Say No To Energy Zappers!

We typically try to provide cooking tips and recipe ideas on this blog - I mean, FunnySpoon is a recipe site after all. But our whole concept is based on wanting to make life simpler, less stressful, and more enjoyable.

I came across an article the other day that listed 9 Energy Zappers and what you can do to fix them. I definitely think it's worth reading the full article but just wanted to point out two that really spoke to me:

Energy Zapper #1: Being Addicted to E-mail
Isn't being wired to the hilt--e-mail, voice mail, IM, BlackBerry--supposed to boost productivity, freeing up your energy? More often, the opposite is true. If you continually halt what you're doing to answer e-mail, check voice mail, and attend to a thousand other beeps and blips, your attention becomes diluted, which leaves you feeling depleted.

There are two things going on here, says John Salerno, MD, a New York City family physician and director of the Salerno Center for Complementary Medicine. "The brain needs a lot of physical and mental energy to multitask, which gets drained," he says. And continually redirecting your attention from the BlackBerry to other stimuli siphons more energy and distracts your brain further.

Energy Fix
Switch off electronic gadgets during your most productive work hours, which for most people tend to be in the morning, says Laura Stack, author of The Exhaustion Cure. As for e-mail, try to limit yourself to checking it once every hour, instead of hopping to whenever it beeps. (Hint: Turn off the beep sound.) If something pops into your mind that you need to remember--call back your mom, e-mail the soccer coach about the snack schedule--write it down and take care of it later.

I was actually multi-tasking while reading this article, going back and forth between new emails and the article. It made me realize it's OK to turn off the auto Send/Receive option every once in a while and focus on getting things done! Anything that arrives via email can wait at least an hour until I'm done with what I'm working on; if it was really urgent, the sender would have called me.

I've been following this new technique for two days now (you gotta start somewhere!) and have had the energy to tackle three big things on my to-do list this week when I thought at most I could only knock out one!

Energy Zapper #6: Eating Too Much at Once
Consuming a big meal is always something that will cause a dip in energy later, but that effect is most noticeable in the afternoon because the slump happens at that reach-for-coffee-or-sugar hour: 3 p.m. Here's what happens: You fill up on a carb- and calorie-rich lunch and, as nutrients are absorbed by your body, excess glucose is dumped into your bloodstream, and your body releases insulin to process all that sugar. "A better idea is to spread out what and how you eat throughout the day to keep energy levels steady," says Gloria Tsang, RD, founder of the nutrition website

Energy Fix
Eat every four hours, instead of the usual six. To reform lunch, "try to brownbag more often than eating out," says Tsang. It's a fact that if you buy takeout or dine in a restaurant, you're likely to eat more. Four hours after lunch, have a snack. If you're going to eat dinner a couple of hours later, keep the snack small, such as half a turkey sandwich, or a yogurt and some crackers. Other ideas: Drink liquids (water, tea) all day. "Dehydration makes you tired, too," says Tsang. If you usually have coffee right after lunch, try it a little later in the afternoon and make it a latte. The caffeine's an obvious pick-me-up, but the little bit of fat and protein in the milk gives you a snack-like boost. (Increase your energy with a smarter lunch.)

I notice this EVERY time I do it - yet sometimes I still eat way too much for lunch! It can be hard to hold back, especially since many days I'm trying out new recipes and everything seems so new and exciting. But I notice that if I eat too much at lunch, I get the "afternoon lull" in productivity - which is very dangerous when you work from home and know your bed is close by!

So now that I've been reminded of it again I'm determined not to fall prey to it. If I make a recipe for lunch that has large portions (sometimes you can only reduce the quantities so much) I'll immediately put the extras in leftover containers and get them out of site so I don't overdo it.

I hope you find these tips helpful! The rest are helpful as well so be sure to check them out. De-stressing and keeping energy levels high will make the rest of your day that much easier, and that's really what FunnySpoon is all about - making things easier!

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lindsay said...

I totally read these yesterday and had a bit of an "Aha!" moment because I am guilty of a few of these. Hopefully I'll be able to make some of these changes and boost my energy level!

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