It’s completely within your power to manage your energy levels so they work for you. The human body has basic needs for energy production and maintenance, and addressing them will help you function at your peak. Habits are the key, so ensure your energy toolkit becomes part of your weekly and daily habits, just like brushing your teeth.
- Sleep: it is both recovery and preparation. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours a night. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, avoid looking at a backlit portable screen (laptop, smartphone, tablet) for at least an hour before bed. Also, keep your bedroom for the sole purpose of sleep (no screens allowed!).
- Water: hydrate throughout the day.
- Eating habits: 70 per cent of the way you feel is due to what you are eating.
- Stretch: extend your muscles each day.
- Move: get the blood flowing. Many people are starting to use standing desks, as sitting too much is now understood to be dangerous to our health. Standing and moving around regularly also helps you feel more alert.
- Mini-pauses: take 5-minute breaks throughout the day.
- Attitude: having a positive attitude gives you energy, while being negative drains you.
- Silence: grab it and cherish it.
Try a 2-minute meditation
A growing body of research suggests we would all benefit from daily meditation. So how do we integrate it into our lives in a way that’s achievable and still gives us the benefits we need?
I meditate in the morning and the evening, and have a collection of guided meditations that suit a range of needs for my mind and body. Outside this regular practice, I often sit in silence in the car for a few minutes before the school pick-up or when I’m in a queue or traffic jam. It’s a small change, but it has had one of the biggest impacts on my physical health and my mindset.
Not sure you can pull it off? Try just 2 minutes a day. This is much easier and more sustainable than thinking you have to commit to a daily half-hour practice, and you are much more likely to keep at it. You don’t need to rush out and buy a meditation cushion, join a class or even try to sit still for 15 minutes – not yet. Just start by being still for 2 minutes each day and noticing your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose, counting slowly to four for the intake and then four for the release. Controlled, calm breathing like this helps us relax, focus and let go of any stress we may be feeling. It also helps connect our minds to our bodies, which puts us back in the moment and is a powerful tool for mindfulness.