In my last blog I discussed the concept of metabolic reserve being akin to our internal battery pack. In this way, we can start to look at our lives in terms of what will reduce our ‘battery’, and what will increase it. This can enable us to move out of a fatigue cycle, and start to build to a point where we can opperate at maximum power, efficiency, ease, and enjoyment.
In Part 1, we looked at many of the potential ‘suckers’ of our life battery, including poor diet, psychological stress, physical stress and sleep disturbances. Today I want to focus on all the wonderful things in life that can counteract these ‘suckers’, and enable us to work towards getting that battery closer to full.
Lets get that battery amped!
- maximising vegetable and fruit intake of all colours. These foods contain the most concentrated levels of incredible health protecting phytonutrients to ensure every cell in our body can work to it’s full potential
- organic where possible – to remove the draining toxic load created by chemical pesticides, preservatives, flavours, colours..
- free-range, organic meats, offal, seafood and eggs
- abundance of healthy fats – omega 3 fatty fish, avocado, seeds, nuts, nut butters, olive oil, to help minimise inflammation
- water, water, water
- health protecting herbs and spices – onions, peppers, garlic, turmeric, cloves, ginger….
The amount required to keep the battery charged is very individual, but generally falls between 7-8 hours. It will also depend on the level of ‘suckers’ in your life. For example, I found training for marathons saw me require an extra hour of sleep a night. Quality is also key to ensure we get into that deep, regenerative sleep.
This can involve elimination of stressors, as well as learning to deal with stress better. The activites listed below help to switch our bodies from sympathetic, or fight/flight mode, to parasympathetic relaxation mode, which is crucial in terms of re-charging.
- meditation and breathing methods
- restorative yoga
- tai chi
- Qigong – this one I say from advice, rather than experience. I’d love to hear your experiences.
Touch and Pleasure
A basic human need that releases endorphins, and reduces cortisol, helping us to feel happy and energised.
- massage (note deep tissue massage can be a stressor if your metabolic reserve is already compromised)
- sex, cuddling
- patting your cat, dog, horse, chicken?
Social Connection / laughter
When our metabolic reserve is low, we often avoid social situations which we can find draining, but we still need social contact to build our energy. Choose to engage with friends and family who you find uplifting, and plan a relaxed coffee date, where you don’t feel pressured to stay for hours, or past your bedtime!
Inactivity is not even suggested for those HPA-D, as it will actually leave you feeling more fatigued. Try activities that are not physically demanding, that you enjoy, and you should feel your battery charging. Intensity and duration both matter. For example – going for a slow 30m walk is likely to envigorate you, but pushing yourself to powerwalk for an hour may not.
- gentle walking
- restorative yoga – slow flow, nidra etc (avoid hot rooms, 90m classes and more physical forms)
- light weights – this can also stimulate mitochondrial production (our cells’ inner battery)
- light cycling / swimming
- slow paddle boarding
- surfing (many I know call this their form of meditation, perhaps just the gentle waves, so you’re not draining the reserves to paddle out)
Nature and Sunshine
There’s now scientific evidence backing up the energy-giving effects of adequate sunshine and Vit D, being in parks/forrests, and walking barefoot in the sand next to crashing waves, but do we really need research studies to tell us this? All I know is that whenever I’m exhausted, walking down to the ocean for a 10 min dip leaves me feeling amazing, period.
Creativity and Play
Often these are the things we naturally do as children, but somehow give up in our adult lives. I encourage you to be a kid again, paint, make music, sing, dance, do whatever it was that kept you entertained for hours, or just try something new. Follow your heart.
Even when we have no stressors in our lives, many of us wonder why we still feel so flat. We eat well, sleep well, have good relationships, a good job, but still feel a heaviness, and sense of being lost. The best advice I could offer here is just start by trying new things, get involved, volunteer, meditate on it, and if you need to, ask for assisstance from a life coach, counsellor, or even a trusted friend. It’s probably the worlds most asked question: what is my purpose? Unfortunately, only you know the answer.
I hope this blog is in someway helpful to you getting back your Perky, and I look forward to expanding on these areas and delving into a whole lot more with you in the future.