When we think of boosting our energy, we often think in terms of adding something to our lives to increase it. But there are times when taking away something will give you just as much of an energy boost.
We all have things in our life that zap our energy. You’d be surprised at how well identifying those energy zapping habits and getting rid of them will improve your energy level. It’s a great way to start your energy boosting lifestyle… Take away the stuff that drains you so you have enough energy to tackle the new challenges you set for yourself.
What habits should you eliminate if you want to increase your energy? Here are three of the most common:
- Too much caffeine
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Energy Zapper #1: Smoking
As someone who smoked heavily for 30 years, I can tell you this is one of the worst energy zappers there is. I was amazed when I finally quit at how much extra energy I had, and how quickly it came back!
It’s not just the nicotine that’s the problem. It’s all the other poisonous gases and carcinogens that you inhale along with the nicotine that do the most damage. If you’re anything like I was, there was no energy to be had. The more I told myself I needed that smoke to get moving, the less I felt like moving. The real kicker came when I couldn’t walk from the living room to the kitchen without running out of breath – a distance of about 15 feet.
That’s what smoking does to you. It robs you of your energy, along with your ability to breathe at the same time as it poisons you with all the extra stuff that’s in there.
I’ll get off my soapbox now, except to say I know quitting is not easy. Get help… there are patches, pills, and all sorts of things that will help. Whatever you do, don’t resort to e-cigarettes as a replacement. New studies are showing that they come with a whole host of different problems.(source)
Energy Zapper #2: Too Much Caffeine
There are millions of coffee-drinkers around the world, with the U.S. being the number one coffee consuming country globally. A 2011 Huffington Post article states there are 400 million cups of coffee consumed every day in the U.S. alone! (source) More recent research done in May 2015 found that 54% of all adult Americans drank at least one cup a day, and 65% percent of those drank their coffee at breakfast. (source)
If you’re a person who uses caffeine to give yourself a jolt of energy to start the day, this is one of those habits that actually has the opposite effect on your body. It actually robs you of energy instead of boosting it. It’s possible that too much caffeine is what makes it so hard to get out of bed in the first place.
I won’t bore you with all the science (you can read an explanation here), but basically what happens is caffeine blocks the part of your brain that makes you tired. So when you should be winding down, your body thinks it still has plenty of energy to keep going because, in essence, your brakes are not working.
As I mentioned in the last article, this only gives you the illusion of having more energy. A big downside to this is that it leads to a tolerance of and dependence on the caffeine. You need more and more of it to feel normal.
When you stop drinking coffee (and other caffeinated drinks) you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Those withdrawal symptoms are one of the things that leave you feeling sluggish in the mornings! But once you get over them, you’ll be surprised at just how much more of a morning person you become!
Energy Zapper #3: Procrastination
Procrastinating wastes your valuable time without giving you the permission you need to properly rest. It’s a bad habit to fall into because it leaves you in a suspended state where you’re not energetic enough to accomplish what you want to, and not restful enough to actually recharge and replenish your energy.
It’s the worst kind of energy zapper because not only do you feel drained and unmotivated, it’s doubly draining when you try to work your way through it.
Instead of trying to gain more energy by powering your way through your state of procrastination, you’ll get more if you let yourself hit the off switch for a while. You need to recharge and let your energy banks refill themselves. Sometimes a whole day off is best, and sometimes it only takes an hour or two.
Getting outside and going for a walk is a great way to get a quick recharge if you don’t have a whole day. I find that when I go walking, once I come back inside I have more energy and am much more willing to tackle the project I was dreading before I went out.
The thing is most people, especially women, tend to take care of everyone and everything else around them before they take care of themselves. We’ll justify powering through when we know we need a rest.
The best way to keep the energy zappers away is to make sure you take the time for self-care. Avoiding negative habits like drinking too much caffeine, smoking, and playing the procrastination game are a good first start to taking care of yourself and getting your energy levels back to where they should be.
What’s your energy zapper? How do you keep it at bay? Share your thoughts in the comments below.