“Do you have 10 minutes?” I bet you get asked that a lot—by friends, neighbors, coworkers, bosses, even strangers. And if you’re like most people, you say, “Sure, what can I do for you?”
Give away 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, and pretty soon you’ve got nothing left. No wonder the Families and Work Institute reports that 54 percent of employees in this country have felt overwhelmed at some point in the past month by how much they had to do.
And according to an ongoing Centers for Disease Control survey on quality of life, the typical American adult feels “healthy and full of energy” only 19 days out of a month.
What about the down days? Is there something you can do to pick yourself up? Absolutely. When you sense your battery running low, the key is to give yourself 10 minutes to recharge.
Try one (or more) of these easy exercises, and you’ll get an energy boost right away!
1. Eat breakfast.
When you skip breakfast, your body goes into energy conservation mode. Make sure to have protein and fiber, both of which supply you with sustained energy. If possible, stick with organic whole foods, and stay away from the processed stuff.
2. Start your day with positive words.
Take a few sheets of paper. On each sheet write in big letters I LOVE LIFE. Post these sheets on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator or kitchen cabinet door, your dashboard, your cubicle at work. Let the phrase “I love life” remind you to fuel up with positive energy during your day.
3. Be a love magnet.
How do you attract the positive energy of love? Become a source of love. Start by treating yourself with love. Look in the mirror and say, “You are a beautiful person.” Then say, “I love you.” Do this for a few minutes. It might feel awkward, but it’s important to honor yourself.
You’re saying “I love you” not out of conceitedness but out of the belief that love is the essence of who you are. Your beauty comes not from the outside but from within your soul. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug, and tell yourself again, “I love you.”
4. Curtail the e-mail.
Limit how often you check your e-mail. Schedule which times you are going to check today. I used to go through my inbox 20 times a day. Since I cut down to three, I’ve been much more productive, focused… and relaxed.
Figure out when you are most productive during the day and make a point of not using e-mail during those times. Multitasking may appear to be efficient but studies have shown it actually takes more time in the end because you lose focus—and time—in the act of shifting from one task to another.
1. Have lunch with someone who lifts you up—a friend, colleague, relative or mentor.
Or call her, if you can’t get together in person. There’s a simple rule of life called the elevator principle: There are those who bring you up and those who bring you down. Each week, schedule time with the people who send your spirit and energy soaring.
2. Breathe for energy.
People tend to hold their breath when they work intensely. Pay attention to your breathing. Make the word “Breathe” your screensaver as a reminder.
3. Snack on raisins and nuts.
Raisins provide potassium, a mineral your body uses to convert sugar in the blood into energy. Nuts are a great source of vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Almonds are the super nut (the best combination of monounsaturated fat, protein and vitamin E).
4. Listen more.
Instead of expending a lot of energy trying to get your point across, ask questions and let other people do the talking. You will find that by talking less and listening more, you’ll feel more energized. Plus, those other people will love being around you!
1. Commute in calm.
Turn off your cell phone on your drive home from work. Use that time to unwind, breathe deeply and release tension and stress.
2. End your day with a success walk.
After dinner, spend 10 minutes walking and reflecting on the day’s accomplishments. Complete these sentences: “Today I am proud that . . .” “Today I consider myself a success because I . . .” “I had great conversations with . . .” “One great thing about today was . . .” This is a great exercise to do with your kids. Having them talk about their accomplishments each night increases their confidence.
3. Try something new and playful.
Buy a hula hoop and give it a twirl. Get a ball from the toy store and bounce it as many times as you can without it rolling away from you. Ride a bike if you haven’t in ages. Call your favorite radio station and ask them to play a song you love. Build something with Play-Doh or Legos that will make your kids say “Wow!”
4. Get your rest.
There’s tons of scientific evidence showing that lack of sleep negatively impacts your mood, stress level, weight, performance and reaction time. You know how you feel when you don’t get enough sleep. Go to bed a little earlier each night to see how much sleep makes you feel rested. Can’t live without your late-night shows? TiVo them.
1. Share the love.
Remember the love that you cultivated in the morning? Pass it on. Think of people in your life and send them love through your thoughts. Picture your mom, for instance, and say, “I send you love.” You can even do this for a friend or relative who is deceased. Like Einstein said, from God’s perspective, there is no such thing as time.
2. Eat a little dark chocolate.
It’s good for you—it has antioxidants and flavonoids that improve heart health. And it’s good for your mood—dark chocolate has a number of chemically active compounds that improve your mood by increasing levels of serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) and endorphins in the brain.
3. Tune in.
Music is one of our biggest energy boosters. It can supercharge you, relax you, inspire you. The key is to use music how and when you need it. For a pick-me-up, listen to a song that makes you want to kick up your heels and dance. To unwind, choose calming music, preferably with a tempo that’s slower than your heartbeat.
4. Pick up peppermint.
Research has shown that inhaling peppermint before a game or competition improves an athlete’s mood and motivation. You don’t have to be a jock to reap these aromatherapy benefits. Get a bottle of peppermint oil or a peppermint inhaler (yes, they make ’em!) and take a sniff. It’ll perk you right up.