by Serena Argens, Rise & Shine Bright Founder & Coach
It’s normal for our energy to wane as the seasons change, particularly from Summer into Fall.
Fall begins the onset of shorter days and longer nights. Temperatures begin to drop; the leaves change colors…and then eventually, they drop too. Life goes in cycles. Plants die in the Fall so that there can be new birth in the Spring – it’s a universal dance of death and rebirth. There’s a time to end and begin, and this is the close of one cycle and the beginning of another.
Many feel the pull to cozy up inside and naturally their energy starts to come inward. As our energy turns inward, it can be a powerful time for reflection and gratitude. While naturally many of us will feel this energetic ebb...most of us don’t have the liberty to slow things down completely in our lives...like our bodies may feel inclined to do.
Here are some tips to help maintain energy levels as they begin to dip this season:
1) Understand the difference between rest and recharge, then prioritize BOTH.
It's common to use the terms rest and recharge interchangeably, however, they are quite different and both very important to our overall well-being.
One of the main reasons for sustained stress, fatigue, and burnout is due to a lack of honoring our body’s need for rest. Research suggests that our bodies and brains need to be in rest 42% of the time, that is about 10h out of every 24h period (which includes sleep).
Rest is giving our bodies and mind a break when we need it.
There are different types of rest, such as physical, mental, creative, social, and emotional but the bottom line is that rest is needed in order to prevent catabolic or cannibalizing energy, which drains us. When we are in more of a catabolic or stressed state, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol which can be helpful for short periods of time, but over longer periods of time can cause lots of larger physical and mental issues (ex: anxiety, depression, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, etc.).
Recharge differs in that it’s a more intentional activity that we partake in that helps build up more anabolic, constructive energy, that helps sustain us through daily activities and/or navigate stressors more effectively.
Recharging activities can be a form of rest but not all rest is recharging. For example, I love an opportunity to lounge on the couch and watch one of my shows, or go get a pedicure, or get out to run an errand by myself without my family. These all feel restful in that I’m giving my body and mind a break; however, they are not recharging activities for me. They don’t fill me with energy that can power me through the next few days like getting outside for a neighborhood walk or hike, or having a heart to heart with a good friend, or being consistent with my meditation practice.
As we enter this season where it’s natural for our energy to dip a bit, it’s extra important to prioritize BOTH rest and recharge and here a few more recommendations for recharging activities we recommend this Fall!
2. Prioritize Getting Outside
Exposure to fresh air, getting out in nature, and being around natural light has been scientifically proven to restore balance to the body and increase energy. Just like sunlight stimulates photosynthesis and helps plants make their own fuel, sunlight can have the same powerful effect on humans. Even just 5-15m of exposure to sunlight can stimulate our bodies to create vitamin D, boost serotonin levels, and overall help improve energy levels.
3. Move Your Body
Any physical activity that gets the heart rate up and blood flowing will release endorphins which help raise energy levels. A recent study actually suggests that physical activity can increase energy levels more so than taking a nap. Even light exercise – as little as 10 minutes each day – can help replenish energy levels and help beat the “blahs” more efficiently than resting can.
Also, when our sympathetic nervous system is overactive, i.e., we’re in a stress cycle or overly anxious/tense – one of the best ways to regulate and get into better balance is to move your body. It doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous exercise, which can tax the body in other ways, but a grounding exercise such as walking, yoga, dancing, etc. can be very healing as well as recharging.
4. Fuel Up On Whole Foods & Hydrate
Technically all food provides energy but eating nutrient-rich, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, etc. can provide your body with sustainable energy to power through the day. An unhealthy diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, and eventually fatigue. Cutting down on foods that can sap energy, like sugar and refined carbohydrates is important.
Particularly being aware as we gear up for holidays that tend to bring about indulgence. This isn’t a recommendation to forgo enjoying in holiday treats, but to plan accordingly in order to avoid these indulgences becoming a slippery slope to adopting bad habits.
Also, drinking enough water daily is another extremely important way to maintain energy levels. Water makes up most of our body weight and plays an important part in the functioning of every major organ in our bodies. One of the warning signs of dehydration is actually a drain in energy levels. Drinking a natural electrolyte drink or getting enough magnesium, sodium and potassium are key for keeping energy levels up as deficiencies can lead to fatigue.
Time with friends, family, pets, the divine, etc. is as necessary as food and water.
We, as humans, are not built to function autonomously and certain, meaningful, types of connection can create powerful energy.
Connectedness has the power to counterbalance adversity and there is a direct relationship between a person’s degree of social isolation and their risk for physical and mental health problems. According to Psychiatrist, Bruce D Perry: "for someone with relational poverty, stressful experiences are magnified by the echo chamber of their own head".
Are you struggling with feeling socially isolated or disconnected from others? If so, check out our Group Coaching/Peer Accountability Groups that can help you through this period. We are launching a few groups based on different goals but all will focus on driving deeper connection and accountability as we work towards individual goals.
I would suspect that many of us know that these are the things we should be doing, yet even though there’s awareness, we may still struggle to prioritize them…or rather…to prioritize ourselves.
Why is it that many of us struggle to prioritize ourselves and our own self care?
If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem likely isn’t you, it’s likely your system. Focusing on the overall system and working to make small, incremental changes with your habits will be more sustainable than trying to tackle what may feel like a very lofty goal. We do not change by snapping our fingers and deciding to be someone entirely new. We change bit by bit, day by day, habit by habit. So first, our recommendation is to start off with trying one new habit.
Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity on how to turn a habit into a system. Simply put, what new behavior will you be trying at what time and what location? If you can clarify your intentions and even share this with someone else, this can help to hold you more accountable.
What is one new ritual you can begin doing that will help you recharge your energy this Fall?