Energy Boosters, Part 2: Avoid Energy Drainers

Last week we talked about the ways to increase energy levels. Today, we will look at the ways to save this precious energy by avoiding the drainers. While you might be aware of some, others are very specific to Ayurveda and will be eye-opening to the dwellers of the Western world.

Energy Draining Foods – Just as there is food to boost energy, there is food that can drain significant amounts of energy. Any fast food, canned, frozen, packaged, leftovers and foods that contains preservatives, chemicals, and additives are difficult to digest and contain little nutritional content.

If you do indulge and feel heavy afterwards, Ayurveda advices drinking half a glass of water with 1/4 of a fresh lime squeezed into it. But if you feel dull, sluggish, and drained every day, it probably means that your diet contains too many energy-draining foods. This means that you need to overhaul your diet to include foods that are light and nourishing and can be used efficiently by your body to create energy.
Iced Drinks (especially when tired) – It takes a lot of energy to warm up that iced coffee to body temperature. If you feel tired, it means you are already running low on this precious resource, why waste more? Opt for warm or room temperature drinks instead.

Overeating Before Going to Sleep – Well, it is better not to overeat in general but especially before going to bed. You won’t get a restful sleep if you stomach is fighting with a piece of cake inside.

Self-Induced Overexertion – our goal oriented society often encourages people to push themselves over the limit. By the time we reach that highly desired goal, we don’t take time to enjoy it, we start pursuing the next one. It is good to challenge yourself both physically and mentally but know when to take a break. Think more with less. For example, if your goal is to practice yoga every day, consider making 1 or 2 days restorative by reducing the number of standing asanas and focusing of seated postures, breathing, and meditation, or taking or restorative class. Same applies to work, study, dieting, and everything else.

Pointless Anxiety and Mental Chatter.
It is easy to say “stop being anxious”, but it is a lot harder to draw the awareness inwards during those anxious moments and cease it. Even small things can trigger anxiety and depressing mental chatter: you are running late to the meeting, subway is taking forever, all cabs are off duty, and your boss unexpectedly gave you another assignment. So you automatically start the chain of “what if’s” in your head living through all horrible scenarios, dialogues, or excuses. It is counterproductive and creates a circle of self-induced often unreasonable anxiety. Next time your catch yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet, try to pause and ask yourself why are you doing it? Can you actually influence the future this way? If not, then relax and let things just develop in their natural way. Worrying and anxiety rarely solves any problems. Think of becoming an instrument, do what needs to be done, the best way it can be done, and then let go. This approach will save your energy, precious nerve cells, and time!
Bad Quality or Not Enough Sleep – This one seems obvious, we all know that sleep is necessary for our body to function. Frederic Patenaude, a life style counselor and nutritionist, draws an interesting parallel. He says that your car may have a full tank of gasoline, but if the battery is dead it won’t start. The same is true for humans. You may eat all you want but in the end if you don’t sleep enough to recharge your batteries you won’t have energy. Focusing only on the number of hours in bed is not sufficient on its own.  The quality of sleep is crucial to the energy level. 5 hours in a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional relaxation will produce better results than 8 hours of constant twisting and turning. If you have hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, try Yoga Nidra to take your relaxation to the next level. Ayurveda has some effective sleep inducing tips also:
•    One of the simplest and most effective ways to induce sleep is to rub some oil on the scalp and the soles of the feet before going to bed. Use sesame oil, brahmi oil, jasmine oil, or coconut oil and massage gently for a few minutes. Slightly warming the oil before applying is helpful.
•    Drink a cup of warm milk before going to bed. You can drink plain milk if you prefer, but adding a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom will make it more delicious as well as more effective.
•    Chamomile tea is caffeine free and is a traditional remedy for insomnia.

•    Valerian root is great to relieve stress and induce relaxation. It is available in tea or drops form at most health foods stores.
Chronically Sad, Depressed, or Angry Friends – Everyone has problems and needs support sometimes, that’s why we have friends. Unfortunately, some people are just pessimistic by their nature and there is almost nothing you can do. If you feel like you involuntarily got a full time counselor job, feel free to fire yourself! If your friend demands attention, time, and support without the regard to your own life, it is a clear sign that your happiness is not his priority. All healthy relationships should bring you happiness and if they don’t, don’t feel bad about ending them!

The list of energy drainers can keep going and some might be very individual. Think through your daily routine and try to find what drains your energy the most. Try to choose one energy drainer a day and eliminate it from your life! One step at a time to a healthier energy-filled you!

PS: If you have a moment, share your ideas about ways to avoid pointless energy drainers! Tnx!

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