Energy thieves

cat tired

Last week, we looked at what gives us energy, from food to correct breathing and the right kind of exercise. But have you ever wondered why some days you feel more energetic than others? What takes our energy away from us?

The first thing that comes to mind is work and/or study. Obviously, after a day at work or at college or uni, you will feel tired, your energy having been used during the day to either work and concentrate. You have probably noticed though that some days you will feel more tired than others, even though what you have been up to during the day hasn’t been more strenuous than usual. So what influences our energy level, apart from our normal day to day activities?

Have you noticed that if it is a particularly grey day – and we are supposed to have quite few this week if you are to trust the weather forecast – you feel more tired? Being exposed to natural light, especially between the hours of 12 noon and 2.00pm, plays an important role on our energy level. Consequently, if you spend a lot of time indoors, you are more likely to feel tired than if you have the opportunity to pop out in the fresh air and light, even for just a few minutes – and even if the sky is looking grey!

As much as a good, healthy diet can be a great source of energy, eating the wrong food can actually make you feel lousy. If you feel particularly tired after lunch or after your evening meal, it might be worth make a note of what you eat. You might find that there is a specific type of food that doesn’t agree with you and makes you feel more tired than nourished after consuming it.

Stress is a very big energy-eater. Even though we have evolved a lot since our caveman/woman days, parts of our brain still work as if we had to watch out for an incoming sabre-tooth cat. When we experience stress, our body produces cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that put the body on high alert, ready to run away or fight. Because of the nature of the stress that we have to deal with in our current society (pending deadlines, being stuck in traffic, problems at work…), our periods of stress tend to be longer lasting than what our ancestors in their caves experienced with the consequence that the stress hormones tend to stay in our body for longer. This can negatively affect our energy level and make us feel increasingly tired.

It might feel overwhelming that so many things around us seem to be influencing our energy, and not always for the best! On the other hand, small changes can make a big difference as we will look into next week.

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