Any energizer bunnies out there?
January 24, 2016 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Did you used to be a low-energy person, and then changed something and you're now a high-energy person? What did you change to get more energy?

I'm often physically and mentally exhausted. I'd like to have more energy -- I'm not looking for a quick fix, but a long-term solution. If you're someone who used to have low energy and made a lifestyle change so that you now have more energy on a daily basis, what's your secret? (I'm not really looking for answers from people who naturally have high energy, but rather people that had to make some change to improve their energy level.)
posted by phoenix_rising to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 98 users marked this as a favorite
Started getting up at the same time each day and sitting in front of a sun lamp for 30 minutes before starting my day. HUGE difference.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:10 PM on January 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

Regular exercise and antidepressants.
posted by decathecting at 7:10 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Losing weight.
posted by cecic at 7:18 PM on January 24, 2016

Also losing weight. Not every day, but I'm much more energetic than I was.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:27 PM on January 24, 2016

Sleep. Sleep hygiene, melatonin, and occasionally sleeping pills as needed. If you are exhausted all the time it might also be poor sleep, caused by sleep apnea or something. But personally just small lifestyle changes made a huge difference for me.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:34 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Regular exercise and less wine.
posted by frumiousb at 7:40 PM on January 24, 2016

Exercise, changed to a low carb diet and found the right amount of sleep I need each night through trial and error. Also, I am a night person, but I found that if I got up every morning at 6:00AM, I had much more energy through the day although I was exhausted when I hit my couch at the end of the day. And, counter-intuitively (to me at least) when I cut out caffeine.
posted by AugustWest at 7:55 PM on January 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

lost weight (cut out/down grains, sugar & dairy)
cut back caffeine to one cup of coffee in the a.m.
thyroid medication
got a divorce
posted by WesterbergHigh at 8:06 PM on January 24, 2016 [7 favorites]

Sleep study that diagnosed sleep apnea.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:06 PM on January 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

I don't know that I can call myself a consistently high-energy person, but staying hydrated and cutting back to 1-2 cups of coffee a day has definitely had a positive impact.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:10 PM on January 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Getting to therapy and being more in touch with how I felt emotionally and physically as I went about my business helped me stay on track with other healthy behaviors. For me, it wasn't just a matter of "eating healthy" or "getting enough sleep," because cognitively, I already understood that those things were good and "important" for maintaining my energy levels-- it was more that I needed to get better at listening to the signals my body was sending me to ensure that those behaviors actually happened. For example, "eating healthy" doesn't mean munching on kale and avocadoes all day. For me, it's also being engaged and present enough to have the energy to buy ingredients, prepare a meal, eat without distractions, chew thoroughly, and hopefully eat with other people several times a week. This has a much higher chance of happening when I feel emotionally well, balanced, and self-aware, hence therapy.

That said, getting a medical check-up and addressing my anemia and hypothyroidism helped as well.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 8:12 PM on January 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thyroid medication and staying on top of my blood sugar (which gets low easily).
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:13 PM on January 24, 2016

Exercise. But gauge it right so you're revved, but not too tired. I started riding my bike to work and it's great, you arrive there feeling like, "o.k, let's go!

Avoid plopping down afterward. It doesn't take much to keep the buzz going.

Btw, I tried that light therapy thing and it didn't do squat.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 8:14 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Antidepressants, better eat and sleep, increasing the dosage of my antidepressants.
posted by silby at 8:16 PM on January 24, 2016

I have always been fairly low energy. In the last six weeks I: Stopped drinking alcohol, eat breakfast every day, reduced carbs, exercise regularly, drink lots of coffee, regularly stand up from my desk at work, get 7-8 hours quality sleep each night. My energy is through the roof. And I take melatonin if I can't go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
posted by banishedimmortal at 8:16 PM on January 24, 2016 [9 favorites]

Getting on daily preventative asthma medication.
posted by Andrhia at 8:46 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I left rotating shift work, refused to work nights at all anymore. Quit drinking, except for water, green tea, and my favorite grapefruit juice... Regular exercise, preferably first thing in the morning: even if it's just a 15 - 20 minute warm-up and range-of-motion thing. Clean eating, plant-based diet.
posted by itsflyable at 8:47 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Low carb diet!
posted by The Toad at 8:49 PM on January 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Taking a multivitamin
posted by aniola at 9:05 PM on January 24, 2016

Less alcohol and thyroid medication
posted by gillianr at 9:57 PM on January 24, 2016

I was just about to ask this question! So thanks in advance. This is what I've done for me:

- Go to therapy, and get in touch with my suppressed feelings, anxiety loops, and learning how to understand and calm down my nervous system so it isn't in constant fight or flight and pumping cortisol into my system.

- Spend time reading self-help books related to stuff that nourishes me, so anxiety management, mindfulness meditation, ADHD, creativity, and exploring potential different careers. This helps me gain frameworks and knowledge to combat my different negative habits, and also nourishes my knowledge seeking part of my self.

- Losing weight. I've lost 20 pounds so far by identifying that I have a history of diabetes in my family, and making active lifestyle changes to support my health. My last blood test 4-5 months ago put me at prediabetic, and I noticed that most of my thinking and exhaustion was together at the same time as my blood sugar highs and lows.
Taking chromium picolinate to help regulate my blood sugar, eating less carbs and more fat, protein, and vegetables, drinking more water, and learning how to understand my hunger pangs, and learning how to differentiate between when I'm hungry or thirsty has helped so much. I think right now, my body is now burning my fat for energy, and it's helping me feel lighter and move around more quickly. I also find myself a lot less sluggish. It's also taught me to pay attention to my physical needs first, and seeing if it will help alleviate my mental health issues in the moment.

- Understanding what sucks my energy and what doesn't, and then making active changes to do that. Like I realized that I constantly set myself up to be socially anxious, and so I spent so much time before, during, and after during my social interactions that it was sucking so much of my energy. So I decided to actively talk with my loved ones about my struggles, looked up self-help books, got treatment, and kept on practicing healthier and more relaxed ways of modeling.

- Traveling and getting out of my comfort zone. I have never done a road trip to another state before, muchless during winter, and it was really eye-opening how much I could really operate on even when I thought I was tired. I think trusting yourself to know when you are tired and knowing when you are energetic is part of energy management.

- Sleeping. I think it's important, if possible, to let yourself sleep as long as you need, everyday, for a week, and see how much sleep you really need. I learned that I really need 10-12 hours of sleep because I've ran on 5 or so hours of sleep for the past 10 years, and my sleep debt is ferocious.

- Sunlight exposure. I really need my sunlight, and I just bought a sun lamp so I could get it when it's overcast and the sun doesn't come out.

- Connecting with what resonates with me deeply on many different levels, like relationship-wise, work-wise, creativity, politics-wise, etc. I feel a lot of love and joy in being an intersectional feminist, and feel grateful for my group of very conscious, committed friends who strive to make change in all their different ways, and it inspires me to work hard to figure out what my own dreams are, and to do projects together with them. In that process, it helps me be energetic even when I feel cranky and want to cry and give up, since I learn how to manage those feelings and learn the difference between when I can do it, and when I just really need to take a break and stop for a bit. It helps me with learning more about myself, and listening to my own inner voice.

I still don't think I'm the most energetic person ever, but I feel way more energetic now than I have for the past several years, and I think it really boils down to getting to know yourself and taking really, really good care of yourself, and knowing that the skills to do so, do take some time to learn. But I consider it as a massive act of self-love and self-care, and I'm very happy to learn so many skills for how to help heal myself. It's really nice, and I look forward to getting more and more energy everyday. I still haven't committed to regular exercising yet, since it's a habit I haven't built, but I know when I start, it'll help a lot with my energy levels. Much love to you!
posted by yueliang at 10:12 PM on January 24, 2016 [13 favorites]

I started treating my allergies more aggressively, both via drugs and via avoidance (eg only wood floors that I clean 2x a week, only bedding I can wash on high heat 1x a week).

Also I got therapy and a new job with a boss I like.
posted by nat at 10:16 PM on January 24, 2016

Also as a note, my comment is spread out over two-three years, so definitely not all at once. Maybe for some items on the list, I started as late as 6 months ago, so it's a work in progress. But it's better than me fainting, and I feel a lot more able than I used to.
posted by yueliang at 10:18 PM on January 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I figured out that I was gluten-intolerant and lactose-intolerant. I sleep much better now, and so I feel more rested and have way more energy.
posted by colfax at 3:20 AM on January 25, 2016

Regular exercise has made a huge difference in my energy levels. I run 5 days a week.
posted by barnoley at 3:36 AM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Decrease sugar.
posted by RoadScholar at 5:03 AM on January 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Standing desk at work. No more afternoon sleepy zone.

Also, I've been chronically tired when I was either anemic or vitamin B deficient (both easily fixable with dietary changes and supplements). It's worth getting a blood panel done to check your levels.
posted by john_snow at 10:24 AM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Exercising everyday. The difference it creates in your energy level is amazing. Otherwise, I'm a total slug.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:07 PM on January 25, 2016

Daily moderate to high intensity exercise. I do it in the morning and it makes a huge difference in how I feel throughout the day.
posted by zug at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2016

*Getting diagnosed with celiac and adhering to a gluten-free diet.
Losing weight.
Eliminating alcohol, caffeine and sugar. (I still have alcohol sometimes but it definitely makes me feel tired the next day. Even 1/2 glass of wine!)
*Getting my iron, B-12 and D levels checked and taking supplements accordingly.
*Thyroid medication. Mine was always on the edge of abnormal and the doc finally gave me medicine once it tipped the edge and holy cow! To think I put up with that for years when it would make such a huge difference!
At least 3 hours of vigorous exercise a week. Think sweaty and red-faced. This was a lot easier to do after I lost weight.
Adequate sleep--for me this means 8-9.5 hours/night. (All those articles that advise "at least 7 hours" are nuts imo. I rarely get enough though because I have interests outside of work and like to spend time on those things.)

*made the biggest differences.
posted by purple_bird at 4:24 PM on January 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

As stated above, a low carb diet did this for me, specifically the keto diet.

A lot of people talk about the crazy amount of energy they experience after a month or so on keto, and as a naturally very low energy person I was like "uh no, not me oh well." Boy was I wrong. I was always super cold and eating <20 g of carbs a day turned me into a flipping space heater who couldn't slow down. YMMV.
posted by moons in june at 6:21 PM on January 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm not saying that I'm a manosphere of crackling energy but I certainly have more energy than I used to and I put it down to barbell training and giving up smoking. The days I miss training I feel exhausted. It's weird.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:21 PM on January 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

No more booze/drugs did the trick for me . . .
posted by eggman at 1:07 PM on January 29, 2016

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