By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal
Like an 18-wheeler driving over a case of fluorescent light bulbs, the chime of the alarm clock breaks the silence of your slumber. Your heart racing, you reach over to mute the bugling calls. In desperation, you hit the snooze button, but another 9 minutes of extended sleep brings little relief from the exhaustion felt within your guts. You drag through the morning and manage to claw your way to work. With multiple attempts to dissolve the fatigue with coffee, you drag your lethargic body throughout the day like an old mule pulling a heavy cart through deep sand. Grumpy and depleted, you end your day with a collapsing surrender into bed… only to start the same cycle again in six short hours! If you are like most of us, you crave more ENERGY!
We all have plenty of energy available to us. With a few exceptions, the problem is not a quantity issue. It’s one of expenditure. Like money, energy can be spent faster than it can be earned. Each physical and mental activity comes with a price that is paid with our vital currency.
Loss of health, mentally and physically, occurs when too much capital is diverted to expensive activities that require our vital energy. Just being alive and breathing requires a daily withdrawal… so we can’t spend all of our savings before our coffers are refilled while we rest. The great news is that we have control over most of the use of our energy. Squandering energy on less meaningful activities robs us of the ability to enjoy what matters most in life- such as health, being mentally alert, personal relationships, work and sports. The key to having the energy of your dreams is to wisely and consciously budget each day’s available energy based on what you value most.
Below is a list of some of the more costly “energy pits”:
Sleep is when you fill your energy savings account. Unfortunately (especially for teenagers), it is less effective to sleep longer in the morning. The best way to make gains is to retire to bed earlier each day. As little as 30 minutes earlier can profoundly change how you charge into the coming day.
It is true that we require calories as fuel for energy. Too much burdens the digestive system and requires overwork to process. It is most taxing if your belly is packed later in the evening. Valuable time is spent processing food instead of regenerating the body from the wear-and-tear of the day’s activities. As ironic as it may seem, your will have more energy by eating less and going to bed with an empty stomach.
The easiest way to determine which foods take more energy than they give is to observe your energy levels in the period of 30 to 120 minutes following consumption. If your eyelids feel like bowling balls after a burger and fries, this is a CLUE! The greatest food offenders tend to be high in fat and/or sugar.
Unlike the good fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds and avocados, excessive amounts of the wrong fats (particularly animal fats found in meat and dairy) are difficult to breakdown. Consider the amount of dish soap and elbow grease required to clean the plates and utensils following a dinner of baby back ribs. Your stomach and intestines have to deal with the full contents of this meal.
Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as those found in white pasta, white potatoes, sweets, chips, cakes, muffins and rice cakes produce spikes in blood sugar. This causes your body to secrete excessive amounts of insulin. Blood sugar levels crash and energy is zapped away. Avoiding or limiting high glycemic index foods (the ranking system of carbohydrates based on the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels) will result in sustained energy levels throughout your day.
Holding worry, anger, grief, guilt or other dense emotions brings fatigue faster than almost anything else. Recognizing that these emotions exist and opening oneself to strategies and help to overcome them will pay massive energy royalties for years!
In a culture that measures a person’s value based on his or her performance, with a desire to produce more and more, many fail to take little moments in the day to rest and recharge. Taking little breaks, even a few minutes, from your work or strife each day saves and restores energy lost in activity.
The big catch-22! Fatigue yields poor levels of health, which brings about more fatigue! Addressing health concerns is essential to get off of the merry-go-round of lethargy.
Commonly addressed in chiropractic are breakdowns in posture and the resulting interference to proper nerve function. When the shoulders round, the head moves forward, the upper back arches and the hips glide anterior far greater energy is consumed just to maintain the upright posture. Chiropractic adjustments realign the spinal bones and greatly improve posture. With restored balance, energy is regained. Please visit RosenthalChiropractic.com to read the past article titled “Upper Back HUMP = A Slouch in Your Health or a Shortened Life!” for more information.
Exhausted from reading about some of the unnecessary debits in your energy account? You are the banker and comptroller. You have the POWER to make the improvements necessary to divert your precious resources! With a little effort, you can shut your alarm clock off each morning minutes before it calls in the 18-wheelers. You CAN enjoy life with the ENERGY OF YOUR DREAMS!