Whether it’s stress, disrupted sleep, the demands of young kids and/or work, or that never ending to do list, there are a myriad of ways in which modern life can sap us of energy, enthusiasm and a lust for life. If you’re missing some of your spark, or feel low in energy, getting through the week can sometimes feel a bit like wading through treacle. And the worst of it is, that it can feel like you’re completely stuck in that low energy, low mood cycle, with no real way out. Because life just keeps happening and you have little choice but to keep up with it! However, the good new is that there is lots you can do to boost your energy levels – plus, it really doesn’t have to be complicated or hard – you just have to be willing to give it a go!
- DRINK MORE WATER – Being dehydrated drains you of energy. Full stop. Lots and lots of research points towards the fact that if you are dehydrated (even by just a little bit) then your performance levels drop – your concentration is down, your ability to think clearly is down, your general performance is down. And particularly as the weather gets warmer, we’re even more prone to getting dehydrated. You will feel better if you drink enough water – there are no two ways about it. So make sure you’re getting your 2 litres a day (try one of these – www.hydratem8.com) to monitor your intake. A good way to check is to monitor the colour of your urine – it should be a very pale yellow if you’re properly hydrated, anything darker and you need to down more water!
- STOP WAKING UP WITH SUGAR AND CAFFEINE AND WINDING DOWN WITH WINE – If you tend to have things like cereal, toast and jam and coffee for breakfast and feel that you need regular injections of sugar during the day to keep you going, then feel the need to wind down in the evening with a glass or two of wine, the result is going to be a constant energy rollercoaster. I speak to so many mums who are sleep deprived and say to me that they need these things to help them function. Well, sorry to be the bringer of bad news on this, but this stuff is absolutely not helping you. In fact, all its doing is making matters worse! These may feel like the things you need, your body may be crying out for them, but all you’re doing is driving up your blood sugar really quickly, then bringing it crashing down again, only to drive it up again before it crashes down again. Which really doesn’t sound like an energy giving routine! Instead, look for things that are going to balance your energy during the day – oats and eggs for breakfast, protein, veg and complex carbs for lunch and dinner, and things like nuts as snacks. Yes, your body will take a few days to be persuaded that this is the way to go, but once you’re used to it you’ll have so much more energy! This isn’t to say you should never drink coffee or wine, or have a bit of chocolate, but save your coffee for later on in the morning once you’ve had some water, leave the bottle of wine in the fridge until the weekend and save the chocolate for a time when you really want a treat.
- STRETCH AND BREATHE – Many of us are going through life without actually breathing properly. Yes, we are breathing sufficiently to live, but when you’re not breathing properly it can really affect your mood and your energy. When we’re under stress, our breathing tends to get more shallow and we breathe into the top of the chest or into our tummies. So spend a couple of minutes each day (when you get into bed is good) to work on breathing fully – in other words, taking the breath into the sides and back of the chest and properly expanding the diaphragm. You can tie a resistance band around the chest to check that you’re doing it properly – the resistance band should tighten and then loosen as you breathe in and out.
- MOVE EVERY DAY – Moving is good for us – we all know that. But modern life often means that we spend a lot of time sitting down at computers, in cars, on sofas and then we’ll get up do a quick burst of high intensity activity and then sit straight back down again. While those workouts are brilliant for mood and energy, that post-exercise feeling doesn’t last forever. So why not try and move a bit more on an every day basis. It will get the blood flowing, fill your lungs with more oxygen and once you start moving you’ll be surprised how you have the energy for more. Are there times in your day when you could walk more, could you get up every hour or so for a stretch, could you use some of your evening TV time to get on the floor and do some stretches and core exercises. We’re all so used to the ‘go hard or go home’ mantra, that the energy-giving value of movement has gone down in our estimations – but never undervalue it!
- BE A LITTLE BIT KINDER TO YOURSELF – Put down that to do list, pick up a cup of tea and take just a little bit of time out for you. Expecting to be superwoman isn’t an energy-giving pursuit, because none of us will ever live up to our own high expectations. Try and lower those expectations a bit, find 10 minutes here and there during the day to just be, to stop worrying about what’s next and to just breathe and move. I know we like to think that we are the be all and end all, but believe me when I say, that everything will carry on just fine without us doing it all!
I hope my little tips have helped – I’ve kept them as manageable as possible, as actually, boosting your energy needn’t be about maca smoothies and yoga retreats. There really are simple every day changes that you can make to get more energy and boost your mood. Give them a try and let me know how you get on.