Assessing your emotional, mental and physical health includes analyzing how you feel. Do you have enough energy (maybe even a surplus) to get through a typical day? If you feel drained and exhausted a lot of the time, there could be several underlying factors causing a severe lack of energy. In particular, there are seven habitual behaviors that might be zapping your energy.
As a rule, habits are usually easier to form than they are to break. Behavioral experts often say that it takes approximately 30 days to form a new habit or to break bad habits. If you constantly do one of the things you’re going to read about in a minute, it can drain your energy. Habitually doing two or more of these things can take a serious toll on your emotional, mental and physical health.
Checklist for energy-zapping habitual behaviors
The following list shows bad habits that most of us have fallen into at some point in life. What we may not have realized at the time is how detrimental these habits can be to our energy level. These seven behaviors can leave you feeling drained:
- Failure to properly hydrate
- Unhealthy food choices
- Inconsistent sleep patterns
- Harboring anger or resentment
- Lack of exercise, especially whole-body movement
- Over-analyzing everything in life
- Not distancing from negative or toxic people
These seven bad habits can suck out all of your energy. If you feel spent before you even put your feet on the floor in the morning, chances are you have developed one or more of these bad habits. Especially if you otherwise have no concerning health issues, this list might be a hint that your lack of energy is largely, in part, of your own making. (Sorry, but — reality.) In the next section, we’ll take a look at how each of these bad habits affects your energy levels.
Chronic dehydration ranks high for bad habitual behaviors
Not drinking enough water negatively affects nearly every aspect of your health and well-being. I’ve written about chronic dehydration here on The Hot Mess Press in the past. Since your body is 2/3 water, you must replenish your water levels every day in order to function in a healthy manner. Just as gasoline is fuel for your vehicle, water is fuel for your body. Without it, you will have little to no energy at all. The average adult woman should be drinking at least 2.7 liters of water per day. An adult male needs a full liter more than that.
Bad habitual behaviors often include unhealthy food choices
Unless you grow 100% of your own food using non-GMO seeds, it’s impossible to avoid unhealthy food. The U.S. food supply is contaminated and toxic in many ways. Some things are simply out of your control. What you can control, however, is what you choose to eat, meaning, the type of foods you buy or cook. Eating large amounts of processed sugar will cause your glucose levels to crash mid-day, leaving you feeling exhausted. Always remember that there is high fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy sugars in a lot of dry food products. Chips, boxed cereals, crackers, etc., are loaded with sugar. Making healthier food choices can help increase your energy levels.
Adequate sleep is a health and energy necessity
Even if you get the proverbial eight hours of sleep a night, if it’s not quality sleep, you won’t feel energized the next day. Do you toss and turn a lot at night? Does a typical sleep rotation involve numerous trips to the bathroom for you? Are you suffering from insomnia? Any number of disruptive sleep issues can take a serious toll on your energy. Learning more about how to develop healthy sleep patterns may help resolve your lack-of-energy problems, as well. If your poor sleep patterns/habitual behaviors are of your own choosing, as in: You stay up scrolling social media all night or watching TV, it might be time for a change.
Let go of anger and resentment
Anger and unresolved stress cause cancer. It’s a scientific fact. If you feel resentful or angry a lot of the time, your health is bound to suffer. Not only can unresolved anger and stress thrust your body’s cells into over-production (I.e., cancer) but these issues can drain your energy, too. Physiological things happen when you feel anger or are stressed. Your heart rate increases, your muscles tense, and your brain works hard to process your thoughts. All of these things take a lot of energy to do. You might not be aware of this consumption of energy while it’s happening, but it’s happening.
A sedentary lifestyle is disastrous to energy levels and health
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to move your body every day. If you’re working from home or sit at a desk all day, your work habits can cause you to become sedentary. Generally speaking, being sedentary is a primary cause of many health problems in America. People who are sedentary are more prone to obesity, which is a main contributing factor in coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It might seem paradoxical. You might assume that sitting still for long periods of time would help you restore energy. It’s the opposite. Energy begets energy. In other words, exerting energy activates energy renewal in your body.
That’s not to say that you don’t need time for rest and stillness. Of course, you do. However, a time of rest and stillness is quite different from living a sedentary lifestyle, which is disastrous to your health and will leave you feeling drained.
Don’t overthink everything
I really need to take my own advice on this score because I definitely have a problem with overthinking things in life. Have you ever experienced a situation, then have found yourself replaying it or going over the smallest details of it in your mind, days later? Reiterating what was said in a previous section about anger and resentment, your brain must expend a lot of energy to think. You only have so much energy to go around in your body at any given moment. If you’re sucking it all up by thinking about the same things over and over again, it’s kind of a waste of energy that you could be using in other ways.
Avoid toxic people as much as possible
It would be unfair of me to say “avoid all toxic people.” That’s not a realistic goal. A toxic person might be in your own household or someone you work with, whom you simply can’t avoid. Let’s view this from a positive perspective instead. What if I were to encourage you to surround yourself with people who uplift, inspire, encourage and support you? Being around such people boosts your energy! Intentionally choosing to spend time with positive-minded people may help you weed out some of the toxic people in your life. On the contrary, if we are not proactive in distancing ourselves from negative, toxic people, we can expect to feel drained and exhausted from our interactions with them.
There are many ways to restore and increase your energy levels. You can read some great ideas on that topic, here. Several of the ideas align with what we’ve discussed in this post. Remember that there are many things regarding your health and well-being that are entirely within your own control. There are also numerous underlying adverse conditions that include lack of energy as a symptom, which is why it’s best to rule those out when seeking ways to overcome risky habitual behaviors and improve your energy levels and overall health.