o you spring out of bed every morning, full of energy and ready to tackle your passions? Not so much? Maybe you figure that some are simply blessed with a robust sense of vitality… and others (like you) just aren’t. Perhaps you think vibrancy is for the young and that you simply lose it with age…
Good news: you’re wrong. 😉
Anyone can decide to cultivate more physical energy and increase a daily sense of vitality. That get-up-and-go feeling comes from quite a complex interworking of your body’s systems, as well as chemical, electro-magnetic, mental, and environmental considerations. This is great news! Because it means you have numerous easy ways you can amp your vitality and energy levels when you consciously engage any of these many contributing factors.
So if you’re ready to step outside your normal routine and engage some fun new (and maybe even a bit odd) ideas, you too can experience that enviable verve you see in toddlers on a playground and tireless hikers on the trail.
Here are our tried-and-true vitality boosting tips, including both quick boosts and lifestyle changes, to get your mojo flowing again…
If you energy dips during the day, you can bring it back up in just a few minutes with one of these strategies.
Give yourself an ear massage.
Your ears are absolutely packed with acupressure points and a quick massage can help get your qi flowing, releasing tension in your head and neck and restoring your energy. The technique is super simple. Start by rubbing your hands together to warm them up, then place your hands against your ears. Now simply grasp your ears and begin gently pulling them out from your head. Next, you can pinch various parts of your ear between your thumb and forefinger and wiggle your fingers. As long as you’re gentle, you can’t really do it wrong!
Get a blast of fresh air.
Have you ever gotten a little sleepy while driving and rolled down your car window to blast yourself with fresh air? Same principle here, go where the air is fresh and take some deep breaths to get some extra oxygen flowing through your body.
Take a coffee nap.
If you need a big boost of energy and you’ve got 20 minutes a cup of coffee handy, you can take what’s called a “coffee nap.” Drink a cup of coffee and then immediately take a 20 minute nap. While you sleep, your body will clear out a chemical called adenosine, which was making you feel sleepy in the first place. This same chemical blocks caffeine absorption, so when you wake up from your cat nap, the caffeine is just kicking in and can more easily bind with your body’s receptors, thus making you feel far more alert than you would have with just a nap or coffee alone.
Lifestyle changes to give you more energy
Some tweaks to your everyday way of doing things can have a huge impact on your energy level.
Get more sleep
One of the most powerful ways your body can restore itself is through proper sleep. Unfortunately, our busy modern lives and our fancy digital devices make the right quantity and quality of sleep hard to attain. This comes at a high cost, as sleep deprivation is linked to things like obesity, depression and even car crashes.
According to the CDC, 35% of adults don’t get enough sleep, and the current minimum recommendation is just seven hours per night. We think that’s actually low. Back in the early twentieth century, the average American got 9 hours of sleep every night. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
Making sleep a high priority can work wonders on so many areas of our lives, including health and wellbeing. To start getting more zzzs, take the following steps to create a routine that helps promote better sleep. (Experts call this “sleep hygiene”):
- Exercise early in the day. Strenuous exercise late at night tends to make sleeping more difficult.
- Let there be light. Get plenty of exposure to natural light during the day and keep your lighting dimmer in the evenings so your brain can tell day from night.
- Dim those devices. In the early evening, switch your device to a nighttime mode that dims the screen and turn off your digital devices 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Get your buzz on early. Drink your coffee or other caffeinated beverage of choice early in the day to avoid sleep interference. (We know you don’t think it’s a problem but denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.)
- Don’t have another. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. While a drink or two may help you fall asleep initially, it messes up your sleep later in the night when your liver has to start processing it.
- Time your dinner. Don’t eat a big meal too close to bedtime. Again, your digestive processes can make sleep more difficult, and too much of certain types of food can give you heartburn.
- Take a “meat pill” before bed. Some functional nutrition experts recommend a bedtime snack of a bit of protein and fat to help balance blood sugars during the night and support sleep. If you’re on a plant-based diet, it doesn’t have to actually be meat, any small amount of protein will do.
- Use CBD! CBD has been shown to help the body regulate sleep cycles. You can take a hemp cbd oil tincture sublingually before bed.
- Relax in the evening. Just before bed, take a warm bath and then curl up with good book.
- Keep your bedroom temperature cool. Somewhere between 60-65 degrees is optimal.
Try Kundalini yoga
Now that you’ve given your body the proper rest it deserves, let’s get the energy within you flowing. Kundalini yoga is a style that’s designed to unlock your hidden energy potential. Practitioners believe that the poses help energy move through the body and remove any internal blocks that may be making us feel lethargic. Kundalini yoga combines breathwork, postures, mantras and body locks to help balance our internal systems, bust stress and restore vibrancy. Try starting with a simple morning routine like this one.
Check your diet
Often when we eat a food that doesn’t agree with our constitution, the body responds by getting sluggish, since it’s devoting so much energy to digestion. Common problematic foods include: Grains, legumes, sugars, dairy and food additives such as sulfites, nitrates and carrageenan. Consider doing an elimination diet to figure out what foods are doing you more harm than good by sapping your energy.
Another method to restore balance and vitality to the body is through acupuncture and massage. Acupuncture is a centuries old technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine and more and more studies by western researchers confirm its effectiveness in treating a variety of ailments. Acupuncture works by stimulating points on the body, usually with itty bitty needles, but also with cupping, heat, liniments and massage. The idea is to free up blocked vital energy, or qi, and help restore balance to the body.
These days most of us spend most of our time indoors with artificial light and stale air. This environment can increase stagnation and stuck energy in your body. Scientific evidence shows that regular trips out-of-doors to natural places have the ability to make us healthier, happier and feel more of a zest for life.
So, there you go: both long and short term strategies to help you feel more vital and live your best life. Because you don’t have to settle for feeling sluggish.