Targets, household chores, family, shopping, payments, animals, beach-cleaning, tree-saving — our life's just too full. As the day wears on, you are worn out — by late afternoon you're ready to quit and collapse on the sofa. Call it the 4 o' clock syndrome!
“If we manage key energy drainers — anger and anxiety — well, we can keep our energy level up,” says Sumitra Seshan, COO of a company.
She takes five minutes off every hour “to break the monotony of desk-work”. E-mail, voice mail, IM, BlackBerry, conference calls — multi-tasking too is a drag on energy.
“We aren't meant to sit hunched for long hours,” says Phani Raj, orthopaedic surgeon. “Muscles contract when you slump; affecting blood flow. Poor posture is linked to higher cholesterol levels and heart disease that work-outs cannot control.” So, sit up, and stretch.
Get some sunshine
Ensure your home and office are free of toxins — cleaning liquids, insect repellents and mosquito sprays release chemicals; so do photocopy machines. Inhaling them continuously overloads the body's detox system, leaving you drowsy and disoriented. Also, staying under artificial lights can have a ‘jet-lag-like' effect on you. And, leave your shoes outside. Grow indoor plants. Step out for sunshine and fresh air. Take brief walks. “I go for a 45-minute walk in the morning ,” says psychiatrist Lakshmi Vijayakumar. “My day dawns when silence is broken only by birdsong.”
Visual clutter is another energy thief — it makes you anxious about cleaning up. De-clutter!
More importantly, watch what you eat. A big meal can empty your energy, particularly one that's carb-and-calorie-rich. Eat light meals, spread them out. Drink plenty of water or sugar-free tea through the day to keep energy levels steady.
“Clichéd, but ‘enjoy what you do' still works,” says Dr. Lakshmi. “You're stressed when you're forced to do something. For me, satisfaction lies in empathising with people's problems, establishing connections. It's great to feel I'm there for someone in distress.” Doing a good deed first thing in the morning keeps you energised all day, she says.
Dancer Priyadarshini Govind has a routine to spike her energy level. “When I work back-to-back, I can get bushed,” she says. “I take off with my kids, to the movies maybe, or sit back and listen to their chatter. It never fails to unwind me.” Or she listens to slow music, or slokas, or sits at a temple praharam, where time seems to stand still. Sometimes, for no particular reason, we feel pulled down, she says. “Then, I simply get up and dance. It is so therapeutic; I feel fit, healthy and energetic.”