If you’re a successful professional in any capacity, it means you’re really good at what you do. Whether you’re a top-performing salesperson, a veteran business owner, or an aspiring career professional, success lies in your ability to be a go-getter and pedal-to-the-metal kind of worker. But it also probably means that you sometimes struggle with your energy levels. Burnout is a real phenomenon, and no one person can maintain a hectic pace without practicing a little self-care.
Before you shy away, thinking this is another one of those listicles with tips and suggestions you already know you NEED to be doing, keep reading.
These suggestions are easy-to-implement changes that even the busiest professionals can make. If you’re looking for smart, effective ways to take care of yourself, this is the list of ideas worth considering. And it’s all about taking one subtle step at a time to start seeing real improvements in your life.
1. Remove the Toxic Ingredients from Your Diet
Instead of adding things to your daily routine and hectic professional life, give yourself a boost of energy by removing things. Make a list of not-so-great ingredients you can purge from your life, including overly sugary lattes in the morning, fast food lunches, or take-out dinners. Treat yourself, sure, once in a while. But try to remove those afternoon sugar crashes. Order the smoothie. Try packing a healthy lunch. And take it one snack or meal improvement at a time to start. You’ll soon be cutting back on unhealthy ingredients and feeling more energized as a result.
Here’s a shortlist of potentially unhealthy or toxic ingredients that might be wrecking your energy levels:
- Too much sugar intake
- Poorly or over-processed foods
- Excessive alcohol
- Donuts in the conference room
- Overdoing the cups of coffee
2. Replace One Bad Decision at a Time
It can be overwhelming to try and introduce new routines when you’re already a routine-driven professional with limited free time. So, instead of trying to do too much at once, be mindful to just make one smart routine replacement at a time. This will force you to recognize when you’re making poor health decisions. And picking one small change to implement at a time will help you build momentum and comfort in keeping those changes. Spot something about your current routine that you know is likely contributing to your reduced energy levels. Pick one and try to focus on making improvements there first.
Here’s a short list of some poor decisions you might consider addressing, one at a time, of course:
- Stress smoking
- Stress eating
- Not drinking enough water (we’ll get to this one next)
- Staying up late
- Working too late
3. Drink the Water (Seriously)
You’re not going to find ANY list out there, health and wellness related, that doesn’t insist you boost your intake of water. Drinking water is a natural energy booster. But let’s be honest; your body needs it. You don’t have to jump to eight glasses every day at first to make a difference in your energy level, either. Try bringing a bottle of water to work with you and making a conscious effort to consume it throughout the morning. Gradually work in more as you adjust your routine. You can also explore trying to drink a glass of H20 when you first wake up or right before you go to bed. Dehydration is an absolute tanker of energy. So, the more you can introduce into your day, the better you’ll start to feel.
Here are some refreshing ways to incorporate water into your everyday routine:
- Bring a refillable water bottle you can refill and reuse on the go.
- Try healthy water flavorings to perk up the taste.
- Add lemon or other fruit to your water for added antioxidant boosts.
- Keep bottled water at the office, at work, and at home.
- Have a water buddy who’s also trying to drink more with you.
4. Try Healthy Snacking Every Three Hours
If you’re a super-busy professional, running from appointment to appointment, running a business, putting out fires, meeting clients, and doing the work, you’re probably also a hard-core meal-skipper. When there just isn’t time to sit down for lunch, you’re also no stranger to the mid-afternoon burnout feeling. Instead of skipping meals and depriving your body of the nutrients you need to stay energized, try taking small snacks. Pack granola bars, bananas, or trail mix for your time in the car. Keep easy-to-eat snacks at your desk that you can grab and consume while responding to emails. Science suggests that healthy and protein-packed snacks every three hours can do amazing things for your energy level.
Here are some easy and healthy snacks to keep handy when you’re looking to keep a three-hour snacking habit:
- Dried, assorted fruits
- Almonds, cashews, or peanuts
- Protein bars
- Traditional granola bars
- Lean jerky
5. Commit to Sleep
If you’re always burning both ends of the candle, you’re eventually going to run out of wick. Busy professionals and business owners are notorious for late nights and long days. And the stresses of work can keep you from finding your much-needed REM sleep, too. However, not giving your mind and body the ample amount of rest it needs means you’re running short on energy. Try committing to better sleep one week at a time and force yourself to step away from the hustle and bustle of business. Allow yourself to rest by remembering that a refreshed you is better than a dead-tired you for your professional life.
Here are some suggestions to help you start effecting change to your sleep habits:
- Take midday weekend naps.
- Commit to an earlier bedtime by one hour.
- Introduce nighttime relaxation apps with soothing sounds.
- Make your bedroom a quiet, sleep-conducive oasis
- Avoid sleeping with your television on in the background.
6. Try Virtual Therapy to Relieve Stress
It’s not uncommon for successful professionals to feel the stresses and anxieties that come with work-related projects and deadlines. And some stresses can be healthy as they drive us to pursue goals, meet deadlines, and overcome obstacles. But too much of the wrong kind of stress can be overwhelming and have a negative impact on your mental health and energy. Distress, or those situations that manifest out of your control, can send your mind racing down the “what if” rabbit hole, too. If you feel work and life stress is taking a toll on your ability to perform, function, or be happy, consider therapy. There are a host of virtual therapy services you can access from anywhere, putting you in touch with professionals who can help you navigate and find stress relief.
Here are just a few of the virtual therapy services to start exploring:
- Grow Therapy
7. Take the Stairs Every Time
Some of the best methods for boosting your energy level involve exercise. And while you can’t always find the time to commit to a gym or workout schedule, you can implement a few changes to your routine to introduce a little more physical activity. For example, start taking the stairs. Commit one or two days each week to climbing instead of riding the elevator. Work your way toward more days of taking the stairs until you’re comfortable with climbing every day. Getting your heart pumping, even just a little, can be rejuvenating. And taking in more oxygen can help you feel more refreshed.
Here are some other ways to get your heart rate up throughout your busy workday:
- Park far away and speed walk.
- Keep small weights at the office and work in some calisthenics.
- Break away from your car or your desk and take a walk.
- Close your office door and do a set of planks or push-ups.
- Take periodic breaks to do arm and leg stretches.
8. Get a Physical
If you’re struggling with keeping your energy levels high, it’s always good to check with your physician. Schedule yourself a physical so you can rule out any potential health problems that might be contributing to your stress and energy depletion. Even with exercise, proper sleep, and a healthy diet, you could be feeling rundown and overwhelmed. Your doctor can also help you pinpoint and identify any underlying risk factors and concerns and prescribe medications when necessary. Make sure you’re aware of your health conditions so any changes you do make can contribute appropriately.
Here are just a few of the health conditions that might be contributing to your reduced energy levels:
- Diabetes or sugar-related anomalies
- Heart disease or high blood pressure
- Thyroid malfunction
- Arthritis or joint pain
- Sleep apnea
9. Know Your Circadian Rhythms
Everyone’s body keeps its own body clock or circadian rhythm. Some professionals find they’re most productive in the early morning hours, for example, while others are more efficient at night. Your daily energy pattern is mostly determined by your unique genetics and brain chemistry, making it tough to change. Don’t fight against your patterns. Instead, recognize your productivity rhythms and work with them as you implement more energizing habits. Schedule your more demanding activities for those times of day that you feel most productive.
Here are some examples for breaking up your schedule in a way that matches your unique circadian rhythm:
- Use your most alert and energized times for important meetings.
- Schedule brief blocks of time for answering calls and emails.
- Allocate demanding project work for those high-energy times of the day.
- Sleep when your body clock dictates.
- Off-peak energy levels are great times for networking and less-intensive work.
10. Mindset Energy Matters, Too
A lot of what happens to your body during peak and valley energy levels is physical. But don’t discount the power of mental energy. Addressing your mindset matters, especially if you’re looking to find a renewed sense of energy and productivity. Try making a conscious effort to start thinking positively about people, work situations, and real-life scenarios. With a little practice, you can start finding the silver linings in almost anything. And you will be more energized when your mind’s not weighed down with negative thoughts, worst-case scenarios, and confidence-draining self-talk.
Here are a few mindset improvements you can consider to keep your mood energized and positive throughout the day:
- Force yourself to find two to three positives about every situation.
- Practice gratitude – both giving and receiving.
- Appreciate nature at least once per day.
- Allow yourself mental breaks from tough challenges.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
11. Recognize What’s Draining Your Energy
In addition to incorporating these more subtle yet impactful changes throughout your day, practice mindfulness about your habits and routines. The first step to relieving stress and regaining energy is recognizing what it is that’s impacting your life. When you spot negative habits, toxic contributors, or energy-draining situations, you can then take the necessary steps to eliminate or minimize them.
Here are some energy-draining examples and scenarios that might be affecting your daily routine:
- Toxic or overly-negative individuals you can avoid.
- Relentless traffic you can seek to avoid with an alternative route.
- Skipping breakfast in the morning.
- Lack of sleep that you can seek to remedy.
- An overpacked schedule that you can look to lighten up with more free time.
If you’re feeling drained of energy these days, try some of these easy-to-implement strategies. Start committing to self-care so you can continue to deliver your best every day – to your work and personal life. You don’t have to make drastic changes that are practically impossible to stick with long-term, either. Instead, tackle a few of these improvements one day, one effort at a time. And work your way toward a better routine with a healthier lifestyle and renewed energy gradually, with better results.
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