The last 2 weeks I have been discussing ways to feel great so you can put your energy and focus into your big goals. So many of us hop on the treadmill of life and tell ourselves we don’t have the time to slow down or we won’t “get it all done”. This way of thinking may seem to make sense at first glance, after all there are only so many hours in the day right? However, when we fail to give our body what it needs to refresh and renew, we end up with fatigue and brain fog making us much less effective.
I love this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe”. Now, we don’t need to spend more than half of our day “sharpening the axe”, but implementing the following habits can help you stay sharp and effective all day long so that pile of projects staring back at you doesn’t stand a chance.
Sleep: Get the right amount of sleep It turns out that too much or too little sleep can contribute inflammation and in turn, fatigue. Plan to hit the pillow a full 8 hours before you need to be awake to get ready for your day, rather than 8 hours before you need to be sitting at your desk. Not only will you help your body regenerate properly you will also improve your stamina, critical thinking ability, and energy levels.
Movement: Movement is essential for keeping your blood and lymph moving throughout the day. Even just a short 2 minute walk every 45 minutes will do wonders for your energy level. If you work from home, (or have an office with a door you can close) a fun way to charge up in the middle of the day is rebounding. A rebounder is a 3-foot wide mini trampoline. It’s fun, easy to use, and it’s a great way to increase your focus and clarity. It only takes about 10 jumps to feel refreshed. These are easy to find at any sporting goods store.
Hydration: Eight 8-ounce glasses per day will keep the average adult plenty hydrated. Most tall drinking glasses are 16 ounces, which means you, can have one when you wake and one before bed and you’re already halfway there. Keep in mind that if you are drinking dehydrating liquids such as coffee or alcohol, you will need to add two glasses of plain water for each glass of coffee or alcohol in order to stay properly hydrated.
Deep Breathing: Yes, breathing! It’s free and effective. Take a deep breath, deep down into your belly button, not the normal shallow chest breathing most of us are used to. Take a nice low, deep breath in for five seconds, hold for a count of five, let it out slowly for a count of five, and then wait for a count of five before taking the next breath. Repeat 5 times. You should feel very relaxed, yet alert after this exercise.
De-stress: Take time throughout the day to re-center and let go of stress. Continuous mental, physical and emotional strain raises cortisol levels, which in turn causes low-level fatigue, brain-fog, and chronic inflammation. You can take a short walk outside, listen to calming music for 2 minutes, or snuggle a pet; anything that will help you reconnect with what is real, here, and now.
This week, take a few minutes a day to "sharpen your axe" and see just how vibrant you can feel!