Are you feeling run down and tired even before your day gets going? Do you need more energy to complete your “to do” list? Do you get irritable because you are fatigued?
If this is an ongoing issue, you should visit your health care practitioner, as fatigue is a common symptom of many disorders. However, you could also be one of the many who feel the need for more energy, yet do not have a diagnosable illness. And even if you have been diagnosed with an identifiable issue, Ayurveda still has some helpful tips for you.
Ayurveda views this sort of fatigue as resulting from overwhelm of the digestive fire (agni), which gives strength and vitality when it is balanced and strong. How does the digestive fire become overwhelmed? Well, its job is to process everything that you are exposed to—not just your food, but the sights, sounds, touches, emotions, thoughts, and environmental factors that you come in contact with.
In this world of go, go, go until you drop, it’s not difficult to overwhelm the digestive fire and the nervous system. It is a common experience to turn daily activities and relationships into stressful tasks that must be checked off a list.
The key in Ayurveda is rejuvenating the digestive fire and the nervous system, by shifting from stressed out and overwhelmed mode to rest and relax mode. Even if you truly do have a lot to do (as most of us experience), accomplishing these tasks does not have to be a stressful and fatiguing experience.
Try these 6 Ayurvedic tips to nourish yourself and improve your energy and vitality:
1. Rejuvenating Exercise.
It is no secret that exercise helps release a variety of hormones and regulators in the body that not only support metabolism, but also elevate mood and provide a sense of well-being. When you are looking to replenish yourself, an intense exercise routine may not be what is in order for you. Rather, choose regimens that combine physical wellness with mental, emotional, and even spiritual benefits. Rejuvenative yoga and pranayama (breathing techniques) can do just this, working with prana, the life force, and bringing wholeness and integrity of body, mind and spirit to the forefront.
A lot that has been said about the benefits of getting adequate sleep, and anywhere from 6 to 8 or 9 hours is recommended. Rather than just counting hours, though, ask yourself these questions. Am I refreshed when I wake up? Am I sleeping through the night or do I repeatedly wake up? If you are not rejuvenated when you wake up, look at both the number of hours slept and the quality of sleep. Avoid caffeine and stimulating activity (like TV and email) before bed. And to enhance sleep quality, try massaging your head and feet with sesame or brahmi oil before heading to bed.
3. Daily full body oil massage.
The benefits of a self-massage with oil cannot be overstated at any age. This practice provides nourishment to the soul while calming the nervous system and easing the muscles where we hold stress and tension.
4. Manage your stressful outlook.
Busy schedules are a part of our society today. But the stress that accompanies them does not have to be. Finding ways to manage the stress and connect to a purpose higher than just accomplishing tasks is key. Practices such as journaling, meditation, prayer, and reflective time work to remind us that our true nature is much grander than the roles that we play in this life, and much more satisfying than the boosts that come from “succeeding” at the competitive games of society.
5. Eat fresh foods.
To quote Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” This is key to rejuvenating the digestive fire while also providing the nourishment that your body needs. Prefer fresh foods, organic when possible, and slightly cooked if your digestion is not optimal. Make the bulk of your food choices plant based, and add high quality fats such as ghee (clarified butter), walnuts, coconut oil, and avocados.
This powerful Ayurvedic herb is known as an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to stress and playing a double role, both calming the nervous system and allowing for rest while also boosting the immunity, vitality, and energy. Take it in the afternoon if you tend to hit that afternoon lull, or take it at bedtime to support your natural sleep cycles.
To learn more about how your unique Ayurvedic constitution plays a role in your energy, sleep, and much more, take the Constitution Quiz.