The Dole Energy-Day in Hamburg was an energy-filled experience. I was also there as a member of the Energy-Crew. At this event, which covered a fascinating array of issues, I had a chance to speak to the bloggers about what energised them and what drained their energy. It was interesting to see how many of the things they mentioned affect a lot of us.
If our energy reserves are permanently depleted, we constantly feel tired and drained. But, by ensuring we have a balanced lifestyle and by knowing what our body needs, we can outsmart the 10 biggest energy zappers.
What drains our energy?
1. Eating heavy, low-quality food at irregular intervals
Ensure that most of your food is fresh and plant-based. Make yourself some colourful salads, fruity smoothies or tasty skewers of fruit. Whole grain products and light fish lunches are the perfect complement. Compared to these suggestions, greasy fast food, sweet pastries and sandwiches seem somewhat boring, don’t they?
2. Lack of sleep
Activity consumes energy, rest generates energy. As is so often the case, it’s all about finding the right balance. A deep sleep is the best way to feel refreshed and rested. Otherwise, we can quickly become irritable and tense and find it hard to concentrate. The right amount of sleep depends to a large extent on our physique and our personal circumstances. Studies show that we need between seven and eleven hours of sleep.
3. Overload and exhaustion
The major demands that we place on ourselves on a daily basis really drain our energy. Whether it is the friend who constantly needs a favour or the project that needs to be finished by the following day – too much of this can make us unhappy over the long term. So make sure that you give enough time and space to your own needs. It even helps sometimes just to turn off the mobile phone and enjoy a long walk in nature.
4. Lack of exercise
Exercise is not only good for our body, it also improves our mental performance. Sport doesn’t have to entail excessive effort. It is much more important to find a type of sport that you enjoy. This will keep you motivated for much longer. Exercise reduces stress and can be easily integrated into your everyday routine. Take the stairs instead of the lift, for example, or cycle to work.
5. Stimulants like nicotine and alcohol
Do you smoke a quick cigarette if you are feeling stressed or go for a beer after work to unwind? The negative effects of these everyday “pleasures” only become apparent over the long term, which makes them all the more insidious. We are all aware of the consequences for our health. The entire body’s ability to function deteriorates. Try, therefore, to avoid these alleged stress killers.
One of the Dalai Lama’s lessons for living is: “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson”. It goes without saying that success releases huge amounts of energy. But we should not do what we do for the sake of success but rather for the enjoyment of the activity itself. If we do this, any failure that we encounter will not plunge us into depression, as we will have enjoyed what we have done. And that in turn will be an incentive for us to get up and keep going.
7. Chronic critics and nay-sayers
When we surround ourselves with people who we like, this activates the reward system in our brain and triggers our body’s own feel-good hormones or endorphins. These endorphins not only ensure our physical well-being but also improve our cognitive skills with the result that we can process information faster and more effectively. From experience, everyone knows that learning or working in a team with people we like, instead of alone, helps us to achieve greater success because the material that we have learned or worked on will be associated with a positive feeling and stored as an overall impression in our brain. Chronic critics and nay-sayers can really take the fun out of something new. So, where possible, avoid these types of people.
8. Relationship problems
Partners and good friends play an important role in our energy balance. Important: Do not expect your partner or your friends to give you energy. Instead, concentrate on looking after your own energy balance. It is only when you can draw strength from yourself that you can bring this into your relationships.
9. Poor air quality
We cannot survive for long without air. Why? Because our bodies need oxygen to generate energy. Air quality is therefore crucial. You have no doubt noticed how good clear mountain air or a fresh sea breeze makes you feel. Fresh air also has a much different quality than stale indoor air. “Breathing deeply” in the truest sense of the word will quickly boost your energy significantly.
10. Lack of light
Light can affect our mood. Gloomy winter weather has a negative effect on us. Most of us spend our days indoors at this time of year, where we are exposed to brightness levels of approximately 500 Lux. Outdoors, on a beautiful summer’s day, this increases to 100,000 Lux. Take time to go outside! How about going to an outdoor café for lunch today?
With energy-filled wishes, Dr Ulrich Bauhofer