3 Moves to Getting Back your Energy
20 NOVEMBER 2020
With our everyday busy lives, it’s almost become normal to constantly feel tired and worn out. This can really affect your mood and make it difficult to enjoy each day. After all, life is short and we should all be able to feel our best for the most part of it. When it comes to maximising our energy levels, it really is down to a combination of sleep, nutrition, exercise and controlling your stress. Even just improving a couple of these can make a difference, so try each one step by step and notice your energy levels creep back up!
Surprise, surprise! Sleep is number one on the list when it comes to boosting your energy levels. It is so easy to push back your bedtime, especially when you’ve got a lot on your plate. We are recommended to aim for about 7 hours of sleep each night, although some may require less and others more. Lack of sleep can lead to you feeling lethargic, tired and grumpy. If you are struggling to fall asleep, try avoiding screens around bedtime and have a go at winding down with bath or reading a book. It may be wise to avoid alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine too late at night as they all stimulate brain activity, making it harder to relax and fall asleep. Although alcohol is a sedative, it dehydrates you and affects the quality of your sleep, leaving you even more tired the next day. Bear in mind that caffeine has a half life of about 5 hours (i.e. it takes 5 hours to break down half of the caffeine you have consumed). So, if you are sensitive to its stimulatory affects, it may be wise to avoid it in the afternoon.
The food we eat can also play a big part in how we feel. It is really important to eat in regular intervals, to maintain a constant flow of glucose to your brain and body. Starchy carbohydrates are great to help sustain energy and include pasta, potatoes, rice and bread. Your best bet is to stick to the wholemeal versions and avoid refined carbohydrates, as this will ensure your energy levels remain steady without too much fluctuation. Refined sugars found in sweets, cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks can also be a hazard to your energy levels. Even though they give you a quick energy boost at first, they inevitably leave you drained afterwards. Iron is a really important nutrient when it comes to tackling lethargy. Those who are at risk of iron and vitamin D deficiency are vegans/ vegetarians and young women. Make sure you eat a variety of iron rich foods, for example red meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit or fortified breakfast cereals. It is also necessary for everyone to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. Keeping hydrated is imperative, as the first sign of being short of fluids is fatigue. By drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day, you will be guaranteed to be optimally hydrated.
Stress-induced emotions can take up a lot of our energy. Taking up activities that help you escape from your everyday stresses will prove very beneficial. Whether this be talking to a friend, yoga or meditation, just having a set hour each day to clear your mind will ease those negative emotions that are running down your batteries. Exercise is a perfect way to release tension and reset your thinking, and it guarantees a sounder sleep that evening too. That sounds like a win, win.
Have a go at tackling each variable one by one. It can be difficult to change your sleeping habits over night or even take up meditation, or a new form of exercise. Start small and make little changes each day. Even if it’s just a 15-minute walk, or switching from white to brown pasta to start off with, you will feel good knowing that you have started somewhere.
Good luck on your energy-boosting journey!
If you have any concerns about your energy levels and feel like you have tried everything, speak to your GP who may be able to offer you proper medical care and treatment.
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