by Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM
So far, we've talked about what may be draining your energy and how it happens.
Here I'll offer some of my best tips for improving your daily energy levels and maintaining your natural energy reserves.
Tip #1: Mind Your Business
Who comes first, you or someone/something else? Are you trying to fix things for other people? Are you paying attention to other people more than yourself? One sure way to suck your energy tank dry is to get caught up in everyone else's business. Their thoughts, feelings, actions (including social media) and choices are theirs, not yours. This goes for your family, friends, coworkers and the entire planet. Try to spend a day just letting people be exactly as they are and notice how many times you're tempted to expend your energy getting overly involved in their experience. Redirect your energy back toward yourself, and you'll consistency refuel your own tank.
Tip #2: Mind Your Diet
What you eat and drink matters, obviously. If you're drinking caffeine all day, it affects your natural energy levels (and your nervous system). If you eat sugar with every meal, it takes a toll on your energy reserves. If you go all day without eating, you aren't fueling your body. It's not complicated; it's common sense. Eat food that looks like real food, and try to eat a few times a day. Stop drinking caffeine after noon. Don't drink beverages loaded with sugar. Notice how you feel after you eat. Eat what makes you feel the best. Don't demonize food as good or bad, either. Just try to make choices that benefit your unique needs. If you don't load up on inflammatory and non-nutritive foods, your energy levels will stay more consistent.
Tip #3: Mind Your Attention
Sooo... what are you paying attention to? What's got your eye? What's your mind fixating on? The more you focus on something, the more of it you'll see. If you're paying attention to something and it feels terrible, why are you doing it? That's a sure way to feel exhausted, or in the very least, pretty unhappy. It's up to you to choose what you focus on, and what you're paying attention to holds a lot of power. What if you started redirecting your attention toward things you like, things that inspire you, things that feel good? Here's what: you'd feel a little bit better... and that would grow exponentially if you kept it up. This is the #1 way I regulate my energy on a daily basis. See how much better you feel when you pay attention to what lifts your spirit versus what weighs you down.
Tip #4: Mind Your Space
What's your living environment like? Your workplace? How about your clothing or the not-so-visible-but-oh-so-important energetic field around you? What's happening in your environment affects your energy levels. This doesn't mean you have to try to control your environment, but it does mean that you can positively impact it. Clear the clutter away. Surround yourself with uplifting things. Purge your closets from time to time. Decorate your workspace in a way that makes you smile. Use the shower as a time to clear yourself physically and emotionally. Give thanks to your clothes, and wear what's comfortable. Honor your boundaries and choose to not take on energies/feelings/things that don't feel good or aren't yours. It's truly exhausting to live without honoring the space you exist in. This tip can take some work; you may not realize how much around you is taxing your energy. Start with little changes, one at a time, and notice how you feel.
Tip #5: Mind Your Schedule
How are you arranging your life? Is there a balance between work and rest? The best way to arrange your day is around the cycle of the sun and the seasons, actually. We tend to have the most energy in spring and summer and the least in winter. We are most alert when the sun is up, and then we naturally unwind as night sets in. Even adjusting your schedule slightly to reflect this ebb and flow can improve your energy and quality of sleep. Also, what are you prioritizing every day? If you don't schedule in fun, relaxation or quiet, no one else is going to do it for you. My best advice is to schedule in a morning and evening routine, even if it's just 5-10 minutes, where you meditate, do yoga, journal, or whatever helps you feel uplifted and refreshed. It will add up massively as time goes on and help you maintain higher energy levels throughout the day.
While these are some of my best tips, in order to really personalize them for yourself, you have to commit the time to working with them. If you're struggling with fatigue and managing your daily energy levels, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are tremendously helpful. Schedule a free consultation if want to learn more.
by Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM
It's such a common complaint.
Waking up tired after sleeping through the night
Energy crashing throughout the day
Feeling heavy and exhausted
A mental fog that makes it hard to think coherently
An emotional fatigue, like you just can't deal with anything else
Sleep doesn't fill your tank. Food doesn't seem to help. You're too tired to work out or take great care of yourself. You don't feel inspired. Your body aches.
Obviously, there is no single cure for everyone's exhaustion. We're all different.
But for many of us, there's generally one cause, and it may surprise you.
I've had a long relationship with fatigue.
A bout of mononucleosis landed me in the hospital for a week when I was 16. I was incredibly ill, and the exhaustion lingered for years. Then, the summer I turned 23, I was diagnosed with lyme disease. For months prior, I was so easily fatigued and in pain that I remember crawling up the stairs at night when I'd get home from work because walking was too hard.
I'm now in my mid-30s and those days are far behind me.
What being exhausted taught me is a) how to naturally improve my energy levels, b) how to continuously manage my energy levels and c) how to become aware of what is sucking my energy dry.
So, what's the #1 thing that's draining your energy?
No, it's not a diagnosis or a life circumstance or an outside force.
Actually, it's you.
I know, that feels like shit to read. And it's easily arguable.
But it's actually really good news.
What I've learned through healing layers of myself and helping my patients as they heal is this: what drains us most is ourselves... and more specifically, our thoughts.
Don't balk. :)
Our thoughts govern everything we choose and do. They are our motivating and driving force, which directly translates as our energy expenditure. It's literally cause and effect: align with a thought, make a decision, expend energy. The problem is, we generally aren't aware of the subconscious thoughts and behaviors that are dictating how we use our energy. We also struggle to understand what we can do about it.
So, I've compiled the top 3 ways you may be draining your own energy AND my 5 best tips for restoring your natural energy levels. Keep reading!
Dr. Cailin O'Hara, DACM, LAc, Dipl OM, is a nationally board certified Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, herbalist and coach. She is based in Phoenix, AZ.