The Good Life – with Dr Libby
In all my years working with people on an individual level or in a group, regardless of their age, sex or current health status, there is often one thing that unifies people’s health and wellness goals – energy and the desire for more. When you ask someone how they are, the most common response I tend to hear is “tired, so tired”. And hence our reliance on caffeine and refined sugars – or anything – that gives us more energy increases.
If we think of our daily energy as a bank account, it’s easier to consider what ‘adds’ or ‘takes’ our energy. Energy supplies us with the power to function, grow, heal and regenerate ourselves daily. We are designed, however, to supplement this original endowment of energy with what we generate from eating, breathing, sleeping, working, playing, learning and relationships. Each day we make withdrawals and deposits; we invest or deplete. And when the balance of the scales tips in the direction of us using more than we put back in, we begin to live in the red, with the potential of falling further and further behind.
To keep the currency analogy going, we are then forced to dip into our savings. When we continuously withdraw from our savings account, alarm bells can begin to sound, telling us that our survival is being challenged. These alarms present to us as symptoms in the body, often of the type that don’t initially lead us to stay home from work … so we soldier on and often do nothing about them. There are many reasons why our energy can be depleted which I explore in Exhausted to Energized; these can be biochemical, nutritional or emotional – and are normally a combination of all three.
Top 5 tips for more energy now
- Work on closing what I call ‘open tabs’ – unresolved tasks and jobs. It’s as if we walk around each day with so many tabs open in our brains – like tabs sitting open on your computer or phone. It’s no wonder we feel drained or flattened.
- Incorporate more resistance training or muscle building exercise. More muscle means more energy-producing mitochondria in our cells – resulting in a higher metabolic rate, which assists with body fat management as well as energy production. Naturally you gain better energy reserves as your glycogen (glucose stores) increases, as well.
- Explore your immune system function; whether this is your susceptibility to viruses or infections, glandular fever or hay fever, anything that triggers your immune system into fighting these infections/reactions can be fatiguing.
- Be conscious of how your perceptions influence your mood and energy state. Write a list of what makes you feel alive and energised, and what saps your energy – your ‘energy vampires’. Actively work on doing more of the things that make you feel energised, while reducing your energy vampires.
- Stop sitting on energy! Studies show that some adults spend an enormous 11 hours a day sitting on their bottoms. Those hours tend to be clocked up working at a desk job, commuting to and from work, watching television, or at the computer. Too much sitting isn’t good for health or energy. Move every hour!