How many times have you sat down to read with your kids and nodded off just to have your kids nudge you awake over and over again? It’s happened to me more times than I like to admit. Where did the never ending energy go?
Parents are always telling me how exhausted they are. Every day is full of physical, mental and emotional demands. As parents, we need every bit of energy we can get. Every little tweak and hack we can find to improve our stamina can make a huge difference in responding to our kids in positive, helpful ways. Sometime we need to add things to our daily routine to optimize our vigor and strength, while other times its about subtracting things from our repertoire to get the best results. Basic addition and subtraction are the answer to improve our overall health and energy.
Below are a few items to add and a few to subtract from your daily actions that have been scientifically shown to improve energy and performance. Not only does research show that these things work, but I have noticed significant positive effects when I remember to add and subtract these simple things in my own life.
Add more fruits and veggies to your diet.
Fruits and vegetables provide us with important phytonutrients that are essential to our overall health and energy. Eating more fruits and vegetables has been shown to decrease disease, promote healthy weight and regulate blood sugar.
Subtract sodas (both sugar or artificially sweetened soda).
Sodas have the highest concentration of sugar, artificial sweeteners and/or caffeine of any food or drink we can take into our bodies. These things together make for an energy disaster. They cause a quick initial spike in energy followed by a crash. Not only does it cause a crash, but it can be addictive and leads to severe ups and downs. I’ve known several people that have lost significant amounts of weight and drastically changed their life and health simply by cutting soda from their diet.
Add a daily multivitamin.
Even when we add nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables and cut nutrient leaching substances from our diets, our bodies may still be wanting in regards to the vitamins and minerals needed to function as they were intended. In our busy lives it can be very difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals we need in our regular daily diets. Taking a good quality daily multivitamin can enhance our mental and physical performance.
Subtract simple carbs (processed, white flour, sugar, corn syrup).
There are so many things in our diets that try to pass themselves off as healthy, but are actually impostors. Some of the top things that keep us sluggish are things like white bread, high sugar fruit juices and packaged snacks that claim to be good for you but are full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Almost everything we buy at the grocery store these days is packed with high fructose corn syrup, so pay attention to what is in your food.
Add a meditation practice daily
Adding 10 minutes a day of meditation can both relax and invigorate you. There are various kinds of meditation practices and methods. Some people enjoy and find greater value in different kinds of meditation. You can find several 10 minute guided meditations in the TRU Calm Relaxation and Meditation Series and find the technique that works best for you.
Subtract unnecessary busy work.
We are busy. There is no getting around that, but we do have more power and control over our level of busyness than we often think we do. We get to choose the responsibilities we take on. We don’t have to be a passive onlooker in our own lives. It’s important to identify and cut the things that drain us mentally, emotionally and physically.
There is nothing else on this list that has received more positive evidence that it increases energy, mood and overall well-being than exercise. It is one of those things that most people think they don’t have time for, but gives us more time. It is actually something we can’t afford to do without.
Subtract TV or Tech time
Watching TV or movies or other media can be a nice break from the day to day grind, but when they become excessive, they tend to suck the life out of us. In my time as a counselor I have noticed that the people that experience the most depression and fatigue almost inevitably spend ridiculous amounts of time watching TV and surfing the web.
Each of the steps above can have a significant positive impact on your daily energy. It’s simple addition and subtraction. It’s all about adding something each day that invigorates you and subtracting something that drains you.
As you increase your personal energy, you improve your interaction and relationship with your children. You are better able to manage the daily stresses and respond to your children in kind, loving ways.