Take a drink: Dehydration causes the cells in your body to shrink and function less efficiently, says Koff. Combat fatigue by sipping water with a squeeze of citrus—the fragrance of orange, lemon and grapefruit are energizing. Or jazz up H20 with ice cubes made with coconut water, frozen fruit or herbs.
Meditate for 3 minutes: No ohm-ing required. Sit in a quiet place (the bathroom works in a pinch) and focus on your breathing to get endorphins flowing, suggests Dr. Teitelbaum. If your mind wanders, think of a single word (like "one"). Inhale deeply and slowly, forcing oxygen into your cells.
Move it: In one Austrian study of 40,000 women, the more physical activity they did, the more energized they reportedly felt. Researchers suggest that exercise stimulates neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which may enhance liveliness. Aim for 20 to 40 minutes of cardio four or five times a week.
Strike a pose: People who followed an eight-week yoga and meditation program experienced a significant increase in daily energy. Yoga can also increase momentary clarity. Doing simple stretches—you don't even have to get out of your chair—can have a similar Zen effect, say researchers.Stealth Energy Zappers
These sneaky saboteurs might be dragging you down.
Low thyroid: About 13 million American women suffer from low levels of thyroid hormones. If you've gained weight, feel tired and achy, and can't tolerate cold (seriously), ask your doctor to test your levels.
Food allergies: Common allergies to gluten, sugar, milk, soy and eggs can overwhelm your immune system and drag you down; your body needs to work harder to digest the forbidden food. If you suspect a food allergy, eliminate the above-mentioned allergens for 7 to 10 days and slowly reintroduce them one by one to monitor how your body responds.
Medications: Prescription drugs like antidepressants can contribute to fatigue. Ask your doctor if you can forgo your regular dose for 3 to 4 days to see if energy increases.
Menstrual cycle: Levels of progesterone drop a few days or up to a week before your period, which can lead to sluggishness.
Depression: Flagging energy is a classic sign. Discuss with a doctor if it's accompanied by a loss of interest in normal activities or hobbies, sleeping problems, feelings of sadness, changes in appetite or slow thinking.
Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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