Friday, March 4, 2016

5 Ways to Stay Energized

Now that we're about to bid farewell to another Chicago winter (hopefully!), our minds are shifting gears and we're so ready to feel revitalized with warmer weather and beautiful Spring colors. But it's been a long road to get there...the first three months of a new year are always the hardest because the excitement of the holidays has passed and most days seem long and grey so it's important to keep our energy up until the first flowers start to bloom.

Here are 5 easy tips for staying energized & positive until the official arrival of Spring:

1.   Drink Up – One cup of coffee (okay, three on THOSE kind of days) is totally acceptable (and necessary) but it’s fun to mix it up with some different options. I have started to love incorporating tea into my daily routine, especially on cold days but there are plenty of refreshing flavors for the warmer months.  Republic of Tea has some great options with plenty of health benefits including antioxidants, greater immunity, improved cognitive functions and less fatigue. To start, try the toasted coconut – yum! I’m also a huge fan of David’s Tea (Birthday Cake), Teavana (Youthberry) and Tazo (Wild Sweet Orange – I drink this on a daily basis!)

2.   Workout in the A.M.– If you’re a night person, it can be very difficult to not repeatedly hit the snooze button in the morning but remember, the biggest obstacle is getting out of bed. Once you’re up, drink a full glass of water (hot with a lemon for added benefits!) to get your energy going. I used to always go to the gym after work but I tried a 6:00 AM yoga class a few months back and haven't looked back. It gets easier every time I go and now I can't imagine starting my day any other way. There are so many benefits to this – I notice my body and general outlook on the day is 100% improved when I start the day with a workout…and not to mention, I feel so relieved knowing I can go home after work instead of dreading another obligation after a long day. If you don’t belong to a gym (or can’t fathom driving anywhere this early), there are plenty of 10-20 minute workouts available online to help rev your metabolism for the day. Lisa is a huge fan of the Daily Burn which is streaming workouts for $13 a month (first 30 days free). Of course, there’s also plenty of free workouts available on Youtube…as long as you do something, you’re still beating everyone who slept in :)

3.   Snack all day long – A few of my co-workers and I eat around the clock, usually ever 2-3 hours and constantly take heat for it…”You’re eating again?” Some people don’t have this mindset and are very set on the standard 3 meals a day but some research shows it’s better to eat less, more often...when it comes down to it, it's what works best for you. Over the years, I’ve learned what’s best for my body – If I eat a large amount of food in one sitting, I tend to be in pain for the rest of the day, as it’s just not easy on my stomach. I much prefer to much on healthy snacks that keep my metabolism running rather than try to digest a huge meal all at once. Not to mention, frequent eating staves off hunger and controls blood sugar…bazinga!

4.   De-stress with music – Give your mind a change of pace and listen to some music (/whistle) while you work J I share a large office with multiple other people which can lead to a lot of interruptions during the course of a day…Needless to say, sometimes the only way I can actually focus on my to-do list is by tuning out the background noise and turning up a creative playlist. If you are a Spotify fan like me, check out the “chill” category under genres and moods where there is a playlist for every feeling. My go-to lists include “Acoustic Afternoon” and “Pop-Chill out.” If I’m not listening to a pre-made list, you can most likely assume I’ve got on a random mix of Sinatra, Winehouse and some Nashville cast for some variety ;) To sum up, music is literally how I stay sane on a daily basis.

5.   Take a break - Don't stay glued to your computer— As someone who stares at a screen for 8+ hours a day, I get concerned about what this is doing for my health. Don’t even get me started on all of the news stories in the past few years that basically go like this: “YOU ARE SLOWLY KILLING YOURSELF BY SITTING ALL DAY LONG.” If you think about it, humans were never meant to sit in one position for a long period of time so it’s VERY important to give your body occasional movement to change channels and get oxygen flowing. Get up and talk with co-workers instead of sending an email, stand while you’re on a long conference call or my favorite, go for a walk at lunch. There is nothing so pressing that it can’t wait 30 minutes until you’ve gotten some fresh air – As an added benefit, you will feel much more ready to tackle your work once you’ve had a change of scenery. Creativity works best with a little boost every now and then!

How do you stay energized during the change of seasons? 

Let me know, I'd love to add to my list!