When I first started writing seriously, I was waking up at 5:00am and had a little over two hours to do my thing before I had to get ready for work.
To add to that, my son had just been born, and so most of my time after work was also taken up. The combination of all this, combined with the mounting stress, led me to feel downright exhausted each day, nearly falling asleep anytime I had the chance to sit down.
It’s no surprise that energy is important. Without enough physical and mental energy we might be able to slug through what we do, but the costs are tangible:
- Absolute utter exhaustion: Pushing through the day while feeling like you just want to sleep is no fun at all.
- Reduced efficiency: Everything you do is of a lower quality and you’re more likely to mess things up or forget something.
- Reduced productivity: You get less done– period.
- And this affects your goals: You’re slower, less efficient, and less capable of capitalizing when an opportunity presents itself.
However, in my experience, most of us just keep slugging along and almost ignore the fact of our energy deficit as if it doesn’t exist. But there’s so much we can do to increase our energy level so we can do more of our best work each day and feel great while doing it.
7 Rituals to Increase Your Physical and Mental Energy
It’s so important to realize that every time you get upset, it drains your emotional energy. Losing your cool makes you tired. Getting angry a lot messes with your health.
– Joyce Meyer
Before I get into my suggestions, I want to make something really clear:
The mind and body are directly connected to one another.
This might sound a little “duh” but in my experience, most people don’t live in a way that reflects this fact. For example, it’s been shown in countless studies that stress has a direct effect on our physical health and energy. And where does stress come from? A lot of places, most of which begin in the mind.
I bring this up because, really, it’s the most important point of all. The points below are split between more physically-oriented and mental rituals, but they’re all on one list because they affect the entire body and mind together as one. If you take anything from this, take the knowledge that the condition of your mind affects your physical body and vice versa.
1. Develop self-awareness
Without self-awareness, you’re just guessing at what will help increase your energy when actually have no idea what exactly is draining you. That’s why this is the first ritual on the list as it serves as a basis for everything else.
At the end of a regular day, you might get home and say to yourself, “work was exhausting!” However, that’s a pretty broad statement that doesn’t actually identify anything in particular. Plus, pay attention to when your energy dips as well as that will also help you make proper course-corrections.
2. Use your energy more skillfully
Moving on from the last point, while self-awareness can help you identify both the source of stress and energy drain, you need to know when to stop and take a break to really make use of this information and when and where to apply your energy.
The way most of us live, we run around like chickens with our heads cut off acting like we’re either not able or worthy to take a break when in reality, this is really just a mental prison that couldn’t be more false.
The most important point here I’ve found is that most of us don’t allow ourselves to take a break because we feel we’re not worthy. “I haven’t accomplished enough!”, or, “I’m nowhere near my goal!” we say to ourselves. But that’s a very dangerous and damaging belief system. Before you can really optimize your energy usage, this needs to be dealt with.
The best way to do that? Take a friggin’ break. Do it enough times and you’ll see that it not only doesn’t make you any less productive, it actually helps make you more productive.
3. Master your morning routine
The next two points deal with optimizing your daily routine to maximize your energy levels each day. First: master your morning routine. This is all about what you do when you first wake up.
This is a major factor contributing to your energy level each day. This doesn’t require anything crazy, though. Even if you wake up thirty minutes earlier than normal and take a little time to do something therapeutic for you it can have a big effect.
If you want to take it a step further, start waking up earlier in thirty-minute blocks and adopt a collection of two to three morning rituals. A good combination of meditations and creative activities can really energize you and put you in the optimal state of mind for the day ahead. This makes a huge difference not just in your energy level but also in your productivity and efficiency for the rest of your day.
4. Master your nightly routine
On the flip side, create a nightly routine to go along with your new morning routine. It’s no secret that your energy level is dependent upon whether you’re fully rested, but most of us do nothing to improve the quality of our sleep.
This really comes down to three points that have worked best for me:
- Turn your devices off at least one hour before bed: The blue light emitted from smartphones, computers, and T.V.s messes with our brain and affects our sleep quality, so turn them off a bit before bed.
- Set a regular bedtime: A fluctuating bedtime also messes with our sleep quality because it throws off our internal clock. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it consistently.
- Have a nightly ritual: Adopt a simple nighttime ritual that helps calm your mind and prepare you for a deep night’s sleep.
5. Get active (even if for only 7 minutes)
Physical exercise isn’t a novel idea for increasing physical energy, as it’s been shown consistently in studies to do so, but most of us have a hard time sticking to a consistent exercise routine. For that, I have two major suggestions that have worked wonders for me.
First, find a physical activity which is connected to something you love. Don’t just lift weights and run. If you love nature, run outside at the local park. If you love to dance or listen to dance music of some kind, make dancing to your favorite music your active time.
Personally, I love the martial arts, which happens to be a great exercise, so I use that because I actually then really look forward to working out.
Second, most people are unaware that to get a good workout you actually don’t need to exercise for very long. HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a kind of physical training that involves quickly working your heart rate up and maintaining that rate for a short period of time. Even seven minutes has been shown to make a noticeable difference.
There are a lot of ways to increase your physical and mental energy, but one thing is for certain: most of us just don’t do enough. Stop living exhausted and at half-efficiency and take steps to increase your energy and start living better.