Want to feel more awake and energised? When you’re feeling sluggish and exhausted, it can be challenging to know where to begin. If you’re at the point where you’re ready to make change but nothing seems to ‘stick’, it can feel especially frustrating.
You want to spring out of bed instead of dragging yourself up every morning. But how can you make change when you feel as though you’ve got lead weights attached to your feet? Where do you start, and how do you keep going?
Here are 3 ways to feel more awake and energised
#1 Track your energy
If you’re feeling exhausted and run down, the last thing you might feel like doing is noticing just how tired you are. But before you start throwing things at the screen, let’s slow down a little. Observing how your energy changes over the course of the day, the week or the month doesn’t mean you’re resigning yourself to things never changing.
What it will do is give you the data you need to make shifts that will actually last.
After all, feeling wiped out after a day picking up your team’s slack at the practice, will take different adjustments to addressing a slump after a super-busy day or three.
Instead of feeling hopeless about why you lack energy, it’s time to turn detective.
Keep a journal for a month or tow and track your energy levels and mood. It doesn’t have to be complicated — perhaps just a smiley or grumpy face, and a rating out of 10 for how much energy you have.
Then, look for patterns. Do you already feel awake and energised at certain times, even if it’s not as often as you’d like? Perhaps they correspond to:
- Something you do (Does fresh air wake you up? Do you sleep better the day after exercising?)
- What’s going into your body (Do you notice a particular slump after a night of drinking, or a heavy meal?)
- Who you spend time with (A friend who always lifts your mood?)
- What’s happening around you (Is there a work task that has you feeling like you’re flying? Maybe you can’t sleep on Sunday nights because you’re anxious about what Monday will hold?)
Positive and negative – start to map the ebb and flow of your energy, without judgment.
Identify the main areas you think could be factors, and then you can begin think about what you could do differently. A conversation about boundaries? A health check up? A career change???
But first — a note.
There is no ‘magic bullet’
Getting your energy back so that you feel as awake and energised as you’d like isn’t as simple as eating super foods or taking the ‘right’ supplement.
If the fundamental issue is that you’re doing too much, too often, without ever replenishing your energy, no amount of beating yourself up or adding extra activities will make a difference.
I know that can be hard to hear. But it’s true.
Making time to rest, play and enjoy yourself is critical. And if you’re slipping into burnout, that might take more of an adjustment than your inner Superman/woman would like.
Think reducing what you’re committed to, or letting yourself off the hook for not doing everything on your list to 100% of your ability, 100% of the time.
This is an aspect of ‘self-care’ that’s often glossed over when we think only about adding to our plate (more yoga! more sleep!) and don’t consider what we’ll need to take away in order to make space for that. But getting honest about your expectations, your commitments and your own capacity is really important.
If you’d like support with this, working with a coach can be a great place to start – often it’s vital.
And when it is time to make a change, bear in mind the second vital step.
#2 Start with what feels good
When we think about changing our habits, it’s really tempting to begin with a list of what we’re not going to do. No more carbs, no screens in bed, no working late…. When you’re desperate to stop feeling so sluggish, those hard and fast rules can feel really seductive.
The trouble is, over the long term that motivation often fizzles out. As soon as you start to see a slight improvement that ‘I’ll do anything not to feel this way’ feeling slips away. Before you know it, you’re back at square one.
So, as you review your energy journal, try to focus on times when you did feel energised instead of focusing on when you were most exhausted.
- Was it when you’d got a proper 8 hours sleep?
- After a weekend catching up with old friends?
- Or the day you went outside for a walk at lunch instead of eating at your desk?
Try to connect to how you felt in those moments when you were at your best. What words would you use — energised, vital, spacious, free, playful…?
When you shift your motivation to the way you’d LOVE to feel, and take steps to get more of that into your life, the momentum you can generate is astonishing.
Feeling good can start to become addictive, and with every boost you get you’ll feel more inspired to keep going.
#3 Take it one step at a time
When you start making changes, it’s important to go slow and steady.
Remember step one? Approaching the shifts you make with that spirit of research and experimentation means making a change that feels good, and then observing it.
Maybe an earlier bedtime does the trick, and you find yourself thrilled by how awake and energised you feel in the morning.
Maybe choosing soft drinks over wine has you reconnected to the sparkle that was missing, or having a conversation with your team about the ‘presenteeism’ in your industry takes a weight off.
With every change you make, take notice of the effect it has — and don’t be tempted to add in anything else straight away. Give yourself time to absorb the difference it’s making, and celebrate yourself for every small win along the way.
Know that things won’t happen all at once.
You’ll make mistakes, you’ll feel frustrated, you might even feel as though you’re going round in circles. And if you really don’t know where to begin, or feel that nothing you do has the effect you want, it might be time to get some support…