The road to success is paved with full days, heavy workloads and a 24/7 schedule. An entrepreneur's life can be exhausting, and yet your overall success hinges on your ability to push through and keep at it, day in and day out.
Maintaining your energy over the long-haul is key, but everyone gets run down. Whether you’re feeling in a slump or just need a pick-me-up, here are 14 effective ways you can rev up your engines and keep hitting your stride.
1. Control your stress
Stress can create overwhelming feelings of anxiety, worry and tension, all of which take up huge amounts of energy and leave you feeling zapped and uninspired. It’s important that you find healthy ways to deal with stress, and also to recognize what may be setting you off, so you can find ways to manage your stress.
Try keeping a stress diary where you can record information about what is stressing you out and why. You can use a template to make it easier to make regular entries, throughout your day or week, so you can see if there are patterns when you feel particularly overwhelmed and then find ways to better handled it.
2. Take a cold shower
Taking a warm, steamy shower is so relaxing, but first thing in the morning it can leave you feeling drowsy -- not a good way to start a high-energy day. To help you get your day going, try turning the knob towards cold -- or as lukewarm as you can stand -- for the last 30 seconds.
Doing so can help improve circulation and stimulate your nervous system, which produces an antidepressant effect. A few seconds of discomfort and you’ll emerge feeling refreshed and energized.
3. Take a mid-morning coffee break
Coffee is a natural stimulant and can help increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue and improve focus. But according to researchers, you can ensure you get the most out of your latte by timing your coffee intake around the natural rise and fall of your cortisol levels.
If you drink coffee first thing in the morning, you may end up with a “wired up” jittery feeling. Cortisols levels dip several hours after you wake up, which is a good window for a caffeine boost. For most people, the best time to drink a caffeinated drink is a between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon as this can lead to insomnia.
4. Eat a light lunch
You skipped breakfast or munched on a donut, and now it’s lunchtime and you’re starving. That mega-burger is calling your name, but if you’re hoping to avoid that post-lunch slump, you’ll pick something lighter.
Eating a big meal puts your digestive process into overdrive, using up a lot of your body’s energy and leaving you wanting to take a name at your desk. Try eating a light lunch and focus on foods with whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Skip eating anything sugary or high in carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, rice or potatoes, as these can boost the production of serotonin, which can make you feel groggy.
5. Drink plenty of water
Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water. When you don’t get enough of it, you end up dehydrated, which can leave you feeling fatigued and drained. Meanwhile, drinking enough water will help speed up your metabolism, rid your body of toxins, help speed digestion, circulate blood and keep your mouth from drying out. Water is also important for brain function and will help you feel more awake and alert.
6. Keep your body fueled throughout the day
Make sure you’re giving your body what it needs to perform optimally. Try eating healthy snacks, with a steady supply of nutrients and energy, every few hours. Oftentimes if you’re feeling stressed, it’s tempting to grab a high-carb or high-sugar snack.
But it’s best to avoid foods high in sugar, which can cause a spike your insulin levels, only to leave you feeling hungry and sleepy in a few hours. And before you start munching away, make sure you’re actually hungry, and not simply giving into food cravings or filling down time.
7. Get physical
Exercise increases your endorphin levels, which are the hormones that are released when we do something that requires a burst of energy. If you’re feeling lethargic and blah, get moving!
Exercise will perk you up immediately and help you increase your focus and attention, not to mention improve your overall health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and improving your sleep. Consistently working out has also been shown to reduce levels of depression and boost your mood.
8. Practice yoga and meditation
If feelings of stress and anxiety are leaving you feeling drained and overwhelmed, yoga and meditation may be just the thing. Both of these practices can be part of a routine of self-care that leaves you feeling relaxed and empowered to take on new challenges.
According to one study, doing 25 minutes of yoga can boost brain function and energy. Practicing yoga and doing daily meditations can promote a mental state of calm and peace and help you focus your attention.
9. Get your daily dose of sunlight
Our modern lifestyle keeps us indoors and under artificial lights, and it may be messing with body systems and making us function less than optimally. Not getting enough exposure to natural daylight may have an effect on your mood, making you feel lethargic, dreary and down.
If you repeatedly find yourself feeling in the doldrums after spending much of the day behind your desk, it may be time to get outside and soak up some sunlight. Spending a few minutes in bright, natural light can elevate your mood and re-energize you for the rest of the day.
10. Take a stand
Oftentimes we spend much of our waking hours hunched over a keyboard, staring at a computer screen. No wonder your shoulders and backs are killing you. Sitting too long also leaves you feeling listless. Simply standing up can make you feel more alert and awake. Take a moment to stretch.
Walk around for a few minutes. You’ll get your circulation going and help refocus your mind to the task at hand. Some people also swear by the benefits of a standing desk, especially one that lets your alternate between sitting and standing.
11. Hang out with high-energy people
Did you know you can “catch” emotions and behaviors from the people you hang out with? The phenomenon is known as social or emotional contagion, and it basically means that we are influenced by the outlook, moods and demeanor of the people we surround ourselves with, including our co-workers and friends.
Be aware of how those around you may be influencing you. If you’re constantly feeling down and blue when you hang out with certain people, maybe it’s time to find a more positive, up-beat group to spend time with.
12. Mind your posture
Your mom always told you to sit up straight, it turns out she was onto something. Studies have shown that having good posture and sitting with a straight spine can give you an instant boost, lift your mood and make you feel more enthusiastic and excited.
Sitting upright while working can also help improve your memory and your ability to recall information. Meanwhile, those who sit slumped over are more likely to feel passive, dull and sleepy. So shoulders back, head up. You’ll feel better.
13. Get more restful sleep
Not getting enough sleep can leave us sluggish and exhausted. But feeling stressed can also make it difficult to fall asleep, leading to insomnia. Try de-stressing before bed to maximizing your relaxation and help your body and mind unwind and calm down from the day.
Take time before bed to decompress with a warm bath or shower, listen to relaxing music, do some light stretching or deep breathing exercises, sip some herbal tea or read something that is calming for a few minutes.
14. Cue your playlist
If you’re hitting the gym, chances are you’ve got a workout playlist that keeps you moving. But music is something you can use at anytime to increase your motivation and help you feel energized. Music releases endorphins and fast-paced songs can increase your heartbeat and alter your mood, making you feel more alert and raring to go.
Try listening to upbeat music when you feel like you need a pick-me-up or need. If you’re in need of a break, try listening to some of your favorite songs to get your juices flowing. But research also shows that lyrics can be distracting, so if you’re doing something that requires a lot of focus, opt for mellow, instrumental music at a lower volume.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors