Are you really in need of that third cup of coffee in the morning before you can even think of starting on your to do list? And do you find it difficult to determine which healthy habits can give you a quick energy boost? We all feel tired from time to time, even after a steady 8 hours of sleep. Which is why we spoke with Hidde de Vries, founder of The Recharge Company to uncover the secrets of how to become more energised on a fundamental level.
Hidde is an expert in giving down-to-earth tips and tricks for increasing your energy, becoming more resilient and more effective in the things you truly care about. We discovered that there are many factors that determine how high (or low) are energy level is. Now is more important than ever to learn how to maintain a high level of mental power and still remain purposeful. Curious how you energetically can ride the crazy roller coaster called ‘life’? Then keep on reading!
Rituals: What are the fundamental ways people can increase their energy consistently and over the long-term?
Hidde: Unfortunately, there’s no short answer to that. In order to increase and maintain your energy now and over the long term you need to look at a variety of things. Your sleep, your nutrition, exercise, the way you work and the way your recharge. All these elements work together to benefit of your most optimal energy. But most important is your mind set. Having a positive mind set is the starting point to doing the things that can energize you in the first place.
Sleep might just be our biggest energiser, but if you feel down, sleep won’t get you up. Therefore time spent with friends, but also time to reflect can be critical in boosting your energy.
Rituals: How can we increase energy without relying on substances like caffeine?
Hidde: The best way to energise yourself throughout the (working) day, is to make sure you move around. Sitting behind your desk (or the kitchen table nowadays) kills your energy. Physically as well as mentally. By moving you activate your hippocampus which also strengthens your memory. Change your Zoom meeting for an actual phone call and go outside. Go get some fresh air. Many people don’t realise that in stressful situations we adjust our breathing, usually making it more shallow and less effective. We need oxygen more then we need anything else, so make sure you get it right.
Rituals: We are all mostly working from home these days, which can cause a lack of energy (and concentration). Can you share the ultimate tip for upping your energy level at home?
Hidde: Yes, the ultimate tip for working at home is going outside. Like mentioned above, going for walk helps your brain to digest everything it experiences, aids your memory, improves your focus, activates your joint and muscles and helps your energy to flow through your body. Try to leave your place at least 3 times a day. It doesn’t sound like much, but it often poses a challenge to complete. Another one is drinking water. Water helps us detoxify our body and brain. If we drink too little, we literally start making mistakes, become grumpy and drowsy. Drinking a big glass of water before lunch also helps to eat less, lessening your after-lunch dip.
Rituals: What is your personal favorite life hack to increase your energy, and why?
Hidde: Shinrin-yoku, better known as forest bathing. It means that you immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the forest, and experience the surrounding nature attentively with all your senses. I love how you integrated this form of mindfulness in The Ritual of Jing collection. Walking through the forest, or in my case the dunes of the Hague helps clean your mind. It brings back the positivity, energises your body and it’s simple. You can still work, call, and think while doing it and at least this way you get to enjoy some of the scenery too. Most important perhaps, it makes you more resilient against stress. It allows your brain to reflect and put things in perspective.
Rituals: How can we integrate more ‘resting moments’ during the day?
Hidde: Remind yourself to work in Focus blocks and Recharge blocks. For example: 50 minutes of focus, 10 minutes of recharge. And by recharge I don’t mean socials, mail, or work-related calls. Literally unwind, relax. Talk with a friend, drink some water, stretch your legs. Allow yourself a break. Your next focus block will benefit from it, and thereby you too. Remember to do this also after each meeting. We tend to fly from one meeting to the next and then feel surprised we’re out of energy at the end of the day. Give your brain a break after a meeting to save all that has been said in your personal hard drive. Important after a day’s work; make it a ritual to end your day. Finish off your to-do list, set one up for the next day, close off open emails, stow away your laptop and go do something that brings you joy and peace. This can be cooking a meal for your family or taking your dog for a refreshing walk.
Rituals: Are there any advantages to working from home?
Hidde: It’s a good thing that businesses have learned that we are able to work from home. If the kids aren’t home most people can concentrate and perform much better while working at home. Use the office space to catch up with people, do creative sessions and meet customers. Other than that, enjoy your time working at home.
It’s funny, we’ve seen a huge increase in trainings for working from home and work/life balance, but the most benefits can be gained in your personal life. By optimising your live/life balance. How do you spend the time outside of work? Work was already demanding before the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis is nothing more than a fast forward in time. Working from home is cheaper, more efficient in most cases and saves a lot of time travelling. Nevertheless, work will become more demanding. More and more is expected of us. Whether you work from home or at the office. Therefore, recharging after your work becomes more and more essential. Don’t live to work, work and then enjoy life.
Rituals: Can you share your top 5 tips to recharge our lives?
Hidde: Sure! I suggest to incorporate the following 5 things in your daily routine:
1. Be like the Iceman
To most of us, it is a bit of a shock the first time, but nothing beats a cold shower in the morning. After you enjoyed the hot stream of water, turn the tap to cold. Start with 20 to 30 seconds and gradually build up to two or three minutes per session. It takes some time getting used to it, but the effects on your health are enormous. Your resistance improves and your blood circulation goes up, which makes you feel fitter. There are also strong indications that cold showering helps you lose weight.
2. Prep your lunch
Getting and preparing lunch is time consuming. When you prepare your lunch the day before, it saves you precious time. Moreover, you can then spread out your moments of relaxation during the day. Are you working from home with for example your flat mates, partner, or kids? Then make it a joint moment. Arrange a time, set the table and take a real break. If you work alone, consider calling a colleague during lunch. That way, lunch remains a social and relaxed part of your day, boosting your mood and well-being. Whatever you do, don't lunch at your computer!
3. Get dressed (even if you work from home)
Get yourself ready in the morning like you always do before you start your working day. Your brain automatically makes a connection between certain outfits and emotions. So, take a (cold!) shower and choose an outfit that you would wear on a "normal working day".
4. Clean desk policy
A tidy desk provides a peaceful mind. Do you work in your living room or at the dining table? Then take some time in the morning to tidy up before you start work. You'll see that you kick off your working day with more energy and calmness in your mind!
5. Bring your dopamine dealer to a standstill
Every time you get a notification on your phone, the reward centre in your brain is activated. This causes you to check your email endlessly, and be drawn to social media over and over again. Within a blink of an eye, and you are addicted to your phone. Not only does this consumes a lot of your time, it can also lead to loss of concentration and poorer cognitive skills in the long run. If you want to be in charge of your own time, turn off all push notifications and only open your phone and mail in the Focus blocks that you reserved for checking them.
Want to discover even more about how you can up your energy levels on a fundamental level? Keep a close eye on the LinkedIn page of Hidde, since his second book will be in stores in May.