We Spoke with U.S. Military Members About Their Favorite Ways to Get Focus and Energy
Creating a healthy, balanced life looks different for everybody. Military members have an exceptional demand on their health — both physically and mentally — and we spoke to them to find out exactly what they do to keep their focus and energy levels high.
Although we chatted with military members, these tips are for anyone who wants to increase their focus and boost energy levels throughout the day. While everyone has their own favorite personal strategies, there were many overlapping themes across-the-board.
The majority of military members stated that they managed their health through good sleep, healthy lifestyle habits, and spending time with loved ones. These themes were noted again and again as the most important things they could do to stay focused and keep their energy levels up. Let’s take a look at exactly what military members are saying about how they get focus and energy.
Staying connected with your support system
“Staying connected with friends and family even though it’s long-distance helps to keep me sane,” says one Army nurse who reports she travels for work at a training hospital.
Whether it’s making time for phone calls back home or connecting with new friends in her new area, creating a strong network of people around her is vital to feeling supported while traveling.
A meta-analysis in Frontiers of Psychology showed that a strong emotional support system offers protective benefits to our health and can help us live longer. These benefits range from buffering against poor mental health by decreasing our risk for depression and anxiety to boosting our immune system and preventing physical illness.
Experts agree that it is perceived loneliness that is the most harmful for our mental health. A 2013 review in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine concluded that loneliness is associated with impairments in our attention, brain function, mood, and health behaviors. Thus, having a strong social network of people around you may offer benefits to both our mental and physical well-being.
An Air Force pilot explains that sometimes you rely on caffeine to push through. “Long days may come with a midday or afternoon pick me up,” he reports.
Caffeine can improve acute focus and may have some cognitive benefits in both the short and long-term. Caffeine has been shown to improve reaction time and memory even when we become less alert. Coffee and tea are typically go-to caffeinated beverages, but energy drinks such as Monster Zero Ultra also provide a boost for the day, with 150 milligrams of caffeine, plus energizing B vitamins like niacin, B12, B6, and pantothenic acid. Plus, this energy drink comes in a variety of flavors, has zero sugar, and leaves you with all-day energy without the inevitable sugar crash later. Here are 5 Myths About Caffeine — Debunked.
How caffeine impacts alertness
Caffeine has a strong reputation for boosting energy levels and providing better brain function. However, when we look at the research, caffeine’s interactions are actually much more complex than just boosting energy levels. Caffeine triggers a cascade of reactions in the body which allow the body to quickly feel more alert.
Beyond the physiological reactions, caffeine also increases alertness, attention, and reaction times.
Use time off to recharge
One Texas-based Army member explains how she uses her downtime to recharge and make the most out of her time off.
“Going to the gym, socializing with friends, and meal prepping are some of the main goals during my off time and they also make me feel happy,” she says.
Taking time off work to recharge may be associated with lower risk of burnout down the road. One study on burnout in the U.S. Military showed that there was a connection between feeling burnt out and lack of self-care behaviors.
How taurine can help you recharge
Use your downtime to recover and recharge. In drinks like Monster Zero Ultra, taurine is one ingredient that has been linked with improved athletic performance, including coordination, strength, and endurance.
Even outside of the gym, taurine is known for its overall support of heart, brain, and nerve function.
Nearly every military member we spoke with emphasized the importance of sleep. Without enough rest, it’s hard to feel focused and energized. In fact, sleep deprivation has been shown to significantly decrease cognitive function, memory, and alertness.
Shooting for at least seven hours a night seems to be the sweet spot for the majority of the military members we interviewed.
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.