How To Naturally Improve Energy Levels This Christmas
Tis the season…Although we are hearing a lot of ‘have a relaxing Christmas break’ and ‘Happy New Year’, a lot of what we are seeing in the clinic at the moment are clients who are feeling exhausted, fatigued and, quite honestly, far from looking forward to the Christmas and New Year social rounds! After quite an intense 2020 where stress and uncertainty have been a prominent feature for many, we are being frequently asked for strategies to help people press the ‘reset button’ on their health and wellbeing. So if you’re looking at how to naturally improve energy levels this Christmas, read on…
There are many different ways to address energy levels and, of course, what works best for you depends on your individual health picture however here are three focus areas that we hope you find helpful:
- Sufficient sleep; and we don’t just mean quantity (although a good eight hours of sleep at the right time – between sunset and sunrise – is important!) but also quality. What is the quality of your time in bed each night? Are you falling asleep within twenty minutes or are you finding yourself kept awake with mind chatter, ‘unpacking’ the events of the day? Once you are asleep are you sleeping through or tossing and turning throughout the night? Worse even, are you waking up in the early hours unable to drift back into the land of sleep until 5 or 6 am?
How you feel during the day is only going to be as good as the sleep that you get the night before; starting the day tired tends to lead to increased carbohydrate and caffeine cravings as well as low motivation and irritability which can then restart the cycle of night chatter, poor sleep and night waking! Good ‘sleep hygiene’ every night as well as consciously scheduling in some mid-week evenings where you can get to bed an hour or so earlier will improve your resilience to stress, helping you to bounce back quicker after late nights and social events.
- Choose your indulgences wisely and plan ahead; we like the 80:20 rule, allow yourself to indulge but don’t feel like just because you have had one indulgence that all good intentions should be thrown out the window and that slice of fruit cake should be followed by a panna cotta, three candy canes and why not finish off that bottle of wine! So often the ‘well I deserve it after such a hard day/ week/ year’ mentality can come into play and while it may be pleasurable briefly at the time, generally people are left feeling irritable, bloated and headachey after overconsumption of Christmas treats.
Going to these events with a clear plan can make a huge difference, for example, you might choose to thoroughly enjoy a dessert at the Christmas party but skip the alcoholic drinks this time (bearing in mind that alcohol itself is calorie-heavy even before the addition of a soft drink mixer!) or vice versa. If you know that a social function offers nibblys rather than a sit-down meal, consider having a small snack or a nutrient-rich smoothie (link to recipe) before leaving home so that you are less likely to over-eat. If travelling, ensure that you have snack options such as trail mixes and fresh fruit so you can avoid service station snacking of chips, chocolate or other convenience foods. Reducing the stress of excessive sugar and alcohol on the body is a valuable strategy to come out the other side of the holiday season feeling less frazzled and more energized.
- Avoid nutrient deficiencies; during times when we are feeling stretched by our commitments or feeling depleted to begin with, we tend to require higher amounts of key nutrients involved in bodily tasks such as energy production, blood sugar regulation and production of neurotransmitters (for example, GABA production – an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps us to feel calm and the serotonin-melatonin pathway – vital for good mood and good sleep!).To avoid feeling up and down with your moods, craving sugar and feeling low in energy, consider taking nutrients such as magnesium and b vitamins or some adaptogenic herbs. Some people find a good magnesium powder in the evening before bed can help with relaxing the body and calming the mind, while a Vitamin B and adaptogenic herbal complex in the morning can kick start the day.
Some strategies to support better sleep patterns include:
- Avoiding blue light in the evening
- Swap scrolling through social media before bed for reading a book or listening to a guided meditation
- Ensure a quality meal containing protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates to regulate blood sugar throughout the night
- Avoid caffeinated drinks such as black tea and coffee after 2 pm and opt for a chamomile sleepy tea in the evening.
- Support melatonin (the sleep hormone) by starting your day with some morning sunlight and ensuring that you get in some movement outside during the day, for example, a walk in a national park, along a river or down at the beach.
If you need support to naturally improve your energy levels, make an appointment with your Perpetual Wellbeing practitioners and let us help you get back to your energised best.