What do you do to boost your energy and rejuvenate? Do you grab chocolate, a soda, or a strong cup of coffee? These provide a buzz for the moment, but quick fixes lead to crashing consequences on long-term health. As the body’s first alert systems, low energy and fatigue urge us to take a closer look at what we do or neglect to do.
Plenty of demands drain our energy. Constant stimulation and fixation on electronics preoccupy our attention. When always on-the-go, many people feel depleted and overwhelmed, proudly trading time for self-care for physical and emotional exhaustion.
Ayurveda’s holistic approach to wellness and energy considers whether we overstimulate, underuse, or abuse our bodies, minds, and emotions. It examines social life, daily routine, nutritional habits, and spiritual practices, searching for the root cause of health concerns rather than treating the manifesting symptoms. When “dis-ease” appears, poor choices can overload or even obstruct the movement of vital energy. Fatigue, lethargy, loss of interest in life, inadequate digestion, aches and pains, depression, anxiety, and lack of energy result as a consequence. To find unlimited energy, we must understand the underlying cause of fatigue.
Build a foundation with the four pillars of Ayurveda.
Begin with reasonable lifestyle practices, quality sleep, proper nutrition, and energy management.
- Bookend each day. Start and end the day the same way. Build a routine inclusive of practices supporting energy needs, required nutrition, and coping skills to manage stress.
- Have a regular bedtime and rise at the same time each morning. The body’s internal circadian clock knows when to release the right hormones for sleep and wake.
- Eat meals at regular times. Breakfast before 9 a.m., a meal between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and an evening meal before 6 p.m.
- Proper rest and activity are critical to preserving health and having energy to thrive. Allow time to start the day with exercise and end with a gentle walk or yoga to unwind.
Understand why stress management is crucial, and make adjustments with routine and lifestyle changes.
Chronic stress can drain the body’s stress response resources, causing it to siphon stress-fighting assistance from locations other than the adrenals. When we exhaust the adrenals, our body steals hormonal precursors from the reproductive system, blood sugar, and the thyroid to combat stress. Managing stress is not just crucial for staying healthy and losing weight, but also for hormone balance and overall longevity.
Sleep to repair and rest
Sleep is critical. When the body’s resources are completely exhausted and if cortisol levels remain high, the nervous system can’t adequately lower cortisol levels. Too depleted to supply sedation, this causes difficulty falling asleep even when we are tired. The key to most sleep issues is to discover the underlying cause of the energy deficit or adrenal strain.
- During sleep, the body detoxifies and repairs itself. The body needs seven to eight hours of sleep for this process to occur. The most critical period of sleep occurs between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Hints for healthy digestion
It is important to retrain the body to burn fat from stored energy between meals.
- Make the noon meal the largest meal of the day, when digestion is the strongest.
- Snacking does not provide sustainable energy. The body does not use its reserves if continuously being fed.
- Make 6 p.m. a cut-off time for supper. Practice intermittent fasting throughout the night for detoxification and restoration.
Hot lemon water should be drunk first in the morning and then 20 minutes before each meal to pre-hydrate the digestive system. Hot sips throughout the day also helps combat lymphatic congestion, deeply hydrates the body, and improves energy levels.
Engage in Energy Building Activities
Having a supportive community or connecting with loved ones builds oxytocin levels. Our body creates oxytocin when we unconditionally share, love, interact, touch, and care for others without requirements or expectations. Other supportive practices include:
- Appropriate exercise. Some movement is better than none, but too much can be depleting.
- Breathing exercises. Pranayama has been used to regulate and balance the human body for thousands of years.
- Nature heals. Take some time outside and away from technology.
Spiritual fitness comes in a variety of forms: meditation, prayer, religious, and spiritual practices. A spiritual connection changes the effects of chronic stress and potentially reduces other factors contributing to dis-ease and fatigue.
Self-care is not selfish.
Life will always be busy. When we sleep better, eat meals at appropriate times, and recuperate with time off, the body can recover and handle stress appropriately.
Lastly, enjoy what you have and do what you love. Life is too valuable to let slip away.
Kamie Slegers, B.S Exercise Science, CAP, C-IAYT, CST, RYT 500
Kamie Slegers is recognized throughout Minnesota as an accomplished advanced practitioner and wellness educator. She started teaching yoga in1996 and practiced Ayurvedic medicine since 2010, continuing her education as an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga therapist, Maram therapist, craniosacral therapist, and lifestyle coach. Kamie is currently studying for her master’s of herbalism while managing the clinic at NE Wellness in Minneapolis. She is developing programs and workshops for hormonal balance, fertility, menopause, lifestyle changes and habits, sleep, nutrition, energy management, and others.