Energy Drainers Versus Energy Builders
What could be causing your low energy and how to increase it...
Until we have lost energy, we don’t realise how valuable it is. Often its loss is a gradual slide until you begin to see that you have adapted your life around your fatigue and now daily life looks different to how it used to, or what you’d like it to be.
The range of emotions experienced by people suffering from poor energy can spread from frustrating to debilitating. It’s super hard to be effective, happy, forward thinking or a great parent or friend when every day is a struggle.
It’s often difficult to put your finger on the one cause of your low energy and fatigue. That’s because it’s usually a culmination of a number of factors when added upon each other bit by bit the body slows down so that even simple daily habits aren’t automatic or easy. The brain becomes foggy and everyday decisions are harder. You may begin to retreat into yourself and it’s common then for people to begin to feel depressed or anxious as this slippery slide continues.
Even though people are on various degrees of this low energy scale, there tends to be one common factor; they’d like more energy. They’d like to jump out of bed and welcome the day, rather than dragging their feet. Maybe this sounds like you? Then read on, we may have written this just for you…
What can cause low energy levels?
Stress seems to be the answer nowadays, to most questions posed about our health in our modern day life. The reason stress is so damaging is that our stress response is the same no matter what the stress is. For instance, if we are down a dark alley and suddenly someone jumps out and begins yelling at us and chasing us, we will automatically launch into our fright/flight sympathetic stress response. Our heart rate goes up and we are literally going to run for our lives. Imagine that same stress is ongoing and doesn’t go away… as in, we feel like we keep getting chased - at some stage we will fatigue, even though the stress remains.
So, if your stress is a crying baby, an unhappy relationship, a work colleague etc, you will experience that same fright/flight stress response in this situation as you would in the dark alley; your heart rate will go up and you will want to run or protect life. And if the stress continues and you can’t adapt to it, you will lose energy, you will lose health. You will get very tired and lapse further into a myriad of other health concerns like high blood pressure, migraines, dysmenorrhea, low sex drive and gut sensitivities just to name a few.
2. Chemical stressors/ Medication
There are so many chemicals in our lives that we don’t even realise; Paint, pesticides, preservatives, colourings, perfumes, exhaust, deodorant, additives, sprays and the list continues. Due to the volume of toxins we encounter daily our eliminatory organs become overwhelmed, slow down and are then less effective and begin to store these chemicals and we begin to feel exhausted. Further, now add on medications. Some medications are necessary, however some, are certainly overkill. Most people are unaware that there are known side effects to every medication. Open your packet of pills and read the leaflet inside and you will find out just a handful of their side effects. The longer you are on medication, the bigger the drain on your liver and kidneys, the more you will notice your energy lowering.
We used to talk about the 3 general categories of stress, all starting with T – Trauma, Thoughts and Toxins, well, now we can add another T, technology. Staring at a screen, whether it’s a monitor, laptop, phone, iPad or TV for minutes, hours or days on end has unlimited consequences – one of the biggest being loss of energy.
- Screens effect your small muscles around your eyes causing eye strain, blurred vison, headaches and fatigue.
- Screens reduce your melatonin production resulting in poor quality and quantity of sleep
- Screen time has been associated with increasing cortisol (stress hormone) levels
- Screen time has also been associated with low GABA with is responsible for sleep, happiness and lowering stress levels.
4. Poor Posture
Our body uses huge amounts of energy just to hold us upright daily. If our posture is wrong, then it has to use even more energy to hold us up. Your head is heavy. It’s about the weight of a bowling ball. The further your head goes forward (called forward head posture) the weight of it effectively increases. In fact, every 2.5cm it goes forward the weight of your head effectively doubles. Yes, that will cause neck and mid back pain, it can also cause fatigue, brain fog and potentially headaches.
5. Spinal Misalignment
Your skull and spine house your brain and nerve system. It’s such an important system that it’s protected by bone. Unfortunately, the skull and spinal bones can get stuck and stop moving correctly. This interferes with the information being sent though your nervous system. Usually, long before you experience spinal pain, when your spine is not aligned correctly you will notice low energy levels, poor quality sleep and brain fog.
How to increase your energy
1. Natural Daylight
Many of us live our daylight hours surrounded by artificial light and blue light. This can upset our sleep rhythms and hormonal cycles. As soon as you wake up in the morning open your curtains and welcome the natural daylight. Try to limit screens and artificial light as the day turns into night. Get outside as the sun is setting and allow your body clock to become aligned with nature.
2. A Healthy Neck Curve
Our neck protects the thickest part of our spinal cord. Running through our neck bones is essential life
giving information. We want to put our neck in a position daily for that information to be delivered fully so we have maximum energy. When you are in positions of forward head posture think of the 20 / 20 / 20 rule; Every 20 minutes look 20 metres away for 20 seconds. Give your eyes, nervous system and neck a chance to recover and reset. You will be surprised by incorporating this rule into your daily habits how much more energy you will have at the end of your day and how happier your eyes will be.
3. Deep sleep
There are so many factors you can look at to improve your sleep. Here are a number of them;
· Sleep in a room cooler than 18°C
· Stop exercising 3 hours prior to going to sleep
· Don’t look at screens at least an hour before bedtime
· Get up at the same time everyday
· Get to bed as much as you can before midnight
· Don’t eat at least 2 hours before bedtime
Global movement is essential. Walking, jogging, skipping, weight training, functional movement, team sports, skiing, rock climbing, cycling – our bodies are designed to move. Movement gives us more oxygen, greater blood flow, endorphins are released, increased lung volume and capacity. Unfortunately, our bodies kind of rust due to lack of movement. So, find something that lights your fire and get moving.
Even though global movement is essential, segmental movement is life changing. In particular if a spinal joint gets stuck, then as previously mentioned the information coming in isn’t quite right and then doesn’t get processed properly in the brain. Having your spine aligned by a Chiropractor and making sure those individual spinal joints are indeed moving fully and correctly has massive implications on your energy and brain health. Scientist Dr Heidi Haavik talks about how spinal alignments light up the prefrontal cortex of your brain which can increase how happy you are, turn off your stress reflex, allow you to sleep deeply, plus many more cool things.
Fatigue and low energy levels can really suck the joy out of life. Choose one simple thing that we’ve mentioned above to change in your day and you may just see a tincy bit of fun and bounce creeping back into your life again. Consider having your spine checked too. It’s exciting to see how your body can heal once it’s aligned. You can contact us on 02 6009 0999.