I don’t know about you but the Winter months make me feel so……bleugh. I just feel like I don’t have any energy or get-up and go. Whether it’s the colder days, dark mornings, or just the general dreary season, I just don’t feel like I have enough umph to get me through. To try and turn this mood around, we tried a couple of things out and thought we’d share with you the most successful tips that help us feel more energised.
1. Have a good stretch
At whatever point in your day- be it first thing when you get out of bed (very beneficial for all you morning haters), sat at your desk at work, or even at the end of the day when you want to switch from work mode to home, social or relaxation mode, stretching is a great, instant energiser because of the blood flow it sends to the muscles.
Don’t forget to stretch before bed too. You may question why you’d want to illicit the same energizing responses at bedtime but doing stretches at least 30 minutes before you sleep will aid in a more rested and beneficial sleep. Stretching at the end of the day will untie kinks, allow for effective nighttime repair, and will aid in feeling more energised in the mornings. If you want more reasons on this take a look at this inspiyr article on stretches at bedtime.
Stretching guides throughout the day
First thing in the morning: 5 Yoga Poses to Boost Energy with thanks to Prevention
Whilst at work: 5 Simple Stretches with thanks to Lifehack
Stretches before bed: 8 Stretches to do Before Bed by Healthline
If you feel a bit self-conscious doing this at the office, low-intensity exercise such as walking is proven when done regularly to reduce fatigue levels (Health.com). It’s even recommended for those that have a lack of get-up and go or struggle with a morning aerobic programme.
2. Make time
This doesn’t mean what you think it does. When you usually hear people say ‘make time’ it’s usually followed with ‘for yourself’. But when I say make time, I mean do things at a considered pace. Allow time for yourself to get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and get ready at a relaxed pace. Allow yourself time to do your weekly shop at a leisurely speed, a relaxed lunch break etc. I’m currently reading The Happiness Track by DR. Emma Seppälä, who highlights that doing things in a mad rush actually depletes our energy resources. Our constantly packed schedules and busy lifestyles trigger our fight or flight response mechanism causing adrenaline to pump around the body which, when we’ve calmed down, leaves us feeling exhausted. Really analyse the aspects of your day that could be less panicked and alter your patterns to preserve your energy.
3. You are what you eat
A diet full of carbohydrates, caffeine, and sugar can leave you with a buzz-like feeling for most of the day. Such foods transform quickly into sugar that are released into the blood, giving us that instance boost of energy. Most of us crave or turn to eating and drinking these items when dealing with hectic schedules in order to feel like we can manage everything on the to do list (me included). However, this feeling is short lived and once the effects wear off, you’ll likely feel more fatigued. Not only that but these foods can produce a similar fight or flight response which will leave our bodies in a state of panic for most of the day, especially if we top up these levels during our tea or lunch breaks.
Instead, you want a mixture of slow-release (such as oats, banana, asparagus, eggs etc.) and fast-burning foods (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice etc.) integrated into your meal plan to help you stay full and release energy throughout the day. Avoid snacking too.
It’s also worth noting that rich and heavy lunches also leave you feeling fatigued. Try opting for a lighter meal if you need to remain alert for the afternoon. To find out more about how to change your energy through diet, check out the NHS Live Well site. This article on slow- release carbohydrates from SF Gate and dietitian Aglaee Jacob is also a handy resource. Oh, and make sure you drink enough water- it’s proven to help with fatigue. If you’re looking to drink more, take a look at our article on ‘up your intake‘ where we share our tips to drinking more water.
4. Sleep quality
If we have a poor night’s sleep it follows that we’ll feel tired the following day. Sleep is a restorative process that aids in maintaining normal cognitive skills. In order for us to fully feel rested we need to follow 5-6 sleep cycles a night. Although scientists are unable to pinpoint exactly what happens in our sleep, through extensive research they’ve determined optimum sleep time as well as the patterns of the sleep cycles to get the best quality sleep for our health. If you find getting a good night’s sleep a particular issue, take a look at our top tips for a better night’s sleep feature which has many tips and tricks to help you get the sleep you need.