By 3 pm, do you feel as if you’ve run a marathon? You’re supposed to entertain a client at dinner, but even this pleasant task feels akin to rolling a boulder up Mt. Everest. What can you do to improve your focus and energy?
It all starts with making good choices. Everything you do either energizes or drains you. Striking the right balance can help you to live your best life.
1. Reframe Negative Thought Patterns
If you always focus on your problems, you’ll feel drained. Wear a rubber band around your wrist and give it a good snap when you notice negative thoughts intruding. Take time to validate how you feel by writing your emotions down.
Then, reframe these thoughts more positively. If you think, “I’ll never afford holiday presents, and my family will think I hate them,” counter this idea with, “I can take on a part-time job temporarily or make homemade gifts.”
2. Drink Green Tea
Do you reach for cup after cup of coffee to make it through the latter half of your day? If so, you could affect your ability to sleep at night — and get jittery at your desk. To boost your focus, alternate with green tea every other cup, darjeeling tea can be a great option.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, and it can even ward off Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. Various enzymes in the blend protect your neurons from oxidative stress and damage.
3. Practice Meditation
Meditation increases focus significantly. Top athletes swear by the process to get ready for game day. Find a place where you can sit quietly and comfortably. Take slow, deep breaths, and notice your thoughts without judgment as they emerge.
Then focus upon a goal that you have. Maybe you want to give a killer presentation at work the next day. Visualize it going off without a hitch. Allow yourself to feel the sense of pride you’ll achieve.
4. Get Your Body Moving
Exercise delivers an oxygen injection directly to your brain, boosting your energy levels naturally. Even taking a 2-minute walk around your office gets your blood flowing.
Most exercise physiologists recommend taking 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly — this works out to 30 minutes most days of the week. But you don’t need to carve out a full half-hour. You can do 10 minutes on one of your work breaks. Get additional training by biking or walking to work when the weather permits. You should also strength train 2-3 days per week.
5. Snack Smarter
Food is medicine. Downing a big, saturated fat-laden burger for lunch can lead to the afternoon doldrums. Then, you grab a pop or a candy bar to perk you up — temporarily — until your blood sugar crashes again.
Instead, opt for snacks high in protein and healthy fats. You can add pumpkin or chia seeds to yogurt for a healthy snack to power you through the remaining workday. If you consume dairy, low-fat string cheese makes an excellent snack. Crudites such as cauliflower contain filling fiber that sates hunger longer.
6. Eat More Vegetables
Nutritionists learn more about phytonutrients, the chemicals that give plants their vibrant hues, and their role in human health daily. To ensure you’re getting all the nutrition you need, strive to eat a rainbow every day. At each meal, aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Add radish or cucumber slices to a sandwich for a satisfying crunch. Add some arugula to your favorite wrap or blend it into a smoothie. Make a simple pasta sauce by mixing fresh basil and diced tomatoes with olive oil — for a bonus serving of vegetables, serve it over zoodles.
7. Take Breaks
In the U.S., many people wear exhaustion like a badge of honor. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of workers report that they won’t use all their paid time off this year. This lack of rest is destroying productivity on the clock.
If you want to increase your focus and energy, learn to take breaks. Stand up at least once every hour and step away from your work desk. If you’re fortunate enough to get paid leave, take it. You’ll return feeling renewed and ready to hit it hard once again.
8. Practice Sound Sleep Hygiene
One of the best ways to improve focus and energy is to get enough sleep. Sadly, many people take their electronic devices into the bedroom. The blue light from screens interrupts the production of melatonin, making it difficult to catch your Zzz’s.
Practice good sleep hygiene by falling asleep and waking up at the same time each day — even on the weekends. Make your bedroom into a retreat. Hang blackout curtains to reduce light from outside. Reserve the room only for sleep and invest in a proper alarm clock instead of relying on your phone.
Improve Your Focus and Energy Naturally
If you’re in a slump, you can break out of your rut and restore your energy and focus. Follow a few simple and pay attention to whether you start to feel better. People who struggle with ongoing unexplained fatigue may eventually want to consult a doctor. However, often a few simple lifestyle shifts do the trick — give these tips a try and see how you feel!
Kate is an online journalist from Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing about health, lifestyle, and culture. If you enjoy her work, you can visit her blog, So Well, So Woman.