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I'll share a simple and realistic approach we can use to fight stress and fatigue. These are some of the quickest and easiest ways I have found to increase energy!
A PROBLEM WE ALL FACE
I could not write about this topic fast enough! Lately, I’ve had so many friends reach out because they just can’t seem to beat the evening "crash and burn." I keep hearing the same thing, from some of the most health conscious and amazing women that I know! I’m right there with you. Some days I too feel like I'm drowning in a sea of stress, fatigue, and mental fog. Something tells me working full time, raising two young kids, and being in the process of moving isn’t helping.
Let’s be honest, we aren’t going to stop taking on the world, each in our own badass-motivated way. However, “Netflix and chill” should be an optional evening activity, and not an inevitable feeling of “Netflix and die.” I don't know about you, but I need to do something about this NOW! If by the end of each day we are completely drained of energy, we are at risk of all that stress and fatigue leading to a devastating episode of total burnout. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
We have to slow down, even if just for a brief moment, and start to take small, daily steps to shift our energy.
A SIMPLIFIED & REALISITIC SOLUTION
As a part of my fellowship I’m studying the concept of holistic human performance optimization. The framework addresses health and well-being across multiple domains to help Soldiers ensure they are ready and resilient. While we aren’t exactly Soldiers facing combat, we are all out there facing our own wellness challenges.
It got me thinking, can we (often busy moms) find SUPER simple things we can fit into each day to more holistically address our energy issues? I continue to play around with ways I can attack low energy levels and I’m challenging you to do the same.
WHERE TO START
I’ll provide suggestions to address different areas of wellbeing. Your challenge is to choose one of these to do every single day. Consider addressing the area that is your biggest pain point in order to maximize your energy-boosting results. However you approach it, start with what’s most realistic for you. Know it is possible to find simple and realistic ways to take care of ourselves each day. We have to start somewhere and each proactive step we take will make a difference!
The following ideas take only a few minutes of our time but can MASSIVELY impact our energy levels if regularly incorporated into our day.
Domain 1. Social Health
Connect With Others To Shift Energy
Something that has helped my husband and I start the kidless evening hours with a lighthearted and energetic mood is to share at least one good thing about our day. It takes only a minute of our time, yet this intentional moment of connection has a massive impact on how the rest of our evening goes.
To try it, choose one question you and your partner would like to regularly discuss. It could be something that made you laugh, what you well today, or a challenge you overcame. To keep the mood upbeat it may be worth adding an agreement that if an extra challenging day is weighing on you, that you will work together to brainstorm ways to be strong and resilient.
Domain 2. Our Environment
Life’s Little Blessings Reenergize & Reset Our Day
Ever hear the phrase, "Fill your home with only things you believe to beautiful?" Not exactly possible with Legos, dirt-covered trucks, and well-loved baby dolls lying around! However, what is something that you absolutely love? Is it a certain candle scent, uplifting music, or using a favorite cozy blanket?
Commit to taking time to incorporate at least one of your favorite things into your day. Use that special item as a cue to stop for a moment, take a deep breathe, and think, “Wow, this brings me so much joy and puts some serious pep in my step!” Actively working to associate our favorite things with a moment of gratitude can go a long way for reenergizing ourselves. Placing a colored sticky note on the item can help remind you to practice this daily.
Domain 3. Mental Health
HeartMath & Visualization Activate an Energized Life
I first learned about HeartMath when working as a School Wellness Coordinator. The technology is used in hospitals and by health professionals to help improve ability to focus, sleep, feel calm, and reduce fatigue and depression. We purchased the HeartMath Inner Balance Trainer so Social Workers could help students struggling with stressful and emotional challenges.
I decided to get one of these handy stress-busting tools for myself and my 4-year-old son to try. I now use it for just a few minutes every day to help train my mind and body to be more resilient to stress. It works through an app and small ear clip, which monitors heart rhythm to guide us through quick, easy breathing patterns. The science helps us reach physiological coherence; a state of increased order and harmony in our mind, emotions, and body. With practice we can learn how to self-activate this refreshing, positive, and invigorating state to benefit the entire body and positively affect how we think, feel, and perform. Click on the above picture to learn more.
Have you ever considered taking advantage of the power of visualization? This one took me a minute to get on board with, but many professional athletes and successful entrepreneurs swear this technique helps them focus on and realize their goals. Visualization is based on the principle of what we focus on, we find. Even more so, what we focus on right before we go to sleep is downloaded and installed within our subconscious mind.
One thing we can try to reverse our state of being tired all the time, is to take a few minutes each evening to visualize how we want to feel. In order for this to work well we need to really focus on the experience of feeling energetic - What does it look like? What does it feel like? Are we dancing around with our kids, laughing? Can we see our family smiling as we feel light, happy, and alive? I'm in the process of making visualization a regular part of my night time routine and I've found it to be surprisingly fun and helpful!
Domain 4. Physical Health
Realignment + Deep Breath = New You
Do you own a foam roller, large exercise ball, or a slightly deflated basketball? Take a moment to realign yourself! Most of us spend too much time in a forward head posture and it can cause our body some serious stress and tension. One simple trick that has helped to restore my body and energy levels is to lie back on a ball or roller and stretch my arms wide to open my chest. You can roll around a bit, just lay back and chill, or take a few calming deep breaths.
Another version of this idea is to take something you regularly do and use it as a reminder to realign your body and engage your core. Standing to fill a water cup at the fridge never looked so good if your are relaxed, realigned, and revamping your core! A personal favorite of mine is at every red light I take a deep breathe, roll my shoulders down and back, align my ears with my shoulders and hips, sit up straight, and pull my belly button in.
Domain 5. Nutrition
Adaptogens Are Nature's Answer to Stress
How our body reacts to stress is a complex interaction of processes, including dramatic effects on our hormones. For years, ancient medicine has used adaptogens to help our body "adapt" to and resist physical, chemical, and biological stressors. Many people are now incorporating powerhouse herbs such as rhodiola, ashwagandha, eleuthero, and wolfberry into their nutrition to help reduce mental fatigue and improve attention and focus.
While there are many adaptogen-based products available, one that has made a huge difference in my life is Ionix Supreme. I prefer this premade, quality tested formula because it includes adaptogens shown to specifically target stress and fatigue. You can learn more about adaptogens in this video.
Domain 6. Spiritual Health
“5 & 5” to Beat a Long Day
Does an extra long day have you sprinting to the couch after the kids are tucked in? Commit to taking just 5 quick minutes to take a brief walk, bust out a favorite yoga pose, or stretch an especially tense area. While doing so, name off 5 things you are grateful for. It’s amazing how refreshing taking just a few positive, proactive moments can be. Every little bit counts, especially on rough days!
So where are you going to start? Can you commit a few minutes every day to refresh your energy levels? Over time, we can work to create our own holistically based strategy to beat stress and fatigue. I’m going to start by using my HeartMath more consistently, once on my lunch break, and once immediately after the kids go to bed.
I’d love to hear if you find anything especially useful! Comment below or use #teamvalentineproject on Instagram to share ideas.
Together, we can find ways to make wellness work.
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Panossian, A. & Wikman, G. (2009). Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19500070
The Science of HeartMath. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.heartmath.com/science/