Five Ways To Turbo Charge Your Energy

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Dr Linda Friedland In The Media

The demands, the deadlines and expectations of work leave many of us feeling exhausted.

You are hoping to feel energised and focused throughout the day. Yet by 2pm your energy sags. You have heaps of emails to get through, presentations to deliver and two or three more meeting in the long hours ahead.

You eat something quickly at your desk, drink another coffee and keep going, all the while feeling more and more depleted. You wonder whether sustaining your energy and performance is just an elusive dream. “Faster, bigger, more and more.”

This ethos of our business life is grounded in a totally misguided notion; the assumption that as humans we operate in a linear and sustainable fashion.

The reality is that we are not designed to run like a computer; continuously at high speed for long periods of time. Humans are not linear. The beating of our hearts, our respiration, muscles, cellular function and most importantly mental concentration is pulse-like and alternates through states of contraction and expansion.

Brief periods of recovery and restoration are essential for energy boosting and peak performance. The human battery must be recharged. Annual leave is great, so too are the weekends. However the need for renewal is far more immediate and is in fact a daily prerequisite.

A new and growing body of scientific research demonstrates that strategic ‘turbo-charging’— including improved workouts, short power naps, longer sleep hours and regular power foods boosts productivity, mental stamina, job performance and, of course, energy.

Here are the five best ways to turbo charge your daily energy:

Make sleep your number one priority

Sleep is undoubtedly the most powerful restorative tool we have at our disposal. In reality even small amounts of sleep deprivation undermine our body’s capacity for repair.

Compelling research demonstrates the effects of good quality sleep on cellular healing and optimal cognitive function.

We have accepted the conventional wisdom that an hour less sleep allows an hour more productive time. This couldn’t be farther from the scientific truth. Over 95 per cent of us require at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night for optimal energy.

Manage energy rather than time

Time is finite, but energy, the capacity to do work, can be expanded and regularly renewed. Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance and yet we misuse it badly.

We eat highly processed, refined foods and high sugar instead of nourishing super-foods. We sit for long periods of time causing stasis of our blood flow and poor oxygenation of our body and brain.

Not much positive comes from putting in extra time without devoting high quality focused energy.

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Get stressed

Stress is not the enemy. It is the key to growth. Most stress is actually good for us. For a muscle to grow it must experience stress: as happens when we lift a weight. We build ‘muscle’ at many levels.

What applies to the physical body applies equally to the brain and other energies. We build emotional, spiritual and mental energy in much same way we build physical capacity.

Focus in the most absorbed way possible when you are working and then take a break at least every 90 minutes to refuel your energy reservoir.

The problem is that when we push too hard for too long, it tips us over the edge into damaging and destructive stress.

Interrupt your day

It’s not how long you take off that matters most, but how skilfully you use these very short periods of renewal. The simplest way to recharge energy is by breathing.

You can dramatically lower your heart rate, your blood pressure and your muscle tension in as little as thirty seconds. Break up prolonged sitting times with short bursts of activity.

This provides an opportunity to take a breath and push your ‘pause’ button for a few moments. Moreover it is a highly effective way to stimulate your muscle and nerve function, increasing the flow of blood throughout your body and brain. Use the stairs whenever possible.

Take a brisk walk during your lunch break or at least eat lunch away from your desk. And make sure to eat a power snack mid morning and mid afternoon.

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