If you believe you could use more energy, you are not alone. It is estimated that 45% of Americans experience exhaustion up to three times each week, despite sleeping for the necessary 7-8 hours per night. Another 27 percent reported waking up fatigued four or more days each week. When you add in people with autoimmune disorders or other disruptive health concerns, you have a country that is constantly tired. If you’re trying to get through the week, this post is for you! Here, we’ll look at several simple strategies to get rid of fatigue and boost your vitality.
My 7 Top Energy Boosting Tips
Stay hydrated. Since a good portion of your blood is composed of water, it is important to drink around eight glasses of water a day to bring nutrients to your cells and remove waste. Of course, if you are exercising or the weather is warm, you will need to drink more — adjust accordingly. If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day, it can lead to fatigue because there is less oxygen in your bloodstream and a higher toxin burden. Plus staying hydrated will help to prevent brain fog.
Exercise. Daily physical activity will help to boost oxygen levels and nutrient absorption in your cells, which in turn increases energy levels. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day — out in nature whenever possible. This can be anything from yoga and hiking to swimming or bicycling. High-intensity interval training is another excellent way to improve energy as it doesn’t take a large time commitment, yet provides outstanding results. It involves short bursts of high-intensity activity (think: running up a hill, jumping jacks, burpees).
Consume “energy” foods. Skip processed foods and refined sugar — including breads and pastas. Instead, opt for snacks and meals that will give you sustained energy — and none of the crash. These include low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, bone broth, lean protein, avocados, leafy greens, and wild-caught fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines.
Get enough key nutrients. For some, a lack of energy can indicate a nutritional deficiency, such as iron or B-vitamins. I recommend getting a full blood panel annually to see if you are lacking a specific nutrient. Grass fed beef is a good source of iron, zinc, B-vitamins, and other important nutrients. If you are plant-based, it is important to make sure you supplement with these key vitamins and minerals as it can be difficult to get enough with diet alone.
Calm stress. When you are under chronic stress, whether from life events, work, or a family situation, it depletes your energy reserves. Instead, take a few minutes throughout the day to pause, breathe deeply, and focus on gratitude. This will help to shift your mood and perception, calm the stress response, and reduce the release of cortisol for sustainable, balanced energy as you go about your day. Adaptogens are also extremely helpful.
Tend to your thyroid. Many times, dysfunction of the thyroid gland can contribute to low energy levels. If you are also experiencing constipation, depression, weight gain or loss, dry skin, hair loss, muscle and joint aches, lowered body temperature, and reduced sweating, it is crucial to get your thyroid hormones checked.
Embrace healthy sleep patterns. Rejuvenating sleep is essential for energy reserves the next day. If you find you are tired upon waking, there is a good chance you need to revamp your sleep routine. This includes having your lightest meal of the day at dinner; avoiding blue light, devices, and television two hours before bedtime; relaxing rituals such as a warm bath with essential oils of lavender, bergamot, or chamomile; deep breathing exercises and gratitude journaling to relieve stress; and making sure your room is completely dark while sleeping (a sleep mask also helps). I also recommend turning off your cell phone completely. My Sleep Blend tincture in the apothecary is also an excellent option. I use it nightly!
If you are addicted to coffee and the caffeine rush, you will need to support your adrenals because there is a good chance they are taxed from releasing cortisol in response to caffeine intake. You may find that you experience a withdrawal period when you give up caffeine. Instead of going cold turkey, gradually reduce your caffeine intake by opting for 1/2 decaf, 1/2 caffeinated coffee for a week or so. Reduce the caffeinated ratio to a quarter for another few days, then switch entirely to decaf.
A word about energy drinks. In a twist of irony, these beverages are one of the worst offenders for depleting energy reserves. Sure they may give you a temporary boost, but it’s a vicious cycle of needing to consume increasing amounts just to maintain a decent level of energy. They are typically loaded with caffeine and sugar, which are what give you a temporary boost — but at the cost of long-term sustained energy. Not to mention the sugar content alone will destroy a healthy microbiome, promote inflammation, and encourage metabolic syndrome. It is best to completely avoid these drinks entirely.
Plant-Based and Herbal Solutions for Fatigue
With ongoing low energy, it is always important to look at the underlying factors beyond lifestyle. These can include chronic pain, hormonal imbalance, thyroid disorders, adrenal fatigue, a viral or bacterial infection, anxiety and/or depression, and orthostatic intolerance. If this is the case for you, it is crucial to address the root cause.
For those contending with chronic stress, I highly recommend adaptogens such as lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps mushrooms to fortify your system so that you can navigate stress in a healthy way. These powerful botanicals also help to support the adrenals, which are intricately tied to your energy reserves. All three mushrooms are anti-inflammatory, reduce fatigue, and protect against the negative effects of stress.
Suggested dose: two dropperfuls dual-extracted tincture two to three times daily (note: not just mushroom tea or coffee – the dual-extraction matters to get the full spectrum of medicinal compounds).
Ashwagandha is another exceptional adaptogen that has been used for centuries to support energy, reduce fatigue, and support stamina.
Suggested dose: two dropperfuls up to three times daily. If stress and anxiety are draining your energy, this potent herbal blend is an outstanding option.
If you have a high bacterial or viral load, such as Lyme disease or Epstein-Barr virus, your energy will suffer. Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is helpful for boosting immunity, lowering inflammation, and overcoming viral infections. Take one dropperful up to three times daily. If you are struggling with a viral or bacterial infection, my Eastern Blend can help.