Friday, August 30, 2013

"Why Aren't You Ever Tired?"

A coworker asked me this question to other day, after both her and another coworker yawned and sighed, more like ughed.

I answered, "Because I eat well and exercise often."

They both laughed and said well they don't and don't, so there you go, and by the way, "Look at her," simultaneously looking at me, sighing and taking a sip of coffee.

So this whole concept got me thinking....

Of course I have my groggy/tired days, like we all do, but they are few and far between, often because of a fitful night of sleep irritated by seasonal allergies or a full moon effecting our dog's sleep, so she spends most of the night walking around, nails clicking on the wood floors. These tired days are unusual for me and easy to identify the culprit.

Subsequently, I thought about most of my coworkers who are often tired, yawning, lethargic caffeine junkies. Most complain about always being tired, not feeling up for work or doing much for that matter, and most all want to take a nap right after lunch.

While the simple answer is eat well and exercise, it really is true and I don't think we realize the value of these two simple things until we start doing them and can identify the difference of doing or not doing. The value of these two things make a world of difference for your day to day functioning and lethargy.

My tips for not dragging ass on a daily basis:

• Drink lots of water and less caffeine. It seems counter-intuitive, because most of us reach for caffeine to help us wake up or help get over that 3 p.m. afternoon slump. You are better off getting up and walking around, stretching and drinking a glass of water. These three things combined will give you more of that afternoon boost than any cup of joe will.

• Get proper, restorative, deep sleep. Sleep can be effected in many ways by the environment, but also by what you eat, how you move or don't move in your day and your overall health. So this one is the hardest to immediately solve, but having a quiet, relaxing bedroom is at least the first step to aiding in restorative sleep, that and decreasing your caffeine intake to no more than 2 cups a day.

• Make a majority of your diet plant based, limit your intake of dairy and meat proteins, both of which ask much more of your body to digest, which if you don't have extra energy to give, asking your body to work hard to digest complex proteins is asking too much of your already energy deprived self.
 Subsequently, dark, leafy greens, of which most of us don't get enough, have gobs of chlorophyll in them, hence the green, but that chlorophyll gives you oxygen among many other great nutrients. So eat plenty of greens. If right now a basic salad counts as your greens, that is better than none, but try to eat any or all of: chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, dandelion greens, beet greens, mustard greens, etc. at least 3 times a week (more is always better, but you gotta start somewhere, right?). My favorite and easiest way to get your greens in, is throw them in a breakfast smoothie, seriously, you never know they are there, well minus the green color, but don't pay attention to that, juice 'em or sauté them up in a little bit of EVOO in a hot deep pan with fresh chopped garlic. Wash and chop your greens and throw them on top of your slightly cooked garlic, excess water on your greens is OK, and toss until just barely wilted, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos. A great easy side to any meal. Like I always say to my Honey, "where's your greens?"

• Breathe. Duh, right, we have to or we die, but what I mean is breathe consciously and with focus and intent to cleanse. Think about it, how often in a day you you consciously breathe? And when you do, don't you feel brighter, more awake, energized? It is amazing the power of breath.

Which leads into:

• Exercise. Often, try to move daily for a minimum of 30-45 mins., whatever works for you, but I think focused exercise at least 3 days a week will make all the difference in helping you feel more energized. Exercise makes you take deep breaths, asking your lungs to expand and intake more oxygen. Stretching lengthens your muscles and opens your body and lungs aiding in the movement of more oxygen running through your body. I especially like yoga to help me focus on breathing. Yoga asks you to breathe through a stretch, which I know sometimes we hold our breath through a stretch. Breathing through it allows the stretch to go deeper and simultaneously makes you conscious of the importance of breathing and aware of the energy-packed importance of deep, cleansing, awakening breath.

While these little tips are helpful and starting point, the best way to avoid lethargy and general all-over tiredness, it to be aware of self. Nourish your mind, body with clean eating, focused exercise, restorative rest and an intent on wellness.

So instead of reaching for that next cup of caffeine to get your jolt of energy think of the other things you can change in your daily routine that will aid in your all over alertness.