Our wellness journey is composed of so many variables that can determine its success and sustainability – whether it’s physical exercise, diet, or our mental state. While diet and exercise tend to get the most attention from experts, gurus, and the media, our emotional well-being is critically important to ensuring we’re able to do all the other good things like eat well and move our bodies. The mind-body connection has received increased attention over the years, with more experts agreeing it’s a critical piece to our overall health as well as understanding our physical and emotional well-being.
Given the events of the last few years, it’s no surprise that we all may be feeling stressed, run down, and even burnt out. And with the events and obligations that the holiday season brings, our stressors may be piling up faster than that gift list. During times like these it’s important that we take care of ourselves and ensure that we find ways to relieve stress and reinvigorate our mental and emotional health. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health and leave us feeling not only mentally spent but physically exhausted as well.
If you’ve been feeling run down and mentally fatigued, there are steps you can take to counteract these symptoms and help you better navigate the challenging moments that life inevitably brings.
- Keep H2O close at hand. Many of us don’t drink enough water throughout the day and even mild dehydration can leave us feeling tired, groggy, and achy. Since our bodies are 70% water, hydration is critical to our most basic cellular functions, and our cells, organs, and tissues need water to function properly and optimally. A good rule of thumb for how much water to drink is to divide your body weight in half and drink that much in ounces. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water a day. Try setting reminders or keeping a full bottle of water nearby to help you remember to keep drinking throughout the day.
- Make time for fun. Remember when you were young and playing was just part of your day? A great way to refresh your mind and body is to build in breaks to have fun. You could take a dance break, go for a walk in nature, draw, play an instrument, knit, or cook – whatever brings you joy! For an extra boost, consider taking play breaks outside where sunlight can help increase the release of serotonin, otherwise known as the “happiness hormone.”
- Move your body. Not only is physical exercise good for your body, it’s good for the mind, too. Regular exercise can improve your sleep (helping you feel more rested during the day) and helps our bodies deliver more oxygen to our brain and tissues, which can help clear out that “brain fog.” Exercise also releases endorphins which can help us feel more energized and motivated. Any exercise, whether it’s walking, running, or yoga offers these benefits, but you may want to steer clear of high intensity workouts if you’re already feeling tired or mentally fatigued. Be sure to listen to your body – it will tell you what it needs.
- Eat energy-boosting food. We all know that eating healthy food has a laundry list of benefits for our physical health, and that includes helping us feel more energized. That afternoon slump where all you want is a bag of chips and the closest couch could be a result of not fueling your body in the best way. To keep our bodies revved up throughout the day, consider eating soluble fiber, healthy fats, and proteins at each meal. For breakfast, think of food like oats with berries, cinnamon, and nut butter. For lunch, choose foods that increase oxygen levels in your blood which can give you an energy bump – and help you keep it. This includes food such as dark leafy greens (like kale or spinach), legumes, lentils, grass-fed meats, avocado, and fruit. And perhaps most importantly, pick food that you actually enjoy!
- Practice mindfulness. With 24/7 entertainment and our devices constantly buzzing at us, it’s easy to think about a million things at once and get overwhelmed. Taking a few minutes every day to ground ourselves in the present moment can help us slow down, ease stress, and feel gratitude -all things which can help combat mental and physical fatigue. Activities such as yoga, meditation, or breathwork can all be great ways to help us get in the moment. Additionally, taking the time to focus on your breathing (which many mindfulness activities do) can increase oxygen in your blood, which in turn can boost energy and even improve cognitive ability.
An Energetic Mind = An Energetic Body
Feeling exhausted – physically and/or mentally is an inevitable part of being human. And there are times when we need to just stop, rest, and recharge. But there are also methods and tactics we can employ to combat fatigue and keep ourselves going in a healthy and productive way. However you choose to do it – by eating energy boosting food, getting in a walk, or meditating, be sure to stick with it. Not only can these approaches help you boost your energy, they can also help you be better prepared for the next challenge (and opportunity) coming your way.
If you’re ready to start your wellness journey and need a little extra support, reach out to Forge. We have a team of personal trainers ready to create a custom nutrition and fitness program to help you reach your goals.