Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 26, 2020

7 Causes of Low Energy (And How To Boost Yours)

7 Causes of Low Energy (And How To Boost Yours)

Although many do not recognize it, energy is the driving force to how each individual operates in the world. However, many people sometimes have low energy and unable to do things productively. As a result, there are numerous supplements and drugs available (over-the-counter and not) that aim to modify individual energy levels.

One can improve energy levels without the use of drugs and supplements. However, for an added boost, I do often suggest several all-natural/organic supplements that can be utilized effectively to increase energy.

Examine the areas of your life that you think can still be improved or “hacked”, as some may say. If you are honest with yourself, I’m sure you’ll identify these areas that could use some improvement.

But before you can learn how to boost your energy, you should know what causes your low energy in the first place.

Causes of Low Energy

We all can’t be full of energy all the time. Like everything in life, there are ups and downs in terms of our energy levels. Here are the 7 causes of low energy.

1. Circadian Rhythm and Lack of Sleep

Circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle of an individual. It repeats on each rotation of the Earth (roughly every 24 hours).

In our technological age, sleep has become an after-thought for many. Many people practice poor sleep habits, such as eating before bed, going to sleep too late, watching TV, or using smartphones/tablets before bed.

Advertising

All of these habits harm our circadian rhythm. Eating before bed and blue light exposure from screens are both major disruptors of our circadian rhythm.

2. Lack of Hydration

Surprisingly, when I speak with most people about hydration, they are the first to admit they don’t drink enough water. When people ask me about illness or even something as seemingly simple as a headache, my first question is always “do you drink enough water?”, and the answer is always no.

Why people don’t associate illness, disease, or dysfunctions within the body with a lack of hydration is beyond me, especially since up to 60% of the human adult body is water.

According to H.H. Mitchell, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, respectively. Moreover, the lungs are approximately 83% water, while muscles and kidneys are 79% water. The skin contains 64% water and bones are composed of 31% water.[1]

With that in mind, it’s honestly a no-brainer that if someone is feeling a bit off, hydration is the first thing to examine. Beyond simply consuming more water, the quality of water is also a factor.

Personally, I drink water that has been filtered through a Santevia filter, which helps restore the body’s natural pH level with an alkaline water filter system. Alternatively, I drink natural spring water. Both of these options are better approaches to water consumption.

3. Lack of Exercise

This goes beyond exercising in a gym. Most people live very sedentary lives where most of their day is spent either in bed (sleeping), watching TV (sitting), on a computer/smartphone (sitting), or commuting/driving (sitting).

Advertising

Rewind 10,000 or even 5,000 years and consider that most humans were up and active for the majority of the day. Movement is needed to generate energy and additionally, to increase circulation/blood flow and synovial fluid, which is primarily involved in reducing friction between the articular cartilages of your synovial joints when you’re moving.[2]

4. Poor Nutrition

In 2020, this has become even more prevalent for many people in society because fast-food chains have increasingly been the source of food. On the other hand, many people have taken it upon themselves to begin cooking more at home. However, even with grocery store ingredients, this can impede energy levels.

The old expression “you are what you eat” is absolutely true. Without going on a tangent, I will simply say that mass factory-farmed protein is not high-quality protein and chemically modified (pesticide sprayed) produce and vegetables is not ideal either. Most especially, fast-foods are generally unhealthy and give unneeded calories without much nutrients to justify it.[3]

5. Poor Breathing Patterns/Habits

This one really gets me in that much of our society now is wearing a mask throughout parts of the day or even the whole day. The problem with this is a lack of clean air/oxygen and an abundance of recycled carbon dioxide.

Heightened carbon dioxide and lack of clean oxygen can lead to Hypoxia (when body tissue does not get enough oxygen) or Hypercapnia (elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood causing dizziness, shortness of breath, headache, hyperventilation, seizures, and in extreme cases death.).

Poor breathing has already been a global epidemic as far as I can tell, especially with the increasing levels of air pollution. It is also caused by poor posture, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, stress, anxiety, and more. Now with the Covid-19 pandemic, improper use of masks can amplify the lack of oxygen that many had already been experiencing.

6. Overthinking

Overthinking, in general, can be extremely energy-draining for an individual. This ties-in with stress, depression, and anxiety. I even present the notion that excess thinking is something that can be carried over generationally, meaning if your parents (especially mother) had been prone to overthinking, it can be challenging for a child, especially later in life. This can be confirmed by the genetic carrying-over of certain mental illnesses, such as dementia, bipolarism, and more.[4]

Advertising

7. Overworking

Not taking time to unwind and relax will most likely lead to low energy levels. Life does not revolve around various types of work, though some would argue that point. Overworking and overthinking go hand in hand, and both need to be seriously examined by anyone looking to improve energy levels.

How to Boost Your Energy

Now that we know the main causes of low energy, we can now better tackle this problem. Here are some ways to help you boost energy.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Our society devalues sleep for some reason, yet it is the number one most effective way to ensure you feel alert and energized throughout the day. Begin with setting a plan for sleep habits.

As an example, I aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night during the week and 8-9 hours of sleep on weekends. The plan includes getting to bed before 12 am and, in some cases, before 11 pm. Part of this plan includes not eating at least 2 hours before bed, though I have to admit I don’t always achieve that and when I do eat too close to bedtime, it noticeably disrupts my sleep throughout the night.

2. Don’t Forget to Drink Water

Hydration is a simple one to tackle in my opinion. We’ve got so many third-party sleep and hydration tracking mobile apps nowadays and using your default phone reminders allows you to set a reminder to drink a glass of water.

I suggest setting a reminder to drink a glass of water (8oz for example) several times throughout the day. I personally feel best when consuming between 3-4L of water per day (approx 1 gallon).

3. Exercise

Exercise doesn’t need to be as strict as going into a gym and lifting weights, though I suggest doing just that as it is very beneficial for your physical and mental well-being. Simply going for a 15min walk 3-4 times throughout the day (walking for 45min-60min per day) would yield great results in terms of boosting your energy.

Advertising

Want to step it up a notch? Go walking in nature for that 60min per day as there are many benefits to ‘Forest Bathing’, ‘Nature Therapy’, or Shinrin-Yoku.

4. Try Yoga and Conscious Breathing

Yoga practices are something I have been adopting more as time goes on. The reason is simply that it combines a type of exercise/movement with focused/conscious breathing. As you can tell from this article, movement and breathing play a large part in the energy of an individual—from generating to expenditure. Here’s How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses).

Practice conscious breathing, and draw your attention to the breath more frequently throughout the day. One method I can suggest is to take a small thread or string and cut a piece that can wrap around your belly (navel) but not tightly. You should be able to fit 2 fingers (approx 1 inch) between the string and your belly. You can test the required length by taking a deep diaphragmatic (360-degree core expanding) belly breath and cutting the string at the point where your navel expands most.

Once you have the string in place, keep it on throughout the day. It acts as a physical queue/reminder that you should be expanding your full core and taking deep breaths throughout the day. This approach helps unlearn shallow or chest breathing habits. You will gradually notice an increase in energy on the sheer fact that you are breathing more optimally throughout the day.

5. Meditate to Avoid Overthinking and Overworking

Addressing overthinking and overworking happens in large part when one has a better grasp of the aforementioned energy boosters of sleep, hydration, exercise, and breathing.

Specifically addressing the matter of overthinking, I have in many cases suggested various forms of meditation. However, for this particular article, I’m circling back to Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing/Nature Therapy) as it allows one to perform a walking and nature-type meditation while boosting energy.

Regarding overworking, you’ll find that if you improve sleep habits, your waking state will substantially improve, and of course, you’ll also start generating and utilizing energy more optimally.

Bottom Line

Simply put, try these steps either one by one, a few at a time, or all at once. You will see improvements with each suggestion, and they are good remedies whenever you’re feeling low on energy. Energy begets more energy, meaning you will then continue to improve how you manage energy levels.

More Tips for When You Have Low Energy

Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Adam Evans

BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in many fields including health and fitness, science, philosophy, metaphysics, religion.

12 Stretching Exercises to Increase Your Flexibility Why Weight Lifting for Weight Loss Leads to Super Fast Results 7 Causes of Low Energy (And How To Boost Yours) Intermittent Fasting Diet for Beginners (The Complete Guide) 4 Simple Hacks to Lose Fat Fast (And Sustainably)

Trending in Restore Energy

1 How to Recover From Burnout Quickly and Feel Better 2 How to Get More Energy for an Instant Morning Boost 3 7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days 4 How to Take Time for Yourself and Restore Your Energy 5 7 Causes of Low Energy (And How To Boost Yours)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Recover From Burnout Quickly and Feel Better

How to Recover From Burnout Quickly and Feel Better

Professionals who experience burnout from work are often experiencing other difficulties in life that are compounding. While burnout can feel like a never-ending set of negative emotions, you can learn how to recover from burnout and feel better. If you do things right, burnout recovery may not even take very long!

Burnout can come with physical and mental symptoms. Meanwhile, you can suffer from burnout even if you are satisfied with your job and career. Therefore, learning how to recover from burnout is essential if you want to continue being productive and satisfied in your life and career.

Does Exhaustion Cause All Burnouts?

Christina Maslach and Herbert Freudenberger coined the term “burnout” in the 70s[1]. As psychologists, they independently understudied the impact of burnout on health workers and social service workers. They targeted their respondents based on chronic stress experienced, as well as the volume of interaction they had with others daily.

They discovered that burnout is not necessarily about exhaustion. There could be a detachment that comes in the form of displaying cynical behaviors towards clients or colleagues.

Also, it could come in the form of a sense of hopelessness or self-defeat with work.

Maslach subsequently came up with the Maslach Burnout Inventory, or MBI. This model is an inventory of 22 things that measure the three dimensions of burnout: depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and personal accomplishment. This model eventually turned out to be a measuring tool, or a blueprint, in the industry[2].

Furthermore, a group of Danish scientists developed a newer model known as the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, or CBI. This model analyzed burnout on three different dimensions: personal, work-related, and client-related[3].

All the aforementioned burnout models are quite complex, so instead of looking at them, you can consider these symptoms to see if you’re experiencing burnout. From there, you can begin to learn how to recover from burnout in a way that is unique to you.

Symptoms of Burnout From Work

Symptoms of burnout vary widely depending on the type of work you do, the environment you work in, the the kind of personality you have. If you notice any of these things, it may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout:

  • You’ve lost interest in your present job or project but cannot terminate it.
  • You’re always exhausted.
  • You need to motivate yourself to carry out the smallest tasks.
  • You feel you are compensated less compared to the value you bring into the job or project.
  • You have withdrawn from interacting with others.
  • You become short-tempered while communicating with clients and colleagues.
  • You have turned to bad habits like drugs, alcohol, high sugar intake, sedentary lifestyle, or overeating.
  • You question life and career choices generally.
  • You are experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, heart palpitations, or stomachaches.

The good news is that you can come out of it and learn how to recover from burnout once you become aware of the signs.

Advertising

5 Strategies to Recover From Burnout Quickly

The following strategies may help you bounce back from burnout.

1. Focus On Your Projects

The famous American Psychologist Abraham Maslow, in 1943, reiterated that anyone could achieve happiness as long as they can expressed themselves and maximized their potential.

This is what he termed “self-actualization.” He warned:

“The story of the human race is that of men and women selling themselves short.”[4]

Successful leaders of companies understand the significance of self-actualization. That’s why they allow their employees to work on personal or social projects. They also enable their workers to come up with and own social projects, which they implement as corporate social responsibilities.

If you’re working a 9-5 job, ensure you dedicate some hours in the morning or evening to personal projects, such as creating a blog or an app that solves problems for others.

That way, you can express your values while striving to attain your professional goals. This will help you feel a sense of control over how you are spending your time. Set boundaries between your personal and professional life to improve this. 

2. Practice Mindfulness

Meditation is a time-tested strategy to deal with burnout. According to research from Denmark, consistent meditation is connected to the development of more gray matter in your brain stem[5]. This can improve memory, self-control, decision-making, and more.

You can rewire your mind and brain to be more focused and productive by practicing meditation daily. Start small. Take a 10-minute break during work or early in the morning to practice mindfulness.

3. Detoxify Through Exercise

Toxins are poisons locked up in your system. One of the best things to do when you are learning how to recover from burnout is to detoxify through exercise. Exercise can increase your heart rate, which pumps blood faster and detoxifies your system.

Advertising

Have you noticed that you naturally feel better after a prolonged exercise that raises your blood pressure?

Anxiety is one of the major symptoms you will experience when you’re burned out from work, and exercise is a great way to quickly relieve that anxiety.

Joshua Broman, in a 2004 study, revealed that students who practiced exercise became less sensitive to anxiety[6]. Several additional studies have buttressed this benefit.

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine by swimming before work, taking a long walk in the afternoon, or spending some time at the gym in the evening.

4. Practice Journaling

Writing can heal. Writing about your emotions and experiences on a daily basis helps you process them, which can expedite the healing process.

One prominent literature review supported the idea that writing about your experiences can generate long term improvements in your mood and health[7].

How do you experience this healing when you are burned out from work life?

Keep a professional journal!

For instance, you can take a thirty-minute break during your weekends or quiet moments to assess your performance, progress, and the challenges you have faced in the past few days.

Itemize your achievements — the projects as well as the challenges that are holding you back. You can also list some uncertainties or questions about your present work. That way, you can discover patterns in your professional life and reflect on the next action to take.

Advertising

Journaling can enable you to discover solutions to potential issues before they surface. This technique is highly practical for those who love expressing themselves. However, if you don’t enjoy writing, you can use the bullet point format or memo feature on your phone to record answers to those questions.

5. Estimate the Tasks

Do you often feel like a superhuman when it comes to working, and then barely complete half of what you have planned to do?

If this is a common problem for you, try to learn how to accurately estimate how much time a task will take and how many tasks you can do in a day. When in doubt, overestimate the time.

It takes practice to become perfect in estimating tasks. Nevertheless, a surefire strategy that you can use to ensure you are working on the most important tasks is called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, shown below.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to learn how to recover from burnout.

    You can recover from burnout by revamping your work strategy using this model. Find out what task deserves most of your attention and in what order by establishing priorities.

    5 Job Burnout Triggers

    Once you have learned how to recover from burnout, it’s important to be able to recognize burnout triggers so that you can avoid more burnout in the future. Burnout recovery is best when you don’t have to use it!

    There are many things that may trigger burnout. Here are the most common culprits.

    1. Workload

    You can be more productive when you are working on a workload that aligns with your capacity. You will face more opportunities to rest and recover. It will also be an avenue for you to develop yourself and grow.

    That’s not the case when you are overloaded with work or are facing unrealistic deadlines set by your boss. You will lose the chance of regaining your balance.

    Advertising

    2. Absence of Autonomy

    The feeling that you don’t have access to vital resources and a say in various decisions that affect your professional life can impact your health.

    For instance, do you receive calls from your boss all night? Does your company saddle you with responsibilities beyond your capacity? Do you have what it takes to influence your work environment?

    3. Environment

    Who do you collaborate with? How trusting and supportive are those work relationships? In some instances, you can’t choose your work environment or colleagues, but you can optimize the relationship.

    Your environment can upgrade your engagement or downgrade it.

    4. Reward

    If the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards on the job don’t align with your level of effort, you may begin to feel a lack of motivation to exert any effort at all.

    For instance, you may need a face-time with your employer, positive feedback, or an increase in your compensation.

    Find out which reward makes you feel appreciated, and seek avenues to receive more of it.

    5. Values Mismatch

    If you are working in an organization that doesn’t share your same values, you will continue to see a decline in your level of motivation. Motivations and values are inbuilt in people and organizations. For instance, if you strongly believe in making an impact first, before money, you will experience burnout on the job in an organization that prioritizes money over impact.

    Final Thoughts

    Burnout from work is not only about getting exhausted. It is a multidimensional issue that demands a multifaceted solution.

    Don’t forget, you need to diagnose the problem first and make the best effort to change. If, despite all, you still fail, then you might need to reassess your work and decide if you’re where you need to be.

    More Tips on How to Recover From Burnout

    Featured photo credit: Doğukan Şahin via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next