Re-energizing After a Lay-Off

energyEveryone is familiar with energy drain. Researchers are studying the links between what we eat, how we work and live and how we feel.  There are different kinds of fatigue and different ways to improve your energy level.  How do you know if your low energy is caused by underlying disease or is the result of lifestyle factors, stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or normal aging?

Health – Fatigue, Biological rhythms, Aging, Vitamins, herbs, and supplements

Harvard’s Special Health Report, Boosting Your Energy, provides advice and information. It includes a Special Section: A 7-Step Plan to Jump-Start Your Natural Energy.

Diet – Nutrition, Food, Snacks

There is evidence changing your diet can change your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood.  Research has shown antioxidant-rich whole food diets are the best choice we can make.

mediterranean diet

Antioxidants are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage — the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases.  USDA recommends top 20 best sources of food antioxidants as measured by their total antioxidant capacity per serving size.

Research demonstrates the antioxidant-rich Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet are:

  • Primarily plant-based foods, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables,  whole grains, legumes and nuts;
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil;
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods;
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month;
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week;
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional).

NUTRITION ADVICE: Top Antioxidant Foods

When your energy level is flagging it’s time to fuel your body with a nutritious snack. I shared my 7 favorite energizing snack foods in an  earlier post. I also find Green tea, Oolong  and herbal teas increase energy levels.  I located  Energy Foods Slideshow: A Diet to Boost Your Mood and Energy Level and think its useful.

Exercise, Energy, Stress, Mood

walkingExercise boosts levels of energizing brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. There’s evidence that changing your exercise and stress levels affect both your energy level and mood.

Fortunately, those benefits don’t require spending hours pumping weights in a gym or pounding on a treadmill.   Making mild exercise part of your everyday life, and increasing your heart rate in moderate exercise several times a week, will give help you become more energized and better able to cope with stress.

Exercise improves energy by: increasing muscle mass; increasing the heart’s pumping volume; reducing body fat; lowering fat in the blood such as bad cholesterol; improving the body’s regulation of blood sugar; improving circulation; and boosting mood and mental capacity.yoga

According to research funded in part by the Arthritis Foundation, yoga poses, breathing and relaxation significantly reduce joint tenderness and swelling for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Yoga has also been seen to  reduce symptoms of chronic pain and psychological stress in women with fibromyalgia.

In experiments conducted by Robert Thayer, PhD, at California State University, a brisk 10-minute walk not only increased energy, but the effects lasted up to two hours. When daily 10-minute walks continued for three weeks, overall energy levels and mood were lifted.

When it comes to exercising for me that means working through pain from arthritis and fibromyalgia. I do stretching and yoga asanas daily to help prevent injury, increase my range of motion, reduce stiffness, and reduce pain. Walking  briskly is my 5 days weekly aerobic exercise.  My routines start with a yoga warm-up (asanas and breathing), and then move on to briskly walking with awareness, rhythm, and integrated breathing.

Work Habits

Research suggests a 90-Minute Plan for work projects is the optimal human limit for focusing intensely on any given task. I concentrate for about 40 minutes on a task before I take a break.

sleepNaps

National Institutes of Mental Health found that a 60-minute “power nap” can not only reverse the mind-numbing effects of information overload, it may also help us to better retain what we have learned.  It’s not workable for me as I don’t fall asleep when I try to nap.

Health experts helped compile Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy. Marc and Angel share 50 natural ways to boost your energy.

16 thoughts on “Re-energizing After a Lay-Off

  1. Thanks for this encouraging post. I am having a worse than usual time with fibro-fatigue. The Top 10 at Web MD reminded me that I am not drinking as much water as usual. Time to increase the H2O and see if that will help. Also, the reminder of how stress impacts my fibromyalgia is timely, as I’ve not been at my best with managing stress. You’ve reminded me that ignoring the little steps of self-care leads to a BIG impact in how I feel.

    • Hi there,
      I hope some of these strategies work for you.

      Perhaps stress reduction ought to be at the top of everyone’s re-energizing list. The pace of living is relentless. We are compelled to cram so much “doing” into a day. When we don’t have enough time for balancing that with just being to relax and energize we are imbalanced and become stressed. Stress can trigger flaring of medical conditions and diseases like fibromyalgia and many others too.

      I have also failed to drink enough water from time to time and being well hydrated really makes a difference to my energy level. I fill a carafe every day and make sure I drink it in tea or as is or I add some to my smoothies.

      Best wishes with taking the little steps towards better health and brighter tomorrows. I’m was so happy for you after reading Climbing Back On The Horse That Threw Me http://hearttoharp.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/final-harp-class-climbing-back-on-the-horse-that-threw-me/

  2. This is fascinating information, timethief. Thank you. I see I have a lot to do in certain departments! I definitely experience the benefit of a good nap though. I always wakes up refreshed and rejuvenated.

  3. Timely subject, since I’ve lost some nights of sleep. Not good.
    But to make it better or at least I don’t slide further, I try to cycle nearly daily, even if only short distances during this winter. Cycling is my natural drug since my body does miss it when I don’t do it.

    I know for certain if I watch too much tv., I actually feel worse, not better.

    Most definitely a person’s overall daily diet contributes to their psychological well-being and energy level. I feel sorry for people who aren’t eating well regularily and end up feeling constipated/vaguely unwell. I overheard a work colleague who is overweight by 70 lbs. or so who is trying out gluten-free diet. She declared after only a few days, she felt “intenstinally” healthier. I know the feeling….if I um..am not regular here, I get concerned. I got to make sure my tubing is clear too. :)

    And doing something that taps into one’s natural creativity is helpful. At least for me, it drains away some negativity and rechannels into producing something that I (emphasis here) like, not to please a client/boss/someone else.

    Also talking/sharing with a loved one / friend on the day’s happenings every day is most helpful.

    Hope you’ll be moving better for spring, titi.

    • Dear Jean,
      I’m sad I could not respond to your when I app[roved this comment. I have had so much going on that I feel like the proverbial headless chicken spinning in circles. However I have stuck to my re-energizing plan and I’m feeling much better. In December I was weak but now I’m definitely stronger and feeling happier too. What you say about creative projects is true they are also re-energizers. I didn’t include them as I’m lacking the time to undertake any currently. I hope your spring is a super one.

  4. Hi TT!!

    I’m a big fan of power naps! I wish I had a “Power Nap Room” in my work place so I could sneak over there everyday at about 2pm.. when it gets serious. Lol!
    I’m trying to be more regular on Meditation and Stillness in general, Grounding exercises, always eating healthy. And dreaming a lot! That keeps me going. :)

    Great post, full of uplifting messages.

    • Hi there,
      It’s good to know you are adding grounding exercises and meditation to power naps that work well for you. Naps work for my hubby and one of my girlfriends also swears power naps keep her sane. I’m into taking mid-afternoon day dreaming breaks but not napping.

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  6. One thing that really helps me after a layoff of any kind (including a blog) is to start again with something easy. Taking a walk for a few days will motivate me to get back to the gym; or posting a few pictures on my blog to get going writing again. I know that sounds simplistic, but it’s helped me many times to just get going by keeping it easy.

    Nancy

    • Hi Nancy,
      Simple solutions are often the best solutions. You are right. Starting easy and gradually increasing makes sense because it’s achievable and achievement fuels our motivation. The same is true if one has writer’s block,etc. we could make a long list. Start easy and build momentum step by step to get back on course again.

  7. An excellent post. I also have fibromyalgia & arthritis and self care, diet and exercise is SO important. When there is such alot going on in life it’s easy to let this slip and don’t you feel it?!

    • Hello there,
      You bet I feel it. I was suffering and recognized my failure. I’m turning it into a stepping stone to success by acknowledging where I went wrong and working through pain and restore my health to where it was, or perhaps to improve it. I hope you have your own program including exercise because it’s key to coping with fibromylagia and arthritic pain.

      • Absolutely I do. If I don’t move I become rigid, unable to move – and depressed with it. Like you I do yoga, I take 20 minute walks (though not every day) and I potter in the garden, do light weight training at home.All just at odd times throughout the day. I do my yoga in the evenings, it prevents restless legs. We may not always feel like it, but self management is all we have to keep ourselves moving forward. My first few years was just of pain, depression and lying on a couch – this is not a life and I learned!!

    • Thank you so much for the positive feedback. It’s good to know what I wrote encourages you because it’s so easy to get distracted and neglect doing the sensible things we need to do to establish and maintain health. Last year there three deaths and so many distractions in my life that I gradually moved away from self care without even noticing I was doing so. This year I want to regain that ground again.

      Publishing what I’m doing to get back on track and take better care of myself is a means of receiving reader validation and motivating myself. It’s also a tacit invitation for others to share what they do, for example, in this case, I’m interested to hear how my readers boost their energy levels.

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