If you want to kick off 2014 with energy to spare, it’s time to set some simple but powerful health goals.
1. Get your thyroid checked.
The thyroid is like the body’s engine, providing oxygen and energy to every cell, tissue, gland, and organ. When the thyroid isn’t working properly, you can experience fatigue, depression, weight gain, fuzzy thinking, hair loss, a low sex drive, and a number of other energy-sapping symptoms. Start off the New Year by seeing your doctor for a complete thyroid checkup—including blood work—to be sure this key gland is doing its job.
2. Make sleep a priority.
Getting a solid seven or eight hours of restorative sleep each night has never been more important. Not only does sleep combat fatigue, but we now know that lack of sleep is a key factor in weight gain, depression, lowered immunity, increased risk of infection, impaired memory and thinking, and hormone imbalances. Avoid television, computer, and smartphone screens later in the evening—the light can interfere with the body’s melatonin production. Consider slowly increasing the amount of sleep you get in ten-minute increments until you are getting seven to eight hours a night.
3. Get moving.
Our bodies are meant to move, every day. That doesn’t mean that you need to become a gym rat in January, but make it a goal to move every day. Whether you do traditional exercise or play a sport, throw yourself into activities like cleaning or gardening, or take a brisk walk, the benefits are immense: more energy, better sleep, improved sex drive, a healthier heart, lowered cholesterol, greater strength and flexibility, reduced blood sugar, and better weight control.
4. Energy in a jar.
One of the best-studied supplements that has been proven to deliver an energy boost is d-Ribose. D-Ribose is a safe, inexpensive food supplement that helps provide energy directly to cells, including the heart and muscles. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of the book From Fatigued to Fantastic, has said, “There are very few nutritional therapies that can legitimately boast of having this profound of an effect on the tissues they target. None, other than ribose, can claim such an effect in cell or tissue energy metabolism.” D-ribose comes in a powder form that can be taken alone, or easily added to drinks or foods, and most people feel the benefits within a few weeks.
5. Make time to destress.
One of the best ways to boost energy is to incorporate a regular stress-reduction practice into your daily life. When done regularly, the right kinds of stress-busting activities generate the “relaxation response,” which lowers the heart and respiration rate, as well as stress hormones. This in turn can improve energy and immune system functioning, and help combat weight gain, anxiety and depression. Which activities are best? It depends on your own response, but meditation, biofeedback, prayer, breathwork, gentle yoga, tai chi, and handwork like knitting, crocheting, beading, and crafting can be effective.