It’s always best to operate on a full tank of energy, but too often do people move through their days low on fuel. Difficulty focusing, an inability to think clearly, a dull mood, or general lack of motivation result from low mental energy. Differing from regular energy, mental energy doesn’t have a clear cut definition, but it refers to our ability to participate in cognitive work. That means your mental energy is essential for tasks that involve thinking.
Mental energy can play a big or small role, depending on the task at hand. Paying attention, making plans or decisions, remembering information, or even managing emotions requires mental energy. The smallest things require brain power, though, and they can seem exhausting even if you are mentally drained. When you experience low mental energy, you may not be able to get things done. In fact, you may be incapable of performing simple tasks!
If you find it difficult to send a text, make a meal, or even take out the trash, you may need to re-energize your brain. Avoid coffee and energy drinks and use the following tips below to help boost mental energy.
Change Your Scenery
One single task may require all or most of your mental energy, which can drain you before you know it. Any time you feel unmotivated or lack focus, it’s best to give yourself a break and change up the scenery. Take 20 to 30 minutes and shift your location. Think of this as recess between classes, and aim to change the scenery to an area you find soothing or restorative. A park, nature preserve, backyard, beach, lake, or another natural area can help you recharge your brain. Looking at or spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost mental energy.
Nourish Your Body
Just as your body needs proper nourishment, so does your brain. When you fail to get enough of the right nutrients, you can easily experience mental fatigue or mood swings. Eating more “brain foods” truly makes a difference if you feel low on brainpower. While a balanced diet can help you meet your nutritional needs, eating more brain foods can provide the pick-me-up you need. Dark leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, kiwis, citrus fruits, pumpkin seeds, berries, bananas, and fatty fish are excellent foods for your brain.
Batch Your Tasks
When you try to tackle a bunch of tasks in bulk, you can easily deplete your energy levels, both physical and mental. In theory, doing all of your tasks at once is a nice idea so you don’t have to come back to them. The reality is that spacing out your tasks is a healthy way to avoid a burnout. If you have to do laundry, clean the kitchen, and mop the floors, consider breaking these chores up with moments of relaxation. Watch an episode of your favorite show or soak up some sun between these tasks so you can recharge your batteries.
Get Sufficient Sleep
If you don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night, you can operate at a deficit. The brain needs quality sleep in order to function optimally, as sleep gives your brain the time it needs to store information and get rid of waste. If you don’t sleep well, you can feel drained after the simplest task. Beyond zapping your mental energy, sleep deprivation can have more serious effects on your physical and mental health. Click here to learn more about the dangers of sleep deprivation.
A regular meditation practice may be exactly what you need to refocus and recharge your mental batteries. When you allow the mind to take a break, you can experience a renewed feeling of energy. Since many people find it difficult to meditate on their own, guided meditation may be a better option. Allow the meditation guide to lead you through the practice. Guided meditation may help improve your mood, increase awareness, heighten your attention, and improve your focus.