Energy is something most of us take for granted, until we don't have any. At the extreme end of the scale when we lack energy, it can be very detrimental to just living our normal day-to-day lives and may becomes merely survival. I’ve been there, and it’s not a great way to live a life.
Many years ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome my symptoms were exactly what you would expect from this labeled illness. For around two years, I was so devoid of energy that each and every day was a struggle. There was no refreshed feeling on waking each morning. Even the thought of raising myself out of bed was difficult. I lived each day strategising how I would get through the daylight hours until I could return to bed hoping each time for refreshing sleep, (which was in vain as sleep wasn’t refreshing back then, ever). So my days were spent exhausted and my nights were equally an ongoing battle of trying to remain in a deep sleep without constant waking so I’d feel some benefit of rest to start each new day. Not what I would call a quality period of my life.
For many it is difficult to understand or even comprehend that a person who is tired cannot reduce their level of tiredness through sleep, or that that feeling of extreme tiredness does not mean that sleep would be the natural result at the end of each day. There is more at play in a cycle like this and to understand what we need, we need to look at a much deeper level than the simple “I’m tired therefore I sleep” assumption.
Good energy and quality sleep are undoubtedly key factors to living a fulfilled life. Once upon a time in the depths of my illness I certainly wasn’t ‘living’. All I could do was think of how I was going to get through each day as the sun came up. I couldn’t think long term, about what the future would hold. Long term for me was waking at 7am and making it through to 7pm.
Of course those were extreme circumstances, but certainly we have all experienced different periods of our life, when we seemingly had an abundance of energy or conversely, that we barely had enough energy to muster our way through the day. How often do we evaluate how this can impair what we bring to the world?
Feeling energised to get the most out of each day doesn’t just come down to completing our usual daily tasks but it also reflects our capacity to do the things that really inspire us far beyond the realms of simply eat, work, commute, sleep. It allows us to see much greater possibilities of how life could truly play out for us if we care to dream big enough.
Sleep, energy and conversely tiredness, are things that I became an expert in understanding out of a great need to get myself well and since has become something that I am continually curious about.
Let’s get to the technical bit. There are 4 very important electrolytes that you will also recognise as minerals that play a very important role in the energy-rest cycle and they are calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Only when these electrolytes are in balance within the body at the correct ratios and quantities needed are they actually able to move around the body as intended, and then we can experience the effective role they play. Both sodium and calcium have contractive qualities that also give us our charge at the start of each day, just like a car battery. They get us going in the morning and hopefully for the rest of the day until the relaxant, tranquiliser effects of potassium and magnesium step into their roles within the cell and we start to wind down and feel sleepy at the end of the day. For this cellular exchange to take place effectively each day and night then there are other things at play that we need to be aware of. A high toxic load will make a body’s systems function under par and make the person weary. Hydration is also key in helping movement of nutrients and chemical messages around the body. A dehydrated cell will, in an act of preservation, harden its cellular membrane to retain an already limited supply of water when the body is on dehydration alert. The normally beautiful permeability of the cellular membrane becomes less so and results in poor movement of electrolytes, coupled with an increase in the cholesterol make up of the cell wall. We can then start to see all sorts of symptoms of unrest within the body including but not limited to, inflammation and an increase in acidity. A balanced diet of these 4 minerals in the ratios our bodies need will take us a long way to being energised.
So it’s easy yes? We stay hydrated, we limit our exposure to toxins and regularly detox, we eat nutritious wholesome food, our bodies’ convert the nutrients, the nutrients are sent to the relevant parts of the body and we get energy. What if there was actually something else going on too, so subtle that we often don’t notice it?
Westernised culture has us eating an obscene amount of food throughout each and every day. This is so evident that when I do a fast of any sort (e.g. a juice fast) many people ask with disbelief “So you just have juice for a few days? No food? But I’d be so hungry!” This is not to say that juice fasting is an easy undertaking, because it’s not. But it has a lot more to do with your thinking than what your body naturally needs. Juice fasting is a great way to get back in touch with our relationship with hunger and the amount of nutrition we really need. Quite often by day 4 I’m feeling like I could fast forever, (the previous 4 days are generally more up and down). By day 4 my energy comes up, my mind clears, (as with any detox you’ll find a big emotional detox taking place too.) I end up feeling so good at the end of it I’m not sure I want to return to eating, of course realistically speaking, I do – but the feeling of energy and wellbeing is so great that it is a real raise in awareness as to what is going on within our bodies.
Of course nutrients will always play a very important role in providing us with day-to-day energy but something we tend to pay less attention to is how our psychological habits can affect our energy.
We can all recall a period of time when we have been deeply worried about something and had a lot of thinking going on around that specific issue. If we care to tap into that period of time again we might also likely find that along with having a busy mind we also found our energy dropping. Something as simple as getting upset or angry for prolonged periods takes a lot of energy and certainly affects our health. It is not to say that we all don't sometimes have extremes of feelings popping up. But it is key to recognise that these feelings that come from our thinking are simply where we are at in the moment and dwelling on them can be very energy draining.
Equally when we think about something we are very passionate about it gives us an instant energy boost. Focusing on what excites us also creates a chemical reaction in our body as much as the right diet. So the real question is “How do you want to use your life and do you have the energy to achieve it?”
If you struggle to get through the week and feel you need help with your energy levels, either due to an ill-suited diet or tiring thinking habits, or you just feel that your health is out of balance, then here is a link to the form where you can contact me for an enlightening conversation around your health:
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