Ten Tips for an Emergency Energy Boost

These are from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project. These tips seem fairly intuitive, and I’m just quoting directly.

1. Go outside into the sunlight. Light deprivation is one reason people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning. And while you’re outside…

2. Go for a brisk walk. Even a ten-minute walk can give you a surge of energy and decreased tension.

3. Act with energy. We think we ACT because of the way we FEEL, but often we FEEL because of the way we ACT. Trick yourself into feeling energetic by moving more quickly, pacing while you talk on the phone, and putting more energy into your voice.

4. Listen to your favorite zippy song. Hearing stimulating music gives an instant lift.

5. Talk to an energetic friend. Not only do we gain energy from interacting with other people, we also – in what’s called “emotional contagion” — “catch” their emotions. Instead of infecting others with your draggy mood, try to lift yourself by catching the energy of a boisterous friend.

6. Tackle an item on your to-do list. Maybe you need to drive to an out-of-the-way store; or add the last, difficult touches to a homemade gift; or make a phone call to a difficult relative. You’ll be amazed by the huge rush of energy you get when it’s crossed off your list. If you’re having trouble, try doing it first thing in the morning. The night before, decide what you’re going to do, then get up and do it.

7. Clean up. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. If you feel overwhelmed and listless, try tidying up. No heavy scrubbing, just tidy the surfaces. Making your surroundings more pleasant will help to give you energy — plus, making visible improvements is a booster, too.

8. Jump! Yes, jump up and down a few times. I just started doing this, and it’s amazing how energizing it is.

9. Note of caution: people often try to use food to boost their low energy. This obviously helps if you’re actually hungry (and in my house, we constantly monitor people’s hunger levels, because we all get so crabby when we’re hungry), but if you’re not hungry, eating ice cream out of the container — tempting as it is — won’t really help.

10. Cut yourself, and other people, some slack. Didn’t do holiday cards this year? Didn’t cook the usual feast? Let it go. Holiday traditions are wonderful, but they can also be the source of anger, disappointment, and guilt — aimed at ourselves and other people. A few years ago, at Halloween time, I somehow neglected to get us a pumpkin! This counts as Mommy malpractice in my book. But you know what? It was okay.

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