With the hot summer season upon us, you may find that you are lacking in energy and find it quite hard to move yourself. There may not also be the same ‘buzz’ around the office owing to people being away on vacation, all of which may mean that it is more difficult to be self-motivated.
Tasks that should be done now may get put on the back burner as you convince yourself that they can wait until tomorrow. But somehow, tomorrow never comes. Sometimes, by lunchtime, you feel your eyes closing as you struggle to focus on your screen, when all you really want to do is have a snooze.
It is at times like these when you feel irritable that you start to make poor decisions. You know that you are not being proactive and you are not in the mood to meet targets or implement any new initiatives.
You finish work and instead of going to the gym for a short workout, you go home and pick up the remote control for the TV. If this sounds familiar, then you are probably experiencing ‘summer lethargy’ — but the good news is that you can do something about it.
So let’s look at ways that you can energise yourself:
Go for a walk
When you feel drowsy, make it a point of going for a short walk to increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. You may also find that a change of surroundings and different people to talk to can also increase your energy levels. If you are a manager, then this is a good time to walk the talk and catch up with your team.
When it is hot, make sure that you are not dehydrated. Our bodies need essential water to function effectively and when you are busy, it is sometimes easy to forget to drink sufficiently. If you are dehydrated, this can affect your memory as well as your energy levels.
As soon as you feel yourself flagging, quickly grab a glass of water that should be plain and not high-sugar which can give you a short energy boost but which will be followed by increased fatigue afterwards.
If you are working on a particularly boring task, you may find it useful to stop what you are doing momentarily and to examine the reason why you are required to complete this particular piece of work.
Assess your mental profile
Ask yourself whether you are a ‘morning’ or ‘afternoon’ person? When are you at your most creative and proactive best? If it is in the morning, then ensure that your to-do list reflects that and allows you to do the tasks that need energy and inspiration early in the morning and leaves the more routine jobs to later on in the day when energy levels are lower.
If you eat foods with a high fat content, or with sugar, salt and artificial ingredients, then you are not feeding your body with the essential nutrients it needs to enable you to work at your optimal level. A snack bar may give a quick burst of energy by raising your blood sugar levels but it is not sustainable as these levels will very quickly drop and can leave you feeling worse than before you starting snacking.
When you take a break for lunch or coffee, be sure to include fruit, vegetables and/or high-protein bars.
Most of us experience highs and lows during the day. The most important thing is to know your own body and to learn which is the best fuel for it in order to maintain energy and momentum, so that, particularly during the summer, your body (and your mindset) are both ready for optimum performance.
And when you get home in the evening, hide the TV remote control safely out of the way. Talk to your spouse, phone a friend, play with the children, go to the gym, or start to write that book you always promised yourself. Or listen to some of your favourite music and when your foot starts to tap, you will automatically be bringing energy back into your body and you will start to re-energise yourself.
Then, you will really notice the difference and so will everyone else around you.
— The author is a BBC guest broadcaster and motivational speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available in all good bookshops.
* Engines need fuel, and so do you.
* Drink plain water, not high-sugar drinks.
* Exercise increases momentum and drive.