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  • Writer's pictureSarah Butler

11 Proven Ways to Improve Your Energy Levels at Work

Feeling tired and worn out at work can be extremely discouraging and debilitating; you want to be productive and motivated, but your mind and/or body just don't have the energy. Not only may the standard of your work suffer, but you could also miss deadlines, make poor decisions, lose focus, and tarnish your professional reputation if this occurs consistently. But it is possible to replenish your energy and have a productive and enjoyable workday. By following these 11 proven ways to boost your energy levels, you can be focused, stay alert, and get back on track.

1. Get some light

If your workspace has blinds, open them up to let as much light in as possible. If you don't have any windows then ensure your lighting is set to bright as this will make you feel more alert. Even your monitor can play a part in your energy levels since a greater degree of illumination can reduce the production of hormones that make you drowsy. Modify the brightness settings of your screen to increase its luminosity. Lastly, consider using a daylight lamp. These lamps are designed for people with seasonal affective disorder but studies have shown that they can also improve your cognitive alertness.

2. Look up

If you are feeling really drowsy then look up. You physically cannot doze off if your eyes are looking upward so raise your laptop, phone or monitor to just above eye level to prevent drooping eyelids - it works!

3. Play some tunes

Listening to music at work can reduce stress, provide motivation, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood, leading to increased energy and productivity.

According to some research, it isn't the sound of the music that is essential in aiding concentration and productivity, but the pace or speed. It has been discovered that songs with a tempo of 50 to 80 beats per minute can boost creativity and learning.

Classical, nature and epic styles of music have been shown to enhance cognitive function and concentration,. However, while listening to your favourite music or artist can give you energy, and enjoyment you may end up being distracted by what you are hearing soit can be best to stick to music without lyrics.

4. Have a laugh

Laughter releases endorphins that increase energy levels and reduce stress and anxiety. Endorphins are hormones that create feelings of happiness. They also act as natural painkillers. Laughter also increases the circulation of oxygen in the body, which can improve mental focus, mood and energy. Additionally, it helps to reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can prevent fatigue and increase energy levels. So watch a funny video or have a quick catch up with some amusing colleagues to pump up your energy.

5. Move around

Physical activity stimulates the central nervous system, which will increase your energy levels and alertness. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can choose from a wide range of activities to get your blood moving and help you feel more awake. These include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing desk exercises like stretching, or going for a quick walk around the building. Just five minutes of activity provides benefits to your energy levels and mental alertness for up to two hours.

6. Stay hydrated

Feeling tired during the day could be a sign that you need to drink more water. We often don't pay attention to how thirsty we are, so we don't drink enough water, which causes our energy levels to drop. Studies show that people who drink two or three cups of water every hour have increased concentration, alertness, and less fatigue than those who do not.

Drinking more water can help you to boost your energy levels in several ways. First, it helps to regulate your metabolism, which is your body's ability to convert food into energy. Water also helps to keep your muscles energised, as dehydration causes fatigue and weakened muscles. Drinking water also helps to keep your brain functioning at its full capacity, since your brain is mostly water. When your brain is adequately hydrated, it is able to think, focus, and concentrate better, and you experience increased energy levels. Lastly, water helps to control your body temperature, which is important for energy production.

Whenever your energy levels start to drop, grab a tall glass of water. According to the Institute of Medicine, men should consume approximately 3 litres of liquid per day, whereas women should consume around 2.2 litres. The best way to overcome this problem is to keep a water bottle near you at all times. You can even get apps that will give you an alert that it is time to drink water.

7. Take a break

Taking breaks is an important part of staying productive for most people, but it can also help you recharge and boost your energy levels. A study found that workers who took frequent breaks felt more refreshed and ready to work than those who didn't.

If you're feeling worn out get up, stretch, and get a drink of water. Breaks can also help to improve focus, as taking regular breaks can help to reset the mind and keep it functioning at its best. Don't look at your phone on your break because this doesn't give your brain a rest.

8. Change up your scenery

If you've been working in the same environment for a while and feel worn out, try changing your scenery. Sit in a different chair, find an area with natural light or go to a completely different space to do your work. Your brain enjoys the novelty of a new environment and this will make you mentally more alert.

9. Snack well

Foods that can give you energy throughout the day include oatmeal, spinach, sweet potatoes, eggs, fruits, green tea, nuts, soybeans, fish, chia seeds and fatty fish.

Caffeine-containing foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas, energy drinks, matcha, chocolate, and guarana may also help reduce fatigue and improve alertness.

Water, peppermint tea, peanut butter, greek yogurt, and edamame are also healthy snacks that provide energy.

Don't get so bogged down in your work you forget to eat. This will sap your energy reserves even further. You are also more likely to grab a quick snack that will give you a quick fix but provides no nutritional value.

10. Breathe

Deep breathing can potentially increase your energy levels. There are many short-term benefits of deep breathing including reducing muscular tension, calming the nervous system, increasing oxygen levels in the blood, and improving focus and mental clarity.

When we take deep breaths, we increase the amount of oxygen in our blood, which helps to stimulate the production of ATP (energy molecules) in our cells, providing us with more energy. Additionally, deep breathing helps to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress and fatigue.

So when you're feeling fatigued, pause and take a few deep breaths - it will make a difference.

11. Find meaning

Finding meaning in your work can help you to be more energised and motivated. Research shows that feeling connected to a greater purpose in your work can boost your mental fitness and well-being. This can increase productivity and reduce job-related stress and setbacks, leading to higher energy levels. So think about how your work impacts your team and organisation - even in small ways. What benefits does doing your job afford you? For example to save for a holiday, provide for your family or help your community. Where does success in your job lead you, such as recognition or promotion?

What causes low energy at work?

Although there are plenty of ways to boost your energy levels and stay productive during the workday, sometimes you just don't have enough energy to do your job. In this case, you might want to look into why you feel so tired at work so you can take steps to mitigate or eliminate them. These are some of the most common reasons:

  • Not getting enough sleep - Getting enough sleep is important for energy levels and productivity. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

  • Not eating enough or not eating right - Eating regularly and consuming the right amount of calories can help you feel energised. Make sure you eat three meals and two snacks every day to maintain a healthy and steady energy level. Go easy on the sugar and carbs - even though they can give you a quick lift, what goes up must come down and you will experience an energy crash again shortly after.

  • Poor work environment - If you work in a noisy or cluttered environment, it can be very difficult to stay focused and productive. Clear your desk and pop in some noise-cancelling headphones if possible.

  • Micro-management - Being constantly watched and told what to do can sap your energy. Give them regular updates and keep them in the loop. By showing your manager that you are committed and capable, you will increase their trust which can often lead to more autonomy in your role.

  • Too much work - This can deplete your energy by making you feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Invest time into creating a great to-do list that helps you identify your priorities. Remember how satisfying it is when you begin to cross things off - this fuels your energy to do more of what matters.

  • Stress - Feeling stressed can make you feel tired, irritable, and out of energy. It can also be a symptom of a bigger problem, such as depression or anxiety. Do the work to pinpoint what is causing you stress then take time for self-care to proactively reduce it.

  • Lack of exercise - A great way to feel more energised is to make sure you exercise on a regular basis. Studies have revealed that physical activity can enhance memory and also promote feelings of contentment. Even if you are very busy, try to make sure that exercise is part of your daily life.

  • Undiagnosed medical issues or mental health challenges - If your low energy doesn't go away no matter what you do, you may want to visit a doctor and discuss your symptoms.

Wrapping up

Many of us feel tired and drained throughout the day and it is natural to have peaks and troughs of energy. Feeling energised is key to staying upbeat and positive in a workplace, and can have a significant impact on your productivity and overall enjoyment of your work. Try out some of these strategies for improving your energy levels when you feel yourself flagging and remember if symptoms are severe and don't improve, consult a professional like your doctor.

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