When 4 o’clock snack time rolls around, what should you do to recharge your batteries?
Do you start the day strong, but run out of steam a couple of hours after lunchtime?
We all get fatigued at times. As long as you’ve been to your doctor to rule out any serious medical reason for your lack of energy, there are some things you can do to recharge:
Fuel up. But be smart about it. A donut from the snack cart can deliver a jolt of energy (and with it plenty of calories), but it’s short-lived because your body metabolizes the sugar quickly, letting you with low blood sugar and more fatigued than before you ate that sweet nothing. Maintain steadier energy by eating lean protein and unrefined carbohydrates; think low-fat yogurt sprinkled with honey, nuts and raisins. Your body will take in the carb-fiber-protein mix more gradually.
Don’t skip meals. Your body needs a certain number of calories to make it through the day. Spacing out your meals helps your body gets the nourishment it needs throughout the day.
Pace yourself. If you’re a type A eager beaver, you probably put your shoulder on the wheel and keep grinding. But don’t risk overtaxing yourself. Instead of burning through your battery life before noon, spread it out among morning tasks, afternoon duties and evening activities—with rest and meals in between.
Take a walk. A short power nap in the afternoon can be so satisfying when you’re feeling worn out. But if you have trouble sleeping at night, naps can make your insomnia worse. So shake a leg instead. Talk a walk around the block, or get up and dance for 10 minutes. If you don’t suffer from insomnia, however, go ahead and grab that 20-minute power nap.
Pass on most supplements. You may have heard about energy-boosting supplements, including DHEA, B vitamins and iron, but there is no evidence they work. The B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12) do help your body convert into energy that cells can burn, but boosting your stores of them doesn’t replenish your batteries. Iron works only if you are deficient, which your doctor can check with a blood test. Otherwise, it doesn’t help and too much can be harmful. Despite years of research, there’s no evidence that DHEA offers any real benefits on the energy front, and there are still major questions about the side effects.