One of the biggest challenges people face with energy is finding a balance between energy in and energy out, or what is called the energy balance. The amount of energy being expended on a daily basis must be matched by the amount of energy being put into the body.
So how do you do that, and what does balanced feel like? Part of finding your energy balance is getting your nutrition right, which helps your body to find it’s natural set point. Set point refers to the body’s natural state when there are no or minimal disruptors such as prolonged stress, lack of sleep, nicotine, alcohol, air pollution, sugar intake, overtraining or similar types of stressors. Once your body has found its set point, you won’t be expending energy battling against stressors, environmental or otherwise, or dealing with inflammation caused by a poor diet. Your hormones, specifically ghrelin and leptin, will be in balance, and you’ll eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, and when you crave the odd sugary treat it will be just that.
See my previous blog post on sleep for more on the effect of ghrelin and leptin.
But back to the energy balance. Let’s look at some of the ways you can energise the body.
Environment drives performance
The above image is of a Formula 1 race pit. There are fewer environments in the world more efficient than this one, where every detail is taken care of. We can take something from this – by setting up your environment to be more efficient, you can improve performance and save your energy for where it’s needed. Removing clutter and having a clear idea of your objectives for the day will conserve energy and drive performance.
The power of the sun
Part of your environment includes the availability of natural light, and specifically sunlight. If you don’t get regular access to sunlight, consider using a device like a Human Charger to simulate sunlight. The designers of this clever device figured out that there are photo-sensitive proteins in the brain that can receive light through the ear canal, hence the device nicknamed the ‘sun in your pocket’. Sunlight is a sure-fire way to boost energy levels and is vital for maintaining a good circadian rhythm.
Surround yourself with positive people
It’s an oft-quoted phrase by Jim Rohn that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, but I think there’s truth in it. Surround yourself with positive people and avoid the mood hoovers and energy vampires out there. I’m not suggesting everyone you meet should be happy-clappy and waving their jazz hands around, but you don’t want your energy depleted listening to someone complaining and being negative.
Set yourself up with visual cues
Many people find motivational quotes inspiring; I find they can be a bit cliched, but a few carefully chosen words from someone you admire, or your own goals written up on the wall can be energising. Visual cues are helpful; we have pictures in our office of outdoor nature scenes including a lighthouse, snow-topped mountain and trees. (I also have a large framed print of Noel Gallagher to remind myself not to take myself or anything too seriously!) Visual cues like reminders of your goals and dreams are often energising.
Consider using smells
I diffuse essential oils to help energise me in different ways. I’ll use eucalyptus, marjoram, pine and cedarwood amongst others, and more soothing relaxing oils like lavender and oregano in the evening. Using smells as well as light is a good combination. And nothing beats a walk amongst nature for all the rich smells that offers and plentiful natural light.
The energy jar
One of the biggest learnings for me in the last couple of years is appreciating that energy comes from one place. We have a finite amount of energy, but if used wisely, it’s enough for us to do all the things we want to. I learnt this the hard way when I found myself frustrated in the gym because I didn’t have the energy to complete a workout to a high standard. What I wasn’t factoring in was my general state of wellbeing and what else was drawing on my energy reserves. Once I learnt that there is only one pot of energy, not one for work, one for home, one for the gym etc, I was better able to pace myself.
Optimise your energy levels
If you’re reading this, you’re are probably in a reasonably senior position, running your own business or have a busy life running the home and juggling other responsibilities. Either way, you’re busy. The convergent pressures of work and family life have probably meant that the time you did have to spend on health and fitness has disappeared. Why not talk to us and see how we can help.
Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.