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August 22, 2012

Has your get up and go, got up and gone? 10 reasons for low energy.

If your energy is less now than it used to be and you’re simply tired of being tired, check out this list – 10 reasons why your energy may be depleted.

1. Too much sugar

Sugar has a huge effect on energy levels. It will initially give you a boost, yet a short-lived one. Once the sugar-crash kicks in, you’ll feel worse than before. Being on the sugar loop makes it hard to get out of the cycle and you’ll find yourself reaching for that next quick fix to “fix” the energy slump again.

During times of stress, blood sugar levels go through extreme peaks and troughs, causing mood swings, energy dips and even more stress, making those sweet fixes even more tempting. Sugar is deadly.

2. Overdosing on caffeine

Like sugar, caffeine will give you a temporary boost, only to deplete your energy reserves in the long run. While a cup or two a day may be fine for most people, high intakes effect your stress levels, cause blood sugar fluctuations, insomnia, headaches, irritability and energy dips.

3. Poor quality sleep

This might seem obvious, yet many people do not get a decent night’s sleep. A bedtime routine and consistency regarding time of sleep, can help. Investing in some black-out blinds will also encourage a decent sleep. Electro-magnetic radiation has been discovered to interfere with sleeping, so removing laptops, phones and other devices from your bedroom will help.

Cat naps in the day can be very effective, if possible, to restore energy levels instead of reaching for a cup of coffee. If sleep becomes disturbed regularly, all aspects of your life become affected and a “jet lag” feeing kicks in as the circadian rhythm gets disrupted.

4. Stress

Whilst a reasonable level of stress keeps us on our toes, too much can deplete our adrenal function, leading to fatigue. The ‘fight or flight’ hormone cortisol is released when we are stressed, upsetting blood sugar levels and causing us to go into overdrive. Lifestyle choices such as yoga, deep breathing techniques, meditation or counselling may be needed to control stress and re-energise.

5. Nutritional deficiences

The body relies on many nutrients working in synergy to keep us feeling healthy and energised. Even slight deficiencies can cause fatigue. If you’re taking supplements for an energy boost, make sure you’re taking the right kind. Ideally, a nutritional therapist should set a personal program for your needs, or choose a quality, high dose multivitamin and a B-complex formula with at least 20mg of the B vitamins. B5 is particularly important as it plays a role in healthy adrenal function. Magnesium becomes depleted in times of stress, and can be very beneficial when energy problems have set in. It is known as “nature’s tranquiliser”, aiding in quality relaxation. Ginseng, rhodiola, ashwaganda, CoQ10 and damiana are supplements that also may be considered to overcome stress and restore energy levels.

6. Postural problems

Energised people look different from low energy people. Drooping shoulders, low chin and poor posture are signs of exhaustion. In this age of extended time sitting at desks hunched over computers, posture issues are a common complaint. Try this now:  shoulders back, stand up straight, lift your head and shout a great, big “Yes!”. It works wonders to make you feel energized. Try it!

7. Shallow breathing

As oxygen is required for energy, shallow breathing can create an energy deficiency. We all know this yet it’s common to get into the habit of shallow breathing. Taking the time each day to practice slow, deep breaths will give you an abundance of energy, alkalise your body and enhance your mental clarity. It’s also the best way to tell your body that you are not stressed.

8. Hanging out with the wrong people and unresolved emotional baggage

Being enthusiastic about something only to have someone bring you down, can be as draining as lack of exercise or poor food choices. Tune in and be careful who you allow close to you, as their negative energy could contaminate you, depleting your passion, drive and energy.

If your emotional baggage is packing in at a hefty weight, it may be time to unpack. Don’t let your past ruin your present and doom your future, which it will do if not addressed. There is nothing more draining than heavy emotional baggage, for you and those around you. In fact, you may even become one of those energy-zapping people yourself as you begin projecting your emotions onto those around you.

Working to resolve emotional issues can be the hardest of all, yet will bring the greatest benefits. Imagine yourself as you skip into the lightness of emotional freedom.

9. Recreational drugs and alcohol

Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters control our emotions and recreational drugs have an affect on them. Imbalanced neurotransmitters leads to lack of drive, motivation and energy as well as over-sensitivity to stressors and perceived stressors, wrecking havoc with your emotional responses too. Alcohol damages your energy levels by causing those blood sugar fluctuations previously described. You’re also likely to hit the coffee and sugar the next day in an attempt to relieve your hangover exhaustion. Far from cheering you up, too much alcohol can make you irritable, lethargic and depressed.

10. Too much or too little exercise

If you don’t get enough you become lethargic, unfit and demotivated. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which make you feel great. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking each week can make you feel energized again. On the other hand, too much exercise will lower energy levels, especially if the body is not listened to in times of stress. Heavy exercise after a stressful day in the office can do more harm than good. Get the balance right by speaking to a fitness advisor at your local gym.

Finding balance

Like everything in life, balance matters. It’s unusual to have just one reason for lack of energy, it’s likely that a few factors are involved. We’re living in an age of information overload where energy expenditure often exceeds energy input, a world where our bank balances count more than our energy reserves. You may be offered an overdraft if your finances become strained, but who is going to bail you out if you start running yourself on reserve?

 

Article by Jo Rowkins DipNT mBANT, nutritionist and founder of awakening health.

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