Wait a second. Stress and low energy are connected? Yep! If you’re experiencing low energy, it’s highly likely too much stress may be a factor. But there is good news. Stanford research found something shocking: if you can view stress as a helpful part of life rather than as harmful, then it is associated with better health, emotional well-being, and productivity at work — even during periods of high stress. So, while it’s important to learn to destress, when the stress hits, how you view it makes a big difference.
Ahead, more about stress and low energy, signs of too much stress, but 15 simple tricks to try if stress is draining your energy.
How Stress Causes Low Energy
We’ve all experienced that kind of stress, where worry and overwhelm completely take over our body and mind. It feels intense because it is intense. These types of feelings are directly connected to our biggest source of survival, the stress response. That’s right. Stress is designed to protect you in dangerous situations, like getting out of the way of a moving car.
However, our brains can’t tell the difference between actual physical danger and a hard deadline at work. This means for a lot of us — the stress response is on all the time. And unfortunately, it’s extremely taxing to the body, as long-term effects of stress hormones, like cortisol, damage our nervous systems. Some studies also show that long-term stress reduces immune system effectiveness. So it makes sense! Stress weakens the body, causing lower energy.
4 Signs of Too Much Stress
#1 Increased Irritability
Find yourself suddenly angry at your partner for doing the dishes wrong? Or yelling at the driver in front of you for accidentally cutting you off? These are all signs your stress is probably on the high side.
#2 Sudden Exhaustion
You’re sitting at your desk, working the morning away, and suddenly, you find yourself wanting to take a nap. Your eyes have trouble focusing, and it’s hard to stay on task. This could be from prolonged periods of stress. Time to rest!
#3 Digestive Upset
Our body functions are actually one of our greatest cues when it comes to our health. Skin conditions like eczema are telltale signs your body is struggling to function in one area. Digestive stress, like bloating, cramping, and diarrhea, are all red flags it’s time to take it easy.
RELATED: Is Stress Affecting Your Gut? A Mental Health Expert Explains
#4 Extra Body Tension
Again, the body is great for letting us know when it’s had enough. We just have to be aware enough to notice! If you find your muscles are tighter or more strained than usual, or you’ve just been experiencing extra aches and pains, you might be under too much stress.
RELATED: 5 Expert Hacks to Ease Stress-Related Aches & Pains
15 Things to Do If Stress is Draining Your Energy
Guess what? You’re not stuck. Remember that according to Stanford research, how we view the stress in our lives makes a huge difference in how we handle it. You can absolutely lower your stress levels and totally revamp your energy to smash out each day feeling incredible. Start by using these stress and low energy tips.
#1 Drink a Cup of Green Tea
Research shows that green tea not only increases antioxidant levels and decreases stress, but its natural (fairly low) caffeine content can rev up your energy. Perfect!
#2 Try Belly Breathing
On the inhale, imagine filling up your belly with the air. Your belly should naturally rise and expand, and then on the exhale, gently release and let your stomach relax back down. This is an amazing technique for raising energy levels and coming back to your body. Do it whenever you feel super stressed!
Practice some deep breathing with this FitOn guided Anytime Breath meditation.
#3 Use Citrus Aromatherapy
Studies show citrus smells, like lemon and lime, can naturally increase your mood and energy. So grab an essential oil diffuser and get to it! So stinkin’ easy.
#4 Repeat an Affirmation
Affirmations are great for loading up good, energy-boosting feelings like hope, joy, and gratitude. To get started, try this FitOn Daily Affirmations meditation.
#5 Take a Catnap
Yep, it makes sense when you’re low on energy to rest. The problem? Time! But here’s the deal — you don’t have to take a 2-hour nap each day to feel better. Even a 20-minute catnap can do the trick.
#6 Go For a Slow Walk
Movement is everything for moving stress out of the body. If you’re feeling extra tense, consider going for a nice, slow walk.
#7 Get a Protein & Complex Carb Boost
Protein and complex carbs (potatoes, quinoa, whole grains, legumes) work wonders for increasing energy and decreasing the stress of blood sugar imbalance.
When that mid-morning hunger strikes and you’re in need of an energy boost, consider a protein-rich snack like a hard-boiled egg with a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds, a protein shake, or a cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt with berries.
#8 Create Time For a Fun Hobby You Love
Just something to look forward to can make a world of difference. Schedule in time to do your favorite hobby and watch your mood soar!
#9 Do High-Priority Things First
When you’re stressed, you often feel like you have a million things to do with no time. When usually, there are only a few really high-priority things to do that day. Everything else can wait! Focus on the most important things first, and then take the rest of the day a little slower.
#10 Drink a Glass of Lemon Water
That citrus aromatherapy? Try a glass of lemon water! Just mix together some fresh lemon juice and room temperature water. Not feeling regular lemon water? Consider adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice to sparkling water.
#11 Find Something to Laugh About
Laughter is a powerful tool for stress and low energy. Laughter causes the release of those feel-good endorphins, helps reduce stress hormones and increases the anti-infection antibodies (T-cells) that support your immune system.
Turns out laughter is the best medicine, so find something to laugh about today! Watch your favorite comedian or funny movie, chat with your funny friend, or just remember a funny experience you had way back when.
#12 Cuddle With Your Pet Or Loved One
Cuddling is amazing, simple as that. We’re definitely social creatures. And studies show that hugs/cuddling reduces stress and increases relaxation. Exactly what we need!
#13 Treat Yourself
We live in a world of a lot of “shoulds.” We should go to college. We should get that job. We should eat healthily. We should drink more water. Over time, this leads to a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right and perfectly. This, of course, causes stress. So instead, take impromptu breaks when you can! Release all “shoulds” and just do what you feel like doing. Go get food, watch a tv show, etc.
#14 Feel Into 3 Things You’re Really Grateful For
There’s a big difference between just writing down things to be grateful for and actually feeling the gratitude. For the best energy-boosting effects, feel into it. Think of people in your life who make you happy. Experiences and memories you’re so grateful existed. And boom! Stress almost instantly decreases.
#15 Go For a Drive With The Windows Down
Depending on where you live and the weather, this might not be possible. But if it is, go for it! Driving with the windows down while listening to fun music can be such an incredible energy boost. Give yourself permission to enjoy it!
Bonus: Remember You’re Human, Not a Robot
As much as we all try to push ourselves, we have to remember the truth: stress and low energy are connected. Our bodies can only take so much, and they need the essentials, like nutrient-dense food, water, and sleep to function at their best. So set yourself up for success!
Treat your body with love and respect. Manage your stress, and your energy will naturally increase. It’s time to feel absolutely amazing every single day!