Aug 1, 2019

10 factors that impact our energy levels


Yesterday, I noticed a few popular food bloggers, promoting Protinex Chocolate flavor (that contains 32% sugar). The premise that they were setting (through attractive props and beautiful pics) is that when we are in our 30s/40s, we start to experience stamina loss, tiredness/fatigue and so they are drinking Protinex that helps them to stay energetic. No one cared to talk about the high sugar levels. 

And do note that they are ONLY showing a glass of Protinex drink in the picture. There is no way for us to know whether they are actually drinking it. Might sound funny, but this is a fact to remember. For all you know, they might have poured the drink in their kitchen sink after getting the perfect click and dumped the pack in their garbage bag.

I'm in my mid-30s now. So I fit perfectly into the segment that this brand (and various other protein drinks) is targeting.

The fear-mongering tactics that these brands employ seem to be working well among urban women. "Maybe, my tiredness is because of low protein intake", I'm sure this thought would have crossed many of our minds at some point while watching the ad or going through these brilliantly curated pics of Insta food influencers.

Energy is a concept that I'm personally fascinated to learn about. There have been days when my energy levels were over the rooftop and I'm striking off my to-dos one after another. There have also been days when I don't even feel like moving an inch, let alone do anything productive. 

The first step is to become aware of our energy levels. If you can, try to maintain an "energy tracker" (some call it a mood tracker) and observe if you can notice any patterns. 

Multiple factors influence our energy levels throughout the day. Here are 10 factors that I could think of, in no particular order:


  1. Menstrual cycles in women - During my period, my energy level dips down quite a bit. I don't exert myself during those days. I skip Yoga practice, cook very simple meals and rest in the afternoons if possible. In my opinion, all the "play tennis, jump around, run for marathons" messaging that sanitary napkin brands convey in their ads is just plain ridiculous. 

  2. Exercise and Physical Activity - Many of us believe that we need to have sufficient energy in order to do exercise or any physical activity. In reality, it works the other way around. When we do any form of exercise, our energy levels shoot up magically, our mood is upbeat and we generally feel happier because of the endorphins. A brisk walk, a good yoga workout, dancing or jogging/running can do wonders on our energy levels.

  3. How we deal with emotions - There are many incidents in our day-to-day lives that can have an impact on our emotions. A few days back, there were quite a few thoughts that kept bothering me and as a result, I couldn't get anything productive done that day. I opened my journal and wrote down (using a pen on a paper) all that was running through in my mind. After the 10 minutes of releasing everything onto the paper, my mind became free. I even got a few ideas to resolve the issues at the end of journaling. I have been journaling in Evernote app for a long time, but for the past few weeks, I have switched over to paper/pen. And I feel it is much more impactful. Do give it a try.

  4. Moon cycle - from my personal experience, I have learned that on full moon/new moon days, my energy levels shift quite a bit. Either I'm super active or super dull. Self-awareness is the key to understanding how we feel during such days. 

  5. Food and nutrition - This factor deserves a separate blog post in itself. The wrong combination of foods, increased caffeine intake, foods having high sugar, overeating etc all impact our energy levels. Recently, I came across this article titled "There's no such thing as a sugar rush". This passage totally resonated with me:
     The sugar rush is a myth. Rather than making people feel energized and hyped, the new research suggests eating sweet foods actually causes people to experience the opposite: fatigue and a lack of alertness.


  6. Lack of sleep/erratic sleep cycles - Sleep is absolutely essential for recovery and impacts our energy the next day. Sleep well, we wake up feeling fresh and energetic. Sleep for a few hours or have disturbed sleep, we wake up feeling groggy and irritated. There are so many things that expect us to sacrifice our sleep timings. Be it workload, studies or binge-watching, it is not worth sacrificing our precious sleep time. For the past 2 months, I have set a rule for myself that I will not use any gadgets/screens after 8:30PM. This habit has helped me to sleep early and wake up early.

  7. Exposure to Sunlight and nature - What once used to be so natural to us has now become something that we have to consciously plan for. Bright, sunny days are clear mood uplifters, makes us feel happier and joyful. The presence (or absence) of sunlight has a clear impact on my energy levels. I'm indoors most of the time, but I step out and go for a walk or at least sit under sunlight for 20-30 minutes in my balcony.

  8. Breathing - Stop reading this article, sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. Do you feel different? Most of the times, our breathing is shallow. Conscious deep breathing a few times dispersed throughout the day will recenter our thoughts and energies. This doesn't require much effort on our side. 

  9. Being around with positive, inspiring people - All of us exude certain energies/vibrations. Be with a positive, spirited person for 5 minutes and you'll notice you feel upbeat and energized. Be with a negative, cynical person for 5 minutes and you'll feel drained of energy. This doesn't apply only to people whom we meet in person but also equally applicable for people whom we interact through phone calls, chats and social media. 

  10. Do what you love, love what you do - I believe that both of these are extremely important for a happy, fulfilling life. Identifying our interests and investing time in them every single day is as much important as loving and giving our best in tasks that we ought to get done. For some, cooking is a joyful activity, whereas, for others, it could be drudgery. Nevertheless, it is an important task for our good health. The moment we start to think, "Aaah, do I have to get up early every single day to pack tiffin for my kids? Do I have to spend so much time in the kitchen?", our energy and mood go for a toss. This is ONLY an example. There are many such day-to-day activities that we may not like to do but we end up doing anyway. Instead of cribbing about them and spoiling our mood, if we approach them with a positive mindset, we end up being happier and content.

In order to incorporate the points discussed, we require self-awareness and self-discipline, both of which need time and effort from our side. But in this age of money-rich, time-poor, convenience-seeking lifestyle, we are searching for quick-fix solutions to boost our energy levels, which these health drink(?) manufacturers are clearly aware of. Energy cannot be packed in a glass of Protinex, Women's Horlicks, Bournvita for women or any other drink. They only give you the perception of energy, which is short-lived.

Last but not the least, if you are doing well on these 10 factors and you still feel low on energy levels, do visit a doctor and get tests done for thyroid, Vitamin-B12, Vitamin-D3 and diabetes.


4 comments:

Rathika said...

Bang on!! Be it the moon cycle, exposure to sunlight,shallow breathing,Self awareness Semma Semma..You nailed it Mam����Neenga junk food promoters ku oru simma soppanam

veena said...

You are just awesome! Raising awareness on the food products which are being promoted as healthy which are actually do more harm

Jayanthi said...

All the points you mentioned are really good ones and true!! Thanks Anuradha!!!

Nandhini said...

Hi Anu..i am your ardent fan..its an execellent article with true facts...Thanks a lot

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