The 21st century is an exciting time to be alive. The world around us is changing at an unprecedented rate, with innovation in technology revolutionising the way we work, rest and play. We now enjoy the ability to do a full, productive day’s work without having to leave our homes. We can chat with friends on the other side of the planet for as long as we like at zero cost. These concepts might have seemed like science fiction a few years ago, but such advances also bring their challenges.
The blurring of the boundaries between home and work can mean we are never truly “off duty,” and the global community in which many of us operate has led to the concept of the traditional nine to five jobs becoming almost obsolete for today’s professionals.
Perhaps in that context, it is unsurprising that despite all the wonders of the modern age, with remote working, social media, on-demand entertainment and all the rest, people are more stressed, anxious and downright exhausted than they have ever been. But by channelling positive energy, we can draw the inspiration and motivation that we need to manage our busy lifestyles.
The modern world might be quite different to that inhabited by our parents or grandparents 50 or so years ago, but the malady is one that they will immediately recognise. We have all heard the phrase “burning the candle at both ends”, and that is exactly what more and more of us do.
It is not just a case of spending more time and energy on our careers. Today, there are more mental and emotional distractions than ever before. The online age means we are in regular contact with far more people than past generations. Family dynamics have also evolved. In short, there is a great deal more complexity to life than there used to be, and our bodies need more energy to handle these mental, physical and emotional demands.
There is more to being energised than a good night’s sleep, exercise and a balanced diet – important though these things are. Here, we run through some pointers to maintaining energy to meet the unique challenges of 2018 and beyond.
Fatigue is a lack of energy that remains with you even after rest. It can be physical, in the form of tiredness, headaches or other pains. But just as commonly, it will be mental – an inability to concentrate or a general feeling of stress, anxiety or dread.
There is a misconception that feelings like these are part and parcel of the hectic lifestyles we lead, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Fatigue is a natural and important response: just as your ankle will send a pain signal to your brain if you suffer a sprain, fatigue is your body’s way of telling you about a problem that needs to be addressed.
Usually, fatigue has a root cause that is traceable to one or more habits or components of your daily routine. Examples include physical exertion, emotional upheaval, insufficient sleep or bad eating habits.
Firing on all cylinders throughout the working day
Whether you work in a traditional office, spend your time on the move or are among the growing number of remote workers who log in from home, there is one common factor. It can be hard to stay alert, focussed and operating at peak performance throughout the day.
In particular, most people feel a slump in energy mid afternoon. This is perfectly natural – in fact, it is something that is “hardwired” into us thanks to a phenomenon called the circadian rhythm. Essentially, this is your body’s internal clock that regulates periods of tiredness and wakefulness. While everyone is different, it commonly means you will have two major dips in energy every day. The one at around 2am is unlikely to be a problem, as you are probably fast asleep. But the one at about 2pm comes when most of us need to be fully alert.
It might be a natural process, but understanding the nature of the circadian rhythm is the first step to managing it. You won’t make it go away, but you can certainly reduce the effects, in the following ways:
- Look after your general fitness
If your body is fit, well and rested, it will be less prone to feelings of drowsiness in the afternoon.
- Keep your levels of Vitamin B12 up throughout the day
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining energy and alertness, and one Reon Energise powder shot contains 50% of your recommended daily intake.
- Ensure your lunch has the right balance of protein and carbs
Carbohydrates generate glucose to provide energy, while protein helps to keep you alert. A tuna sandwich is a perfect example.
- Take a little exercise
While our minds are busier than ever at work, most of us barely move from our screens. Just a five-minute walk round the building can work wonders to increase blood flow and give you an energy boost.
Finding time for exercise
That last point is one that bears further scrutiny. These days, our brains are busier than ever. We typically have half a dozen tabs open on the web browser, with emails and chat messages flying in from multiple directions all at once.
Even when we find time to relax or treat ourselves to some leisure time, it often involves more mental stimulation than physical. Spending time on social media, catching up with unwatched movies or boxsets, and playing online games certainly keep us mentally active. However, it begs the question of whether we are in danger of evolving into those aliens from so many sci fi movies that have advanced mentally, but physically withered.
Finding time for physical exercise when you have a busy life is easier said than done. How many of us have joined a gym, full of great intentions, only to find we’ve not had a chance to go in six weeks and we might as well cancel the membership?
Gym membership is great for those who join because they enjoy working out. But if going is a chore, it just becomes another stress trigger and will do you more harm than good. The trick is to find a way of keeping fit that you will actually enjoy, and that you can fit seamlessly into your daily routine. Here are some examples:
- Juggling parenting with a busy career? You might think that makes it all the harder to find time, but physical activity is actually a perfect way to both improve your fitness and spend some quality family time. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but have a set time each day to kick a ball around, go for a bike ride or even just take a walk together.
- Does your daily commute involve a short trip by car or public transport? Perhaps you could consider walking or cycling instead. Not only will the exercise help your physical fitness, but it is also a great way to give the brain a little time out. And according to this study from The Lancet, it can reduce your BMI – meaning less chance of developing heart disease, diabetes and other health problems in later life.
- Get a dog. Not only do they make wonderful pets and companions, but they leave you with no choice but to get out for some exercise twice a day. Going to the gym, playing football with the kids or cycling to work are all habits we can let slip. But there are no two ways around it, the dog will always need a walk, whatever the weather or other distractions in your life.
Stay energised to achieve your goals
In a song released in 1980, John Lennon famously wrote life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.
Almost 40 years on, we live more chaotic and hectic lives than ever, and it is not uncommon to feel that we are swimming against a relentless tide just to get through each day. Meeting routine commitments takes up a huge proportion of our time. The thought of really making progress, whether it is on a personal or professional level, is often something for next week or next month or next year.
But look at the most successful individuals, and what do you see? Entrepreneur Peter Jones, footballer Harry Kane and novelist Sophie Kinsella might not seem to have a great deal in common at first glance. But all three are hugely successful in their fields and each of them exudes two important things: energy and positivity.
To do more than just stand still, but to press forward in the modern age takes, above all else, good energy. And it has to come from within. The first step towards achieving those long-held goals and dreams is to understand how your internal energy generator really works.
Only then can you make the necessary adjustments to live the energised and fulfilled life that you have always promised yourself.