Probably one of the biggest reasons that my clients come to see me is because they are absolutely, totally exhausted. Managing to get through their day, going through the motions, ticking off their to-do list before literally falling into bed each night, totally spent and without an ounce of energy left to give. And this is often day in, and day out.
This is what a typical day may look like:
Wake up to the 6 o’clock alarm, fall out of bed bleary eyed and head straight to the kitchen to turn the coffee machine on. Then take a 2 minute shower – Jack (my 3 year old son) decides to join me – dress, apply make-up, straighten hair and pour myself a coffee. Ahhhhh! My 30 seconds of bliss. Prepare breakfast, make children’s lunches and snacks, get Lucy (5) and Tyler (7) up, dressed and ready for school. Tom (husband) takes Jack to preschool. Stuck in peak traffic. I drop Lucy and Tyler to school then head into work. Busy day filled with meetings, phone calls, emails and scheduling. Pick kids up from after-school care, drop Tyler off to soccer practice and Lucy goes to her art class. Grab some groceries at the supermarket with Jack, drink my 4th coffee for the day then collect Tyler and Lucy and head home. Begin preparing dinner while listening to Lucy read and helping Tyler with his maths. Jack is tired and hungry. Tom walks in the door. Tell him to organise and supervise bath time. Eat dinner, kids chill out in front of the TV for an hour then off to bed, put a load of washing on, check social media, clean up the kitchen and literally fall into bed.
This scenario is played out 5 days a week. Weekends may be the only time when my clients are able to slow down a little.
This too, used to be my life. I felt that I wasn’t able to enjoy all of the moments in a day, because there were just too many things to do. My achievements came in ticking off my to-do list. I wasn’t living. I was merely existing and getting through each day as best that I could. My life looked pretty good from the outside, but inside I was not coping.
Enter YOGA. “When the student is ready the teacher appears”. I was introduced to Hatha Yoga at the most perfect time in my life. The practices helped me to become aware of the life I was living, where it wasn’t working and ultimately I knew that it was up to me to begin to make the changes that were necessary for my overall health and wellbeing. The first step for all change to happen is to become aware.
There were 2 practices in particular that helped me to SLOW down and in doing this, created more energy in my body. Sounds crazy I know! But when we learn to slow down and be more in the moment, our energy is conserved and utilised in a much more efficient way.
1. The first practice is called viparita karani or legs up the wall. This is such a beautiful yoga practice. It is so restorative and regenerative. The perfect pose at 4-5pm in the afternoon when you are feeling really tired, but you need your second wind to keep on going. Choose a quiet place in your home or office, where you will not be disturbed for 5 minutes. Turn off your mobile phone. Sit with your bottom really close to the wall and then swing your legs up the wall with your heels supported by the wall and your sitting bones supported by the floor. Place your hands gently over the navel region, close your eyes, draw the chin in towards the sternum, relax the shoulders and practice soft belly breathing for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- Calms and soothes the monkey mind
- Relieves anxiety and stress
- Helps you sleep better
- Relieves mild headaches and backaches
- Relieves tired legs, ankles and feet
- Regulates blood flow
- Improves digestion
2. The second yoga practice is a breathing technique called nadi sodhana or alternative nostril breathing. This is my favourite pranayama practice. Sit in a comfortable position, either in cross legs or on a chair with feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your back is supported. Relax the shoulders, and using your right hand, place the index and middle finger at your third eye centre, the thumb will be used to close the right nostril and the ring finger will be used to close the left nostril. Take a relaxing breath in and out. Then close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with your ring finger, release the thumb and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, close the right nostril with your thumb, release the left nostril and breathe out through the left. This is one round. ie:
= 1 round
Begin with 5 rounds and increase up to 12 rounds over several weeks. Like with any yoga pranayama practice, if it doesn’t feel right, cease the practice and allow the breath to return to normal.
- Calms and centres the mind
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Calms and rejuvenates the nervous system
- Works therapeutically for most respiratory and circulatory problems
- Improves mental clarity and an alert mind
- Enhances the ability to focus and concentrate
- Brings balance to the right and left hemispheres of the brain – the emotional and the mental
3. The last and final practice that I recommend my clients introduce initially into their day to increase their energy levels, is a Power Smoothie. It takes minutes to prepare in the morning and you can drink it in the car on your way to work.
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 dessertspoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon maca powder (begin with ½ tsp and work up to 1 tbspn)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 serve protein powder (spirulina, hempseed, whey, pea)*
½ cup blueberries
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
*It is important that you choose the right protein powder. Do you recognise all the ingredients and is it free from fillers and low in sugar? If so, then you have a winner.
I think having low energy and feeling tired and exhausted goes hand in hand with a modern day lifestyle. If you are overly concerned always see your doctor. Otherwise there are many simple tools and practices that can be introduced into your lifestyle to reduce stress and increase your energy levels. Here, I have shared 3 of my favourite ones.
With love and blessings,