If you’re feeling run down or as if you have lost your spark, you’re not alone. Tiredness crops up in as many as one-in-five GP consultations, while one-in-ten of us have prolonged fatigue. And at this time of year, with the darker evenings and mornings and cold and flu germs doing the rounds, it’s more common than ever to feel a bit under the weather. But feeling sluggish doesn’t have to be your ‘normal’. There are some easy tweaks you can make to your lifestyle to stop low energy levels getting in the way of doing the things you love.
1. Enjoy a breakfast boost
If you usually start the day with a bowl of sugary cereal, or no breakfast at all, it’s time to break the routine. Beginning the morning with a sudden surge of sugar gives you a peak of energy that will soon crash and leave you sluggish, while no breakfast at all will leave your energy levels flat from the start.
Instead try foods that release energy slowly, such as an egg with granary toast, wholemeal cereal with sliced fruit, or homemade porridge. A recent study also found pumpkin and sunflower seeds top up your magnesium levels, making you feel more awake. Sprinkle some over your morning meal or snack on them throughout the day.
2. Seek out the sun
It’s tempting to want to hibernate your way through the colder season, snuggled up on the sofa, but getting out to soak up some sun and fresh air is a much better idea for your energy levels. Lack of daylight can confuse your sleep /wake cycles, making you feel sluggish and low.
Getting outside for a walk or a bike ride every day could help to regulate your body’s cycles and boost the happy hormones in your brain to give your mood a lift too. All you need is a 15-minute burst of exercise, but the more you do the better you’ll feel.
3. Water works
If you often feel like you’re flagging, it could be a clear sign that you are dehydrated. The European Food Safety Authority suggests women should drink 1.6 litres of fluid a day, that’s about eight 200ml glasses, and you need more if you exercise a lot. While tea or fruit juice will help, water is best for keeping you alert throughout the day without the calories. Fill up a 1 litre bottle first thing in the morning and aim to finish it by dinnertime. You can even download a free app on to your smartphone called Daily Water to remind you to drink more.
4. Spice up your life
Chillies are a great way to speed up your metabolism, helping your body use the energy from your food, rather than storing it. But you don’t have to chomp on red hot chillies to feel the benefit. Chili Burn™ is a natural supplement that’s good for the digestion and releases energy from your food more efficiently. It also contains green tea extract and vitamins, found to improve energy levels. Find out more at www.newnordic.co.uk
5. Perfect your posture
We use lots of energy keeping ourselves upright but slouching puts the spine out of alignment, makes muscles work harder, and eats up even more energy. Pull your shoulders down and keep your head in line with your body. Yoga can help by balancing your body, helping you sleep and reducing your stress levels so you feel more lively.
6. Raise a smile
Stress uses lots of energy so it’s important to relax. Singing, including in the bath, has been shown to have a calming effect, as well as releasing the hormone oxytocin that relieves stress and boosts your overall feeling of wellbeing. Another study found closing your eyes and thinking about your partner could raise your glucose levels and create ‘good stress’ that makes you feel perkier. Anything that takes you out of your busy routine and makes you take a breath is great.
7. Get your beauty sleep
It might sound obvious, but not getting your full quota of sleep is bound to leave you feeling under par. Over a third of us have difficulty falling and staying asleep but there are some ways to help. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and avoid naps to help train your body’s natural rhythms. Keep your bedroom free from clutter and create a calm, peaceful place, with no laptops or TV screens, before it’s time to sleep.
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