Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beat the Winter Doldrums: Boost your energy challenge

Ready for a challenge to help beat the winter doldrums?  How about if you consistently had a high level of energy?  What would you do then?  I am starting a Boost Your Energy Challenge to run from December 1, 2011 until March 31, 2012.  I know winter hasn't officially started at the beginning of December, but these are the months when I find my energy fairly low due to wintery weather.  Join me in reversing the energy drain of winter.

I am really interested right now in how I can increase my energy level.  Thanksgiving day I found I was exhausted from standing around in the kitchen for hours and generally pretty tired from a more active holiday weekend than I am used to.  Since one of my 12 Happiness Commandments is to Focus on Energy and I really see that as a key to happiness I have decided to create a customized plan for increasing my energy level.  This will also help address the lack of long term goals I am currently experiencing which is another gap in achieving my Happiness Commandments.

So here's the challenge. Let's kick off 2012 with a plan and commitment to increase our energy levels by taking specific steps during the next 4 months!  Energy drives our ability to do so many things and certainly affects my happiness.

1. Start by creating a customized energy plan. 
2. Set some real goals with deadlines and measurements.
3. Commit to weekly check ins - how are you honestly doing?

Want to create your own custom plan to increase your energy level?  You can get some great ideas by checking out this post by Myrko Thum; The 5 Most Effective Ways to Increase Your Own Energy Level, this article in Real Simple How to Increase Your Energy Levels, a great post on 55 Ways to Get More Energy at Zen Habits, and this post of Gretchen Rubin's (be sure to check out the comments section for more ideas) 8 Tips for Boosting Your Energy RIGHT NOW.

Let me know what ideas you are incorporating in your plan. 

Here's mine.  It does not include a lot of things that you might think are essential to a high energy level.  I am not saying that getting enough sleep, reducing your stress level, eating a balanced diet, getting your thyroid level checked, making sure your vitamin intake is on target, looking at the positive side of things, etc. aren't important factors to consider when you want to increase your energy level.  However these are not concerns for me right now.

1. Stretch every morning.  I know what to do, I have short sessions and a longer one with a DVD.  I just need to do it.

2. Get moving more by having at least 20 minutes of cardio exercise 4 times a week!  Walking the dog doesn't count as much of the time is spent training (correcting LOL) the dog who thinks "heel" is a short term activity!

3. Drink more water. I may be dehydrated which can make you feel tired.  This is the dark side of really liking to drink coffee. 

4. Keep my blood sugar balanced by having the right type of snacks that combine protein with carbs and a little fat.  Low glycemic foods (the good carb foods) include fruits and vegetables, grains, low-carb foods like meats, and pasta. Check this chart of foods and their glycemic index before planning my trips to the grocery store. Lots of suggestions include nuts which could be a problem with my braces right now.  I need to explore this some more but possibilities include: peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker, some yogurt with a handful of nuts and berries, granola bar, frozen berry smoothie, a low-fat latte instead of just a cup of coffee (a happy dance for this idea) with an ounce of almonds (does an almond biscotti count?).

5. Deal head on with the afternoon slump.  I am definitely a morning person and an early riser which means I really have an afternoon slump built into my circadian rhythms.  How to counteract that?  Ideas:
- Put on some energizing music and dance around the house to combat the afternoon slump.
- Have some social interaction with an interesting/up beat person.  Get my mind firing on all cylinders by talking about something I feel passionate about.
- Focus on something that really stretches my right brain (I am very left brain).  When I used to paint I know the time flew by without my feeling that my energy was low.

6. Go outside - dog included is OK.  Take advantage of sunshine and fresh air for some energy.

BONUS:  Fix a "squeaky wheel" that is draining energy.   For some people this could mean upgrade your computer that can’t keep up, or replace your dishwasher that requires you to spend time washing before and after.  I'll have to think about what it is for me.


  1. These are great ideas. I always feel so much better when I go walking OUTSIDE in the fresh air. I also find that when I clean the house or declutter, even though I don't feel like doing it initially, I feel so much better having a clean home that is organized and decluttered.


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