.
Nicotine is addictive, but every cigarette and vape is robbing you of valuable energy — not to mention oxygen. While quitting is hard, kicking the habit is one of the best things you can do for your health.
7. Stop dieting.
While fueling your body with healthy food will boost your energy levels, focusing on an overly restrictive diet will do the opposite. When you let go of dieting, you free up so much time and energy. Think about it: How long does it take you to prep every meal, count every macro, and worry about every ounce on your plate — or on the scale. Unlearning diet culture can be a long process, so enlist the help of a dietitian or therapist to help free up that space and energy for better use. And, feeling hungry all the time will definitely impact your energy levels.
If you’re looking for additional ways to feel more energized and to deal with some of the stressors in your life, take a look at these other posts:
- 6 Natural Energy Boosters Without Caffeine
- Beat the Winter Blues: Mood and Energy Boosters
- How to Overcome Stress in 5 Minutes or Less