Daily Energy Rhythm Pt 2
Clean up your behaviors and improve your mind
Would it be easier to go through life knowing what will happen or be in a state of constant surprise? If you could know that every morning you will wake up rested and ready to accomplish anything in front of you would you choose to have that experience?
If you do not understand your normal energy rhythms and/or you do not understand how the stimuli in your environment affect your rhythms then you will physically and mentally live in chaos.
There is no way for us to control all of the variables in our life. Nor would we want to. If everything was predictable life would be boring. I believe that to be our best selves, we should strive to live where our energy levels are predictable. The variables we cannot control come from the actions of other humans, animals, and nature. We can control our actions that affect our mood and energy. We will respond best to the variables we can’t control if we take responsibility for the ones we can.
To make more sense of this imagine your boss assigning you an unexpected task. The task is difficult and requires more attention than your normal daily tasks. For example, on day one you come into the office with stable and predictable energy levels, and on day two you come in feeling like your energy is on a rollercoaster. How would your thoughts, emotions, and productivity change between the days?
Energy rhythms are largely under our control. If your energy is predictable and stable you will inevitably respond to unstable environments better. Adding chaos to a stable environment will have little effect, however, adding chaos to a chaotic environment can be unmanageable.
The way we feel in our mind and body dictates how well we respond to the environment around us.
Knowing the importance of maintaining your energy levels and building awareness around them is great, however, we have to identify what a typical rhythm is and the biggest factors affecting our daily rhythm.
Most humans will operate best when their day aligns with the patterns of sunlight. The light from the sun is a powerful signal that reaches our brain through our eyes and skin. The sun is responsible for setting our circadian rhythm (our internal clock) which increases our alertness and energy in the morning and helps us drift to sleep in the evening. Taking 10-15 minutes every morning to be out in the sun and removing artificial lights in the evening will promote a healthy rhythm.
A normal rhythm for humans is to wake up (with the sunrise) feeling rested, then experience the highest levels of energy until late afternoon (2-4 pm), and slowly become relaxed and tired as you approach bedtime (dusk into the dark).
The specific times will vary from person to person, however, the general flow for everyone other than shift workers should look similar to this.
How close does your energy follow the pattern above?
Behaviors that can optimize your energy levels:
Reduction or removal of stimulants (mainly caffeine and nicotine)
Consistent Sleep-Wake Cycles
Sustainable Exercise and Daily Movement
Behaviors that can dysregulate your energy level:
Irregular light exposure (artificial light in the evening and after dark)
Excessive or poorly timed stimulants
Poor sleep habits
Poor nutritional choices
lack of adequate movement
Many of these behaviors are ones we have discussed in the past. Now is an opportunity for you to assess which behaviors you are doing well with and are benefiting your physical and mental energy as well as which ones you need to put more effort into.
If you can become consistent with the behaviors above then you will find yourself waking up easier, being more productive, and best of all having a stable mood throughout the day.
Movement is Medicine. Food Is Fuel.
One Day or Day One the Choice is Yours
Andrew Cataldo CSCS
Director - Performance Division