We're all overthinking it!
If you’re like the majority of people, this past year has been an absolute struggle in the energy department. As Covid-19 brought bustling schedules to a halt, motivation grew sparse for many. It’s now clear that getting thrown out of routine is a recipe for laziness…but it doesn’t need to be that way. As life (slowly) returns to normal, here are some easy principles for grasping back onto that pre-pandemic energy that everyone is craving.
One of the most important lessons to learn is that subtle, sustainable health adjustments are the most valuable. Consequently, you won’t find any drastic life-hacks on this list, but rather easy tips that can improve your life the very moment you start them.
‘Energy’ is a bit of an overused buzzword in health circles, so we’ll just focus on winning the small, daily battles to maintain your motivation throughout the day. Without further ado, let’s jump into it!
How to be your best self every single day.
If you have any concerns about the health advice below, please check in with your health provider. This is especially critical if you have chronic conditions that need close surveillance. While the tips below are meant to be subtle, it’s always a good idea to complete your due diligence before applying new health advice to your life. With that out of the way, let’s look at 3 daily strategies to get you back to feeling like your energized self!
1) Move more often than you think.
If you want to live optimally, you must perform daily physical activity. No, this doesn’t mean you step foot in a gym 7 days a week, but it does require you to intentionally set aside time to be active. Even if it’s a short walk around the block or a 10-minute bout on the elliptical, your energy will spike after physical activity. For the best results, try locating the drowsiest portion of your day (commonly in the early afternoon) and insert a little movement here.
Beyond feeling energized, well-placed physical activity will help fight the effects of prolonged sedentary behavior. Over the long term, you’ll experience much less pain and stiffness in the back and hips, while maintaining better creativity and focus throughout your workday. If you want more direction on how to design these ‘mini-workouts’, there is a comprehensive guide for you here.
2) Complete your hardest task before noon.
Oftentimes, laziness comes as a result of poor planning. If you aren’t organizing your schedule or designing your environment effectively, you can easily slip out of motivation. The best advice from a psychological standpoint is to overcome your hardest task(or at least a challenging one) as early in the day as possible. As a general rule, try to accomplish this before noon strikes and the infamous afternoon dip arrives.
By applying yourself in this way early in the day, you’re informing your brain that you’re ready to take on anything else at an equivalent or lower difficulty level later on. While you may roll your eyes at how obvious this strategy may be, it’s unbelievable just how overlooked and poorly implemented it is for most individuals.
You can even take this a step further by completing a few simple tasks right after your wake up to set you up for your largest hurdle. Here are 3 easy morning activities to get you in the right mindset to overcome procrastination and spark your motivation for the rest of the day:
- Take a 10-second cold shower after waking up.
- Complete your main workout session in the morning.
- Pick up a book or journal before falling into the social media trap.
If you can consistently start your day right, you’ll have a much higher chance of staying energized as the hours go by. As a quick note, it's a reality that everyone operates on a different schedule due to work and sleep cycles. Please play with these principles and shift them to meet your needs and priorities! The best health strategy is the one you’re most likely to adhere to over the long run, so play around until you get it just right.
3) Get outside for at least 20 minutes.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to show that outdoor exposure makes us better people. We’re more motivated, attentive, creative, and healthy when we consistently spend time in nature.
One 2019 study shows that green spaces near schools promote cognitive development in children and green views near children’s homes promote self-control behaviors. Additionally, adults assigned to public housing units in neighborhoods with more green space showed better attentional functioning than those assigned to units with less access to natural environments.
Spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits in mood, mental health, and emotional well-being. — American Psychological Association
There are plenty of studies like the one above to show that our cognition, behavior, and overall happiness are linked to outdoor activity. Even 20 minutes of outdoor exposure can make a huge impact on your health outcomes. If you want to stay more energized throughout the day, consider planning a short walk or activity outside each day. This is an absolute game-changer!
- Stay hydrated…especially in the summer months.
- Fine-tune your sleep hygiene. Try waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day!
- Set up goals and systems to keep you motivated and on track with daily tasks.
- Limit your non-work-related screen time to small windows throughout the day.
- Socialize as best as you can with those that inspire you. Being with others will naturally spike your motivation and energy.
While staying energized seems incredibly challenging these days, it’s by no means impossible. If you’re committed to planning and implementing small bouts of exercise and outdoor exposure into your schedule, you’ll quickly set yourself up for a better day.
While these strategies are subtle, the benefits will rapidly compound and you’ll be ready to yes to new and improved habits in no time! Most importantly, you’ll be better equipped to face every obstacle and challenge that life throws your way.
Why not start today?
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