I did it!
I finally got my energy up to a full 100 according to the Body Battery on my Garmin watch. (If you don’t have a Garmin, this is simply one way of measuring energy. Here is my article on it.)
I honestly was beginning to despair that I would ever reach it. This gives me more hope. I am super excited about reaching this level of energy. There are three things that this represents for me:
- I was able to find a solution to my low energy. That took a lot of research and delving into the systems of energy within our bodies.
- I was able to achieve that solution. There were a number of times when I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to achieve it. I thought that perhaps I had the wrong solution or I was going about things the wrong way. But I was able to achieve that solution eventually.
- This means that I am not genetically, medically, or physically hobbled in my energy. I am able to return to or exceed what normal people feel in their energy levels. This is very exciting.
On the same day I achieved a 100 Body Battery, I achieved two other milestones.
- I had an all-time high heart rate variability (HRV) average of 41. I used to be in the 20s and I have just recently made it into the low 30s, but this is an all-time high for me. 41 is probably pretty normal for most people my age, so it’s nothing to write home about, but it is amazing for me. I hope to eventually get my weekly average up into the 40s, but for now I am really happy with this milestone.
- I reached the lowest stress level at night that I’ve ever had. For some reason, my Garmin watch records my average stress at night as rather poor. But last night I had an excellent stress score. I won’t go into the details because it wouldn’t matter to most people (unless you have a Garmin). Just know that I was able to lower my stress somehow. More research is needed.
Now, how did I achieve these things?
The foundational thing I changed was quitting alcohol. I have been alcohol free for 107 days. I think it takes a few months for a lot of the negative effects of alcohol to wear off. My sleep certainly hasn’t been great since I quit drinking. Not that it was good before I quit drinking, it wasn’t. but my Restless Leg Syndrome has only recently started getting better at night and so my sleep has been improving. I also think the anxiety I used to feel from alcohol has continued to diminish, I am able to exercise more often, and all the other benefits that quitting drinking brings like hydration, improved mood, etc.
Second, I increased intensity in exercise. My doctor recommended that I try to get my heart rate up as high as possible during exercise in order to improve my heart rate variability. I used to exercise rather frequently but it was just a mild jog and walk. Now I mix in sprints, rowing, and weightlifting. However, I was beginning to burn myself out and my heart rate variability wasn’t improving.
Third, I began to mix in more rest days. That was the most startling jump in my heart rate variability. I had been exercising for two weeks straight without a rest day and then I rested for two days directly prior to this jump in heart rate variability and 100 Body Battery.
Fourth, I have been eating dinner five hours before I go to bed, reducing my sugar, and dieting. I saw a nice increase in my heart rate variability when I began to eat dinner five hours before bedtime. There is lots of research about how this improves the glymphatic system. I won’t go into that here though.
Sixth, I have been trying to lower my caffeine and ensure that I drink it earlier in the day. I haven’t been able to quit caffeine altogether (which I’d like to do) but keeping it to a reasonable amount and early in the day seems to help improve my sleep and minimize my anxiety levels.
Seventh, I have meditated every day for 45 days straight for 15 minutes a day and tried to slow my breathing as often as I can remember during the day. This seems to help me relax. The lower my stress is, the higher my energy is. So stress seems to play a big role in my Body Battery score.
Eighth, I’ve been working on my mood. Mood has a huge correlation with my energy. I haven’t been pushing myself in the morning to write. I’ve been working on my relationship with my wife. I’ve let go of some spiritual stress. And I have been trying to take more time enjoying the present. I journal daily and try to write down what I’m grateful for. And I currently love my job, which is such an unusual thing.
All these factors have worked together to increase my energy levels. I am so thankful for this.
Energy is life.
Next steps: try to operationalize this and achieve an average HRV in the 40’s.