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9 Reliable Lifestyle Tweaks To Boost Your Energy In A Big Way

If you're tired of feeling tired, you're going to want to read this.

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Ana Curbelo
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Have you noticed you don’t have the energy you used to? Yeah, me too. Whether you blame hormonal fluctuations, a crappy diet or lack of sleep, an absence of energy is continually listed as an issue for women in their mid-40s and over. According to a survey from last year, more than one-third of adults say they’re “too tired” to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

"Starting in our 40s, all the way through the end of life, our bodies are going through a series of transitions in the menopausal journey," said nurse Tina Murphy, a menopausal practitioner at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital in Palos Heights, Illinois. That includes fluctuations in hormones that can affect sleep, increase your risk of disease, and make you more likely to develop insulin resilience. "As estrogen drops, it can trigger a whole host of symptoms that can contribute to low energy and low libido," she added.

The solution? Take a closer look at your lifestyle. "You want to identify what is draining your energy, and what you can do to improve your energy level," said Dr. Alice D. Domar, author of Be Happy Without Being Perfect.

Here are nine smart strategies that will help give you more get-up-and-go every day.

Energy Booster: More Protein

Your diet may be a cause of low energy. "Insulin resistance is the number one cause of having energy issues ... due to hormones, the body responds differently to the foods we eat," said Murphy. "Cut back on carbs (more about that in a bit), which can cause blood sugar crashes, and eat more protein.

"The body works better with protein," said Murphy. "It gives you energy and increases metabolism and you need it to build muscles and that's what keeps your body going." A good goal is to consume as many grams of protein as pounds you weigh every day.

Energy Booster: More Movement

Even if you don’t have time to exercise every day, moving more frequently will help give you energy, said Murphy. Your goal? To accrue 30 to 60 minutes a day of movement, at least some of which is somewhat challenging. “Walking is great, but you want to get your heart rate up,” said Murphy.

Energy Drain: Eating Too Many Carbs — And Eating Too Often

A diet high in carbs can cause a blood sugar roller coaster, leaving you feeling tired and cranky. You needn’t eliminate all carbs but be mindful of your intake and consume protein or fat with your carbs to help smooth out energy levels. You may also want to try intermittent fasting, or extending the time between meals. “Intermittent fasting can help reduce inflammation and can balance your body’s utilization of insulin, so you’re more stable and energetic,” explained Murphy.

Energy Booster: Better Quality Sleep

“When you’re talking about energy … most women are tired because they’re not getting enough sleep,” said Domar. “Go to bed and get up at the same time — and the only things you should do in your bed are sleep and sex.” One of the easiest ways to improve your sleep is to lower your thermostat to somewhere in the 60s. “Cool down your bedroom,” said Domar. “The cooler the bedroom, the better you’re going to sleep.”

Energy Drain: Your Nightly Cocktail

While a cocktail or glass of wine may leave you feeling relaxed and sleepy, it can have a rebound effect on energy levels. You're more likely to wake up during the night, and more than one drink can affect your sleep quality by almost 40 percent, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you’re in the habit of a drink or two at night, swap in a non-alcoholic version for several nights to see if your sleep, and energy level, improve.

Energy Drain: Social Media

Domar is direct. “Social media is evil,” said Domar. “I don’t think you’ll find a mental health pro who will say it’s good for your health. You have FOMO (fear of missing out) …. And it’s really hard to stay happy when you think everyone else is having a better life than you.” Those FOMO feelings can leave you feeling blue, and tired, too. Can’t completely sever the social media cord? Set a nightly deadline and get off your phone an hour or two before bed — the light from it (or your laptop) makes it harder to fall asleep.

Energy Booster: Your BFFs

“The pandemic eviscerated friendships and people got used to getting ‘social support’ from Zoom or your phone,” said Domar. But we’re wired to thrive on face-to-face connections, so add more of them to your life. “Prioritize your friends — that will give you energy,” she said. Laughing, connecting and doing fun things together are powerful energy boosters (and stress relievers as well).

Energy Booster: Better Hydration

How’s your water intake? Being dehydrated can leave you feeling tired, so make sure you’re getting enough water, said Domar. That means consuming at least 8 ounces every few hours. Cut back on your intake in the hours before bed so you don’t have to get up at night to pee.

Energy Drain: Stressing Over Small Stuff

Spending 20 minutes looking for your keys, your phone or your wallet is a definite energy drain. Disorganization can be a symptom of stress, so take a hard look at what you’re doing to reduce the stress in your life, said Domar. “Try out relaxation strategies — try different ones until you find one you like,” she says. Whether that’s a mini-mediation, a hard workout on your Peloton or a massage, managing your stress will also boost your energy.

Finally, if you can't shake your fatigue even with these strategies, it's worth talking to your doctor. Some underlying conditions, including thyroid conditions and anemia, can cause low energy, said Murphy.

When you're feeling blah, what do YOU do to boost your energy level? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Health