We are all surrounded by stress daily. Being exposed to stress can have long-term effects on both physical and psychological health. Sometimes, it’s not more than being annoyed with something, but it can also be so severe that you feel mentally exhausted and depressed.
While you can learn to control the stress, it’s impossible to completely eliminate it from your life. The best way to do it is by drastically increasing your energy levels and your mood, by adopting a new and healthier lifestyle. Take a look at the following ways to do just that!
1. Change your diet
Let’s start with something simple and that’s eating better. For many, changing a diet means cutting back on calories and having inedible meals. This is a bad rap dieting inherited from decades ago when scientists didn’t have the resources for more in-depth research on the connection between food and energy levels.
If you don’t eat properly, you may feel tired and bring more stress into your life by developing some of the serious conditions, from diabetes to high blood pressure. To remedy this, you have to stop consuming foods with added sugar, processed grains, and high saturated and trans fats. Use complex carbs and protein in your meals to give you an all-day energy boost, like salmon, whole wheat bread, dark chocolate, and eggs. Not only will you eat healthier, but also tastier and more beneficial food for your mood.
2. Choose a hobby
Having a hobby is a nice way to relax and clear your head. It can be anything that interests you and makes you feel good. Painting is peaceful, while dancing will get your blood pumping, but both will have the same effects of raising your energy levels.
However, what kind of hobby you choose is up to you. The most important thing is that it brings you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that will fuel the improvement of your mood. For example, art therapy is a recognized method for stress relief and enhancing focus. If you are more into something physically active, dancing may be a good option, whether with others or alone in your living room.
3. Socialize more
There are two types of people — extroverts who are outgoing and socially confident, and introverts who are shy and reserved. Nonetheless, both require social interactions to an extent that makes them comfortable. A 2015 research revealed that the basic form of language may have appeared because early hominids needed ways to communicate and share ideas.
Today, socializing is more than just communication between people. It forms relationships that can make you happier and boost your mood. Face-to-face interactions can lead to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that can lower stress levels and improve your emotional response.
4. Limit your time on social media
While socializing can be good for you, not all forms are desirable in high amounts. Social media may be a good way to connect to others, but it can also be the cause of your energy depletion. A person can become overwhelmed by the content there, from other people promoting their success to companies encouraging you to buy something.
All this information can lead to fear of missing out or FOMO that can cause a considerable amount of anxiety and make you feel left out. Although the majority of these posts don’t provide a realistic insight into other social media users, it can still affect you psychologically. You may feel exhausted and not in the mood for anything because you think you are unwanted or unlucky. Limiting your time on social media and using it more for interaction and less for observing may bring you the positive aspects of having an online presence.
5. Try gardening
A backyard or a balcony are perfect excuses to spend time outside, but also to put your hands and mind to work. Based on a 2020 study conducted in the USA, gardening can be a source of happiness and serve as a mood-boosting activity. According to findings, tending to your garden may have the same energy-elevating effects as walking or cycling.
But that fair amount of physical activity is not the only reason you will feel better. The process of creating something and seeing the fruits of your labor is uplifting and can bring a sense of achievement.
6. Pay attention to sleeping
Sleep deprivation may not always require you to spend more time catching z’s. Actually, you may need to sleep less. This comes from the fact that you need to pay attention to the quality of your sleep and not the hours you spend being asleep.
On average, a person needs 6–8 hours of solid and uninterrupted sleep so your brain and body can go through all the cycles. To make sure that happens, you should avoid having siestas during the day, ban electronic devices from your bedroom, and minimize the noise. You can also use an app to monitor your sleep and figure out what wakes you up during the night. If you are waking up tired, it’s the first sign you should find a way to improve your sleep and get your energy levels up.
7. Drink enough water
Forget about energy drinks that contain too much sugar and caffeine. What your body needs is water and lots of it to stay hydrated. Water helps the body flush out toxins, increases physical performance, aids digestion, and boosts energy.
To stay in excellent cognitive and physical shape, men should drink 15.5 cups of fluids, and women 11.5 cups. To motivate yourself to drink water even when not thirsty, install an app that will remind you to drink throughout the day. Additionally, infusing the water with fruits, herbs, and veggies may improve its taste and bring more nutrients to your body.
8. Eliminate bad habits
Eliminating bad habits should be high on the list to increase your energy levels and your mood. Unfortunately, some habits are easy to shake off, while others demand more resolve and effort. This is why it’s important to do it one at a time and try not to overwhelm yourself.
For example, stop having alcohol with lunch since it can make you drowsy and tired. Nicotine in tobacco can cause insomnia and wake you up at night, leading to poor sleep quality. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s good for your overall help and will make you feel better about yourself.
9. Create a healthy morning routine
The way you start your morning may determine your energy levels throughout the day. Eating breakfast should be the first thing you do when you wake up and not drinking coffee. Oatmeal and fruits are full of fibers and will keep you satiated longer, chasing away the fatigue.
Stretching or yoga for 15–20 minutes will get your blood pumping and bring more oxygen to the organs, helping you wake up. After you are done, have a cup of coffee to sharpen up and increase your focus. If you don’t like this popular beverage, opt for green tea which is another healthy source of energy.
10. Start with regular exercise
Exercising is not only good for toning the muscles and losing weight. During the workout, your body produces chemicals known as the feel-good hormones that regulate the mood, like endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline. Additionally, regular exercise can increase the levels of serotonin — a happiness hormone that can help you fight stress and improve emotions.
Moreover, using certain supplementation with exercise may also bring benefits to the mind, as well as the body. For example, creatine, commonly used to increase muscle performance can also energize the brain. According to a 2002 Japanese study, subjects who performed mathematical tasks and taken creatine experienced a reduction in mental fatigue. Mental exhaustion is common in people exposed to long-term stress, so adding creatine to your diet may improve your exercise performance and mood.
11. Spend time in the sun
The weather can play a vital role in your mood and energy levels. During seasons with less sunlight, some people may develop the seasonal affective disorder. This is a mood disorder when people, who otherwise don’t have mental health problems, experience signs of depression.
This puts an emphasis on the importance of sunlight for energy levels and improving the mood. Open the curtains and let the natural light in, spend your work break in a sunny outdoor area or in the park. Besides making vitamin D, your body will produce serotonin and keep you energized and awake.
- Have time for self-care
Self-care is not selfish, but a necessary activity you can give yourself. If paying for a spa day is over your budget, create a relaxing atmosphere at home with candles and a hot bath. Having a massage is more than recommended to loosen up the tension and eliminate stress.
Sometimes, all you need is having time for yourself and the things you love to do, like binge-watching a TV show or crocheting. Being kind to yourself can make you more satisfied and feel fulfilled, in turn giving you the energy to face any obstacle at work or your personal life.
- Declutter your home
Clutter in your home, at the office, or even in your closet can raise your stress levels. A study conducted at the University of California in 2010 showed that people who have messy homes experience fatigue, depression, and have raised cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Another downside of clutter is that it brings embarrassment and can lead to isolation from other people.
To take care of this problem, start decluttering with a plan and go one step at a time. It’s best to divide your home into zones by rooms or types of clutter. Just decluttering one zone can elevate your energy and make you feel better about yourself.
- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness has become trendy for a good reason — it can help you focus on the present and by doing so, improve your wellbeing. Through meditation and breathing techniques you can learn to keep the focus on the things that matter and not dwell on the regrets of the past. Accepting the emotions you have, no matter if they are negative or positive, and learning to let them go can free you from a considerable amount of stress.
Meditation is not the only way to practice mindfulness. Work on accepting yourself, live in the moment and pay attention to the world around you. All this can help you deal with negative thoughts and give you the energy to experience life moving forward.
15. Surround yourself with nature
Just looking at nature can lift the mood. Even listening to nature sounds can be beneficial and help you stay focused. Bringing plants into your home and workspace is a great way to start therapy with nature.
However, finding an opportunity to surround yourself with greenery completely away from the city noise is even better. Hiking is a great outdoor activity that will allow you to slowly immerse yourself in nature and take it all in. Camping is another way that you can experience nature, especially if you need space to recharge and clear your head.
16. Consider psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is an effective way to talk about your problems with a professional and overcome the emotional difficulty they cause. Sometimes people feel ashamed to visit a psychiatrist or psychologist, but there is nothing shameful in taking care of your health.
During the psychotherapy, you will talk about your worries, issues, and traumas that may have caused you to feel down and exhausted. A therapist will carefully listen, ask questions, and offer advice on how to deal with the things that are ailing you. Taking off your chest what bothers you without being judged or scolded is already beneficial enough for many.
Caring for your wellbeing is not easy, but it brings many rewards and benefits to your health. To increase your energy levels and your mood, you need to be prepared to make hard choices and get out of your comfort zone. Finding the strength to change your life for the better is fulfilling and will show you how wonderful you are.