Dr. Christina Tarantola, PharmD, CHC, CHt
Dr. Christina Tarantola, PharmD, CHC, CHt is a licensed pharmacist, health coach, hypnotherapist and Founder of Enlightened Wellness Solutions, a transformational coaching company geared to empower and energize people to take charge of their health! Dr. Christina is also a passionate author of three paperback books, Revealing Your Inner Radiance: Healing through the Heart, Reclaim Your Power: A Roadmap to Re-energizing Your Life and Lighten Up! 7 Weeks to Release, Recharge and Revitalize. For the last 6 years, Dr. Christina has been providing educational health talks in the Pittsburgh area, sharing her expertise on her monthly podcast segment on The Pharmacy Podcast, and creating relevant, informative health articles, YouTube videos and newsletters to empower her clients to live healthy lives!
Happy New Year! If one of your resolutions is to take charge of your health, raising your energy levels can be a part of the health equation! If you are a busy pharmacist, keeping your energy levels up is paramount to deliver the best care to your family and your patients. Many people rely on you – your patients, family, friends, and maybe even elderly parents. Self-care is key in maintaining a healthy balance and avoiding burnout. Instead of heading to the junk food aisle and grabbing Twizzlers and a Coke, try these tips to boost your energy levels naturally.
1. Drink more water. Symptoms like hunger, headaches, fatigue and lack of energy can mean you might be dehydrated. Before you pick up a candy bar, pick up a glass of water instead. The rule of thumb on how much water to drink is half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would drink 100 ounces of water daily. Note: You may need more fluid if traveling, exercising or being in extreme temperatures.
2. Get moving! Research has shown that physical activity can boost your energy and your mood.1 A meta-analysis of 70 studies was done looking at various disease states and how exercise impacted the participants. More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise. Start with something as simple as walking, swimming or bike riding to get moving.
3. Take care of yourself. Get more rest if you need it. Ideally, you should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Find activities that restore your energy like taking a bath, reading, going for a walk or meditating. There are plenty of apps that can track your sleep cycle as well which can be a helpful tool to evaluate sleep quality. The FitBit and Leaf are examples of devices that can look at sleep cycles and let you know how many minutes you were in REM, awake or in a light sleep.
4. Decrease your sugar consumption. Consuming too much sugar can cause blood sugar swings and lead to weight gain. Many artificial sweeteners tout having "no calories" but can cause you to consume more later in the day. Stay away from artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin that have been linked to cancer and other health related problems.2 If you use sweeteners in your coffee or tea, try adding honey, agave, brown rice syrup and stevia (sparingly) or cinnamon powder. You can also try eating sweet vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, carrots and beets to curb your sweet tooth.
5. Notice what or who drains you. Have you ever been on the phone with someone who constantly complains? I bet you feel drained after speaking with them! Set healthy boundaries and respect your time with friends who tend to complain or "dump" their problems onto you. Also pay attention to what foods cause a decrease in your energy. Each person is different, but substances such as sugar, simple carbohydrates and caffeine can actually drain your energy. Be mindful of how you feel about an hour after you eat and you can trace what the culprit is.
Ultimately, taking measures to improve your energy levels will increase your mood, quality of life and help you give to the people you love!
1. Puetz, T. Psychological Bulletin, November 2006. News release, University of Georgia.
2. Magnuson BA, Burdock GA, Doull J, Kroes RM, Marsh GM, Pariza MW, Spencer PS, Waddell WJ, Walker R, Williams GM (2007). "Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies". Crit. Rev. Toxicol. 37 (8): 629–727.