Energy Enigma

Quiz time! Are you burnt out?

Completely knackered all the time? Or are you buzzing with energy? Take our quiz to discover how much fuel is left in your engine…
Quiz time! Are you burnt out?
May 8, 2017   |    Tony Wrighton


I tend to burden myself with a million things at once.

Veggies don’t make it on to my plate very often.

I can’t function without caffeine.

Email is never-ending! It’s the bane of my working life.

I often lose whole hours to WhatsApp or Facebook.

Spending time outdoors only happens occasionally.

I don’t ever meditate or create quiet time for myself.

I struggle to make decisions.

I find I’m irritable and more detached from others.

I’m not great at getting to sleep.

My productivity levels at work are ‘meh’.

I often need a nap in the afternoon.

It never feels like I have enough time in the day to achieve everything.

Focusing on one thing at a time is difficult.

I have physical aches and pains, including tight shoulders.

I feel tired all the time, like I’m spent.

I consume a lot of sugary food and drinks.

My mind often races with my worries and problems.

I check my phone last thing at night and first thing in the morning.

Simply add up your numbers, then read on to discover how you scored and to find out how to raise your energy game.




You often feel sluggish and demotivated, but that’s OK, there are things you can do to help yourself.

When you wake up in the morning full of vitality, the world is at your feet. But if you feel tired, run down, overworked or underslept, everything is more of a test. The important thing is to recognise that your body is under too much stress, and it needs a break. The good news is that you can invigorate yourself with some small changes.

Next step: Simplify your life. The benefits of doing one thing at a time are huge.

You may well be good at eating your dinner, scrolling through your emails, sending WhatsApps and watching TV all at the same time, but the reality is it saps your energy and over-stimulates your nervous system. It can also lead you down a dangerous road towards adrenal fatigue. If you did each of those things individually, instead, you would get more satisfaction, improve productivity and actually have more energy. Be disciplined with yourself.


You do lots of the right stuff, but there are a few tweaks you could make to boost your vitality levels. Like many people, you clearly have more oomph on certain days than others.

Sometimes it’s easy to sparkle, and other times you just struggle to drag yourself away from your warm, cosy bed. Guess what, there’s a simple way you can have more of the good days, and fire yourself up to new levels of zest and enthusiasm. That’s where ‘tracking and hacking’ your energy levels comes into play.

Next step: By finding out exactly what works for you on a day-to-day basis, you eliminate guesswork and start to make permanent positive adjustments to your schedule.

Keep a lifestyle diary by using apps such as Sleep Cycle, Health Mapper or mySymptoms. These will give you good feedback and, importantly, data on exactly what factors boost your energy best, as well as giving you a handy reference point in future. This movement is known as ‘Quantified Self’, and there are some enlightened discoveries being made.


Congratulations. You are the human version of a Duracell bunny – fizzing with good energy!

How great is it when you leap out of bed in the morning absolutely buzzing and ready to take on the world? Energy is the foundation for everything in life. And you’re feeling it big time at the moment. The exciting thing about living life with so much bounce is you can start to fulfil your true potential and highest purpose.

Next step: Did you know Leonardo da Vinci excelled not just as a painter, but also as a sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, engineer, inventor, mathematician, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer? Wow. Serious stamina.

It so happens you can learn from da Vinci. He said of geniuses: ‘When they are doing the least work, they are most active’ – meaning the true magic happens in the quiet moments between the busyness. With all this energy you’re feeling, see if you can increase your meditative moments. A surprising number of the world’s most energetic high achievers have some kind of meditation practice, where they are still and allow creativity to flow.


American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term ‘burnout’ in 1974 to describe the symptoms resulting from chronic stress. Here are tips to bring you back from the brink:

The average ‘half-life’ of caffeine is six hours. That means if you have a cup of coffee at 4pm, at 10pm half of it is still swilling around your body. Don’t drink caffeine within six hours of bedtime.

Relax: Somewhere quiet with no work stimuli. REFLECT: Ask your ‘unconscious mind’ how you could’ve been more relaxed in the last day. Recharge: Think about three instances when you can be more relaxed.

Tuck into more avocados, olive oil, and grass-fed cows’ butter. Ditch your morning bowl of sugary cereal for eggs. Fresh vegetables are key to energy and wellness.

Be aware of everything around you. Pick a day when you’re not working, switch off all technology and surround yourself with nature.

Nothing else will leave you as recharged. If you need to, take natural supplements such as magnesium before bed.

Talk to loved ones about how you feel and seek the support of your GP or a therapist if you need to.

Read more: Take our sleep quiz to find out how to maximise those precious hours in bed…


Fully charged? Balance asked Londoners about their energy levels – and whether their routines needed a tweak…

Ekaterina Rey, 30, designer, says: ‘Having a dog brought routine and structure to my daily life. I wake up and have to take him out for a run! He’s also a great energiser and keeps me calm – I’m even socialising more now.’

Que, 27, consultant/events co-ordinator, says: ‘It’s my personal choice to feel energised. Every morning I have a cup of tea, pray and meditate. If I’m not in the office I try to read or work in a park, especially now the weather’s getting nicer.’

Zoe Adelman, 41, translator, says: ‘My energy would be better if I could have more time to myself. But I’m not tired from life, just maybe from looking after my children!’

Aniko Legner, 23, student, says: ‘The amount of rest I get depends on my work schedule, but there’s a limit to sleep, too. I try to wake up naturally, when my body tells me I’ve had enough. I also eat healthily and walk everywhere, so I don’t think I could improve my energy levels.’

De Florimonte, 82, retired, says: ‘Naps! I take many naps – what do you think keeps me healthy? I can’t do much more because I’m a lot older now. When I get up in the morning I’m still full of energy because I make sure to drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.’

Melanie Hao, 22, student, says: ‘Every day when I wake up I feel OK – not particularly tired, just “all right”. My quiet time is spent watching movies and reading and I do sleep a lot… probably about 10 hours a day!’

Do you want more Balance in your life?

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