Feeling lethargic? 5-minute habits to consistently boost your energy levels
Have you heard the term “languishing” coined this year? It terms a mood lots of us have been feeling through lockdown, a mixture of feeling burnt out, low on energy, stuck and generally a bit… blah. It captures that general lack of motivation, direction and the feeling like life has been "on hold" which the pandemic has brought on for many.
If you’re struggling with a lack of energy, try out one or two of these 5 minute habits. The more consistently you can stick with one, the more likely you are to keep it up long term. Start with one that resonates with you, and see the difference it makes to your energy levels.
5 minute habits you can use to boost your energy
Start the day with morning pages
You may have heard of the Morning Pages exercise, coined by Julia Cameron. Essentially it’s a form of free writing, meant to help release your creative energy. It's also a brilliant way to boost your energy first thing and can really help with putting down any niggles, worries and stresses on paper, so you’re free to start the day with a clean slate.
Try this quick version of the Morning Pages. All you need is a pen and paper (this works best with a physical pen and paper). Set your phone timer for 5 minutes and write down whatever comes into your mind. The important thing is not to over-think! Literally write whatever comes into your head, even if it’s disjointed words and sentences. It doesn’t need to make sense.
Give it a try, and see how it impacts your energy levels for the day.
An energy boosting breakfast: 5 minutes to put together!
If you’re normally a coffee in place of food first thing kind of person, and you’re struggling with feeling tired in the afternoon, getting into a habit of eating breakfast could make a big difference for you.
Having breakfast reduces stress on the body, gives the body more energy for the full day and we’ll be less likely to crave sugar in the afternoon too. A super simple energy-filled breakfast is overnight oats. Try this quick recipe you can put together the night before:
Ingredients (serves 1)
1 cup porridge oats
1 cup milk (oat, almond or dairy)
½ tbsp chia seeds (optional, but this gives it a pudding texture)
Toppings: Your choice! E.g blueberries or raspberries, nuts & seeds, almond butter, cinnamon and chopped dates.
1. The night before, combine the oats, milk (and chia seeds if using) in a glass jar or bowl. Top with toppings, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
Take a movement break
You’re probably sick of being told to exercise, right? I’ve definitely found exercise a struggle the first months of this year, a combination of lockdown and the cold, dark days. Rather than worrying about taking out an expensive gym membership, something I’ve found really helpful and I share with clients, is to take 5 minute movement breaks through the day. Start with once a day, and increase the amount you do as it becomes habit.
This could be 5 minutes of stretches, press ups, crunches or my favourite - a dance break (no skill required).
Create a few playlists of 3 songs that will get you up and going, and take a quick break in the day to put the music up loud and jump and dance about. Remember, no one’s watching you. It absolutely does not matter what you look like, so just let go and enjoy!
This is an amazing way to get the endorphins going and boost your mood, as well as getting your heart rate up. You’ll likely feel much more productive afterward to crack on with that tough work project too.
Take a breathing break
Increased stress hormones in the body can zap our energy, and an evidenced way to reduce stress is to practice short breathing exercises consistently. Breathing practices trigger our parasympathetic nervous system to put our body into “rest and digest” mode so it can heal and recover.
Try this short exercise during your work day:
Sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed, with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
Shut your eyes if you feel comfortable.
Breathe in for 4 counts.
Hold for 7 counts.
Breathe out for 8 counts.
Repeat this exercise 4 times.
Regularly practicing can also really help improve sleep. If sleep is an issue for you, try taking a breathing break 5 minutes before bed.
It just takes 5 minutes
Being told to get enough rest, eat nutritious whole foods and regularly take time out to chill out and move our bodies, can feel overwhelmingly out of reach sometimes. Particularly with a busy work schedule, if you’re looking after a family, and of course with the extra pressures of the last year.
But taking just 5 minutes of your day to try out a new habit consistently can really help. You’re also much more likely to keep with it if it fits neatly into your schedule. I hope you find one of these new habits helpful, let me know in the comments below.
If you’re struggling with low energy and feeling tired in the day, I can support you to make healthy and sustainable habit changes to boost your energy levels and feel your best again. Simply contact me to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your symptoms and health goals.