7 Ways To Be More Energetic When You Don’t Want To Be

7 Ways To Be More Energetic When You Don’t Want To Be

Don’t you just hate when you get up just dragging?  I know I do.  It makes me angry, actually.  Because, like you, I don’t have time for it.

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But I also know that being angry will just deplete my energy further.  Causing a vicious cycle that, well, none of us have time for.

And sometimes when feeling tired, it’s tough to find the motivation to get un-tired.  Sometimes you just feel like you’re banging your head against the wall of motivation to begin with, no?

Or is it just me.

At least according to the folks I know well, we’ve all been there.  If you haven’t, I’d love to hear from you!

The CDC reported that women were more likely than men to feel very tired, or even exhausted, regularly.  Women ages 18-44 were nearly twice as likely as men to feel very tired or exhausted.  Interestingly (and I bet we can figure out why!), this gap lessens as we age, and no differences by sex were seen in persons aged 64-74 or those over age 75.    

Yes, it’s true.  But before we think we’re out of luck, ways exist to get us out of that cycle and back to feeling better.

Of course, we’re starting from the standpoint that nothing physical is wrong with you.  We all know getting good sleep, eating right, drinking enough water, etc., are the foundations, so that’s not what I’m talking about, per se.  We take those as givens 🙂

So how can we find more energy?  Let’s dive in.

  1.  First of all, dissect the problem.  This can be as simple as having a lot of lingering to-dos on your list.  You know, the toilet keeps running or the sink leaking (which mine is now!).  

“A one-time stressful event can impact energy short-term, but it’s all those little nagging unfinished tasks – I call them ‘NUTS’ – that hang around that wear you out over time,” explains Michael Roizen, M.D., author of You: The Owner’s Manual.  

Who knew that low-grade chronic stress can cause your body to constantly produce stress hormones, such as cortisol, that increase blood pressure, age your arteries, and weaken your immune system, and age you by 32 years, Roizen’s research shows.

The Solution to this is easy, no?  Call the plumber.

But more to the point, take that to-do list, prioritize it, and start crossing off the tasks that are bringing you the most stress.

  1. Next, examine whether you’re scattering your energies throughout the day.

We hear about this a lot these days, no?  How by being “super-connected,” we’re actually just multi-tasking, which we know dramatically decreases productivity.

But a new study at the University of Sussex really hit me between the eyes.  The constant interruption of multi-tasking brings on higher levels of stress as well.  Apparently, the cognitive overload dulls our brains and reaction times.  This study showed that it actually damages our brains!  Yikes.  They found that people who regularly do so have lower brain density in the area of the brain responsible for empathy, cognitive control, and emotional control.

Quadruple yikes!

The Solution is clear, right?  Stop the multi-tasking.  Take one task at a time and finish it to your best ability.  Then go on to something else.  The energy rewards are huge.  And your brain will certainly thank you!

  1.  But what if you need a quick fix right now?  It’s easier than you think.

The Solution: Pop a mint.   The aroma of mint ups alertness by stimulating your trigeminal nerve.  Which is “the same nerve that’s activated by smelling salts,” says Alan Hirsch, M.D.,  director of Chicago’s Smell and Taste and Research Foundation.

What I like even better is taking a deep whiff of my peppermint essential oil.  The effect truly is immediate.  And I’m instantly more energetic.

Another quick fix is to eat a banana.  Bananas provide potassium, which is a key mineral to converting blood sugar to energy, says Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

  1. In case of yes, we have no bananas!  Or mints.  Or any other ingestible but healthy items, you’re not home to meet the repairman, the phone keeps ringing, emails keep coming in, you’re running ragged . . .

The Solution: Stop.  Turn everything off.  Lock the door.  (I promise, the world won’t go to hell in a handbasket if you take a few minutes.) And do a mini-meditation.  Breathe slow and deeply.

Bruce O’Hara, associate professor of biology at the University of Kentucky,   said,  

“We found that meditation was the only intervention that immediately led to superior performance, even though none of the volunteers were experienced at meditation. Every single student who meditated showed improvement. Why it improves performance, we don’t know.”

It sounds simple. And it is.

  1. But what if you have a lot of problems staring at you?  I don’t mean the plumbing kind here, but those that go to our cores, such as with spouses, children, family, and friends. Or losing weight.  Or any those chronic issues that just bug us.

We all have conflicts, no?   And those are usually the biggest energy drains of all.

So what’s a person to do?

The Solution: Walk away.  No, not from your family!  But from the non-decision part of the equation.

If you’re constantly in a push/pull of what to do or not to do, the result of the back and forth is absolutely exhausting.  And obsessing about it will drain you to the core.  As my friends can tell you, this is a demon I know 🙂  

At this point, any decision will release you—even the decision to not make a decision!  Sometimes tabling a problem is the best path.  And funny thing, you’ll come back to it later with much more energy—and the best solution will rise like cream to the top.

  1. Quit beating yourself up.

     Man, women are just the world champions at this.  “If I’da only done this . . .”  “If I wouldn’t have done that.”  “This is where I failed . . .”

I hear this every day.  And while yes, if you miss the mark, dissecting why is a good way to change your behavior in the future.

But only if you come to that understanding, and then stop the self-flaggalation.  Just don’t go there.

The Solution:  Do your best and let it go.  Sing the silly Disney song—it’s a great way to make yourself laugh, and to remember to do just that.   And oh, all the energy that’s freed up!

  1. Assuring energy for tomorrow.  How can we best do that?

You know, the funniest thing—I hear from women literally all the time who have had amazing days.  Gotten an enormous amount done.  Been truly wonderful women in their worlds.

And often, they’re stuck on # 5!  But we’ve already dealt with that.

So, what’s the best way to wake up energized?

The Solution: Pat yourself on the back before going to sleep.

In other words, instead of going over that litany of ills from the day, of the things you didn’t get accomplished, of the outrageous to-do list for tomorrow, instead, remember the good deeds you did this day. What you did accomplish (even if it was remaining upright!).

You—even you!—got something good done this day.

Remind yourself of that.  Focus on what worked.  Give yourself credit for a job well done.

I’m so fond of this anonymous quote:  No one but you knows how hard you work, how many hours you put in the behind the scenes. Rely on yourself for approval, not the outside world.”

These are just a few ways for how to be energetic.  I’d love to know what works for you!

This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. Great suggestions, Susan! Another that really works for me is music—turn on the good tunes, and as long as they’re upbeat, I’m feeling more energy within minutes. Of course, nothing beats a good night’s sleep!

    1. I love that, Colleen! I was actually thinking I should have added: Rocking out with music you love! Great minds run the same course 🙂

  2. Inspiring post! I love that you mentioned recognize what you have done that day before you go to bed. I like to write tasks down that weren’t on my to do list. It helps me realize what was completed and it is easier for me to say, “OK – I did something today and that’s great.”

  3. I don’t mean to be trite here & hopefully, it is humorous, but it is true, Given I am not a worrier, anything that is good fuel to drain my energy I pass over to my hubby who is a master worrier & OCD. He can clear my todo list of those pesky things.
    Again, not to be contrary but some multi-tasking is harmless, like scrolling emails to delete while listening to your friends daily drama.
    On the other hand, I always awoke with boundless energy & had to function from 7am – midnight. Still do but some mornings I don’t jump out of bed or I could profit from a power nap, of which I am a champion. I have my days where my energy level is not in its usual place & I’m starting to watch for ‘why’ clues.

    1. LOL, Roz! I love that you pass worry over to your hubby! What a novel idea 🙂

  4. This is an excellent reminder for me. Especially during an exhausting day like today. I feel like women also need to gently remind themselves that self care does NOT mean that you are selfish. It’s healthy and very necessary.

    1. Absolutely, Kristina–if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of anyone else. Great point!

  5. Ok I am off to search for mint. I keep reading how impactful it can be, so time for a pick me up.

  6. Some great tips, Susan. Of course, you know I love the peppermint essential oil suggestion. Also, for me, prayer helps. Another thing to keep in mind is your diet. Processed food makes one sluggish.

    1. Figured the peppermint essential oil would tweak you, Carol 🙂 And yes on prayer and also on diet!

  7. These are great ideas.I had no idea about the mint or the banana but I love both and often reach for them, especially in the afternoon, so maybe I knew subconsciously.Giving yourself a little pat on the back at the end of the day is wonderful advice.

    1. I love that you honor what your body asks for in the afternoon, Tamuria! You intuitively knew to reach for that banana or mint. Love that!

  8. Great points, but I would add that you should also make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, especially sleep before the midnight hour. Sleeping between 10 and 1 is more beneficial than later sleep for restoration and detoxification. Also, if it is an energy drain an a regular basis, it might be worth getting checked out by a physician or someone like me who can have labs run on your steroid hormones to see what is happening to your adrenal function.

    1. All good ideas, Karen! I’m coming from the standpoint that all of these are in line 🙂 And isn’t all the research about sleeping times interesting! I’ve been seeing that as well. Our bodies are such wonderful machines 🙂

  9. I agree with Karen, sleep is probably my #1 source of energy. Eating clean also gives you energy and helps you maintain it. I like the pat on the back, I think I’ll start doing that instead of reprimanding myself for not accomplish a task.

    1. So true, Sara. If you don’t get enough sleep, not much of anything works! And isn’t eating clean just a game changer. Try the pat on the back–it really works. Your mind is active during sleep, and we want to put positive thoughts in it before doing so. It makes a huge difference!

  10. Now that is interesting – I didn’t know about the mint or banana but for do on the meditation. I have that one on my list of little rituals that will reconnect me within out of my head or thinking, worrying…or if I am physically doing to much. Getting in a body space of meditation, exercise, even a bubble bath….with nice music of course. This can relax and then voila – an idea pops up that solves the problem that may have been getting us so darned overwhelmed in the first place. And to have those mints and bananas around is a great quick fix too. Love those and list of what I did accomplish is great too. Thanks for a great article!

    1. So true, Teresa! Anything that gets us out of our heads works. As Einstein said, you can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it. So tabling that monkey mind with mediation, exercise, bubble baths, and music, as you mentioned, really works! Great tips!

  11. What works for me is taking a moment in the bathroom, no light on but a lit candle with complete silence. It just works!

    1. Absolutely, Debbie-Jean! And I love your creativity–we can all find that silence somewhere, even on the most chaotic days. Great idea!

  12. All excellent points. I have several solutions: Take a break; go outside and enjoy my environment. Step away from whatever the problem is and focus on something else. Generally, the solution will present itself when I’m not focused on it. When it comes to doing tasks, I make myself do just one more thing before I shut down for the night. That puts me ahead of the next day’s list and I feel good about myself.

    1. All great solutions, Jackie! Taking a walk in nature with my furr kids always clears my mind too, and is so energizing! Anything to quiet that chaotic mind for a bit 🙂

  13. Intellectually I do know most of these wise and wonderful tips you share, Susan! On a practical “who and how I am” level, not so easy. My nervous system is very keen and even a little bit of stress these days, seems to ignite me and I’m flying into the stratosphere. And of course as we know, it can be good, or bad stress. I’ve been working very hard not to multi-task, and yet it is my style and suits me. I trust the things that show up for me and when they are important, I listen and do them. When I push things that might not be pressing to the side, I have a hard time letting them go, until they are done. I think of all of these, the “doing your best and letting it go”, is my most challenging. I often wish I had someone to take the mundane daily tasks and do them for me! Thanks for the reminder Susan to stop and reassess what’s important in my life and to keep calm, cool and collected. My adrenals will love me for it. Like Roslyn, we air signs just seem to move through the world a little bit differently and the nature of air, is flit from here to there and back again.

    1. I have to say, you air signs are different! Flitting is part of your nature 🙂 And I do believe in trusting what shows up and if important, doing it. I can actually have the opposite problem–something shows up, and I look at it from 7 different angles before acting. LOL.
      I love the idea of creating someone to do the mundane tasks. Wouldn’t that be so freeing! Figure out that program, Beverley, and I’m sure we’d all buy it!

  14. Susan – Love the post. Regarding the tactics of stopping & meditating – they’ve found that when nurses who are at the apex of overload take 5 quiet minutes, it leads to patient safety. Fewer med errors, fewer patient falls, etc. It’s just so true – the people who think they can’t possibly take a break are the ones who absolutely should.

    1. Wow, I love that about nurses, Joan! It makes sense, but how cool to have that documented. Thank you for sharing that!

  15. Hi Susan 🙂
    Great post! It is so important to just stop and reflect on why you have no energy and find ways to help yourself during those times. Meditation is a great idea to quiet your mind and get clear about finding the right solution….I know for me, exercise works for me to help me with clarity 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!! Great post!

    1. Exercise works for me too, Joan! It both keeps my mind clear, and conversely helps that old monkey mind to settle down. Couple that with meditation, and the result keeps me on track 🙂

  16. Hi Susan! I typically have a lot of energy. Not sure if it’s because of all the vitamins I take, my daily meditation or my getting lots of sunshine and fresh air every day, but every now and then I do enjoy taking a little siesta in the afternoon. I do believe that different seasons affect us all as well. I think your advice to avoid multi-tasking is critical. ~Kathy

    1. You take such good care of yourself, Kathy! And isn’t the new science on multi-tasking interesting. Really got my attention!

  17. This is a wonderful post, thank you for sharing! I had no idea about mints stimulating the trigeminal nerve! Such great information!

    1. Isn’t that part about mints just amazing, Jennifer!

  18. Energy isn’t usually my issue.. I have the energy.. I just struggle with the balance.

    1. Balance can be a bear, can’t it, Kristen. That ever-present ying-yang of life!

  19. Love the mind idea best of all. Probably explains my addiction to York Peppermint Patties! Hve to admit I always feel better and more energized after one, two, three … But, I think it’s time to switch over to real peppermint leaves or the essential oil.

    1. I remember Peppermint Patties! Haven’t thought of those in years 🙂 Thank you, Joyce!

  20. loved your post, it is very inspiring and motivating. So true that at the end of the day, reminding our self what we have accomplished will energize you to do more the next day. Thanks for sharing. Great Read.

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