Feeling tired and tested? Turn up your energy.
We all have days over the holidays when we just can’t seem to shake that tired, lethargic feeling. How do you celebrate seasonal joy when you’d rather just stay in bed?
Take these 8 tips to increase energy and enthusiasm:
1. Say no. Try it: “No, thank you. I can’t make it. I have four other engagements this week.” “No. We agreed that job would be done by my colleague.” Don’t be worn down by social, family and work obligations that fill an already packed season. Set priorities; schedule breaks every 30 minutes (even if you’re just wrapping gifts or wandering the mall); talk to your spouse and/or superior to clarify what is expected of you; and stick to your guns.
2. Move 10 minutes 3 times a day. Dragging your feet instead of decking the halls? There’s a good chance it’s caused by inactivity. Fitness routines can be the first thing to fall by the wayside when you’re busy. If you feel “too tired to exercise,” this viscous circle must be broken. Studies show physical activity for a half-hour or longer most days of the week leaves you feeling energized and improves mood. Make time to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity: Climb stairs; run around the yard with your kids; do lunges and squats in front of the TV…
3. Spike your drink. Instead of relying on another coffee to get you through, try a “spiked” smoothie or juice. Scents of lemon, orange and grapefruit invigorate, and help you recharge fast; inhale them as you cut into and squeeze them into your energy drink. Add liquid vitamin B (especially one high in B12), chlorophyll (or supplements high it in), herbs like Ashwagandha or Siberian ginseng, and protein powder to increase energy.
4. Spend time alone. You may only see some friends and relatives a few times a year, but they don’t have to consume your life during the holidays. Take every opportunity to schedule some time alone, whether you’re checking out the holiday-decked store windows, reading a book, taking a yoga class or having a long, warm, scented bath.
5. Drink as much as you want. A common reason for feeling tired is dehydration. Water is the most vital substance for human survival. It regulates body temperature, and enables digestion, circulation (less water means less oxygen is circulating in your blood), and absorption (it enables your body to derive energy from nutrients). If you have too little of it, your body becomes sluggish to conserve water use. Drink a glass of water whenever your energy lags.
6. Eat energy. Holiday sweets might be the first pick-me-up you reach for because they give an initial high just like a drug — until a few hours later, when you're face down on your keyboard. While simple carbs lead to energy spikes and dips, complex carbs (legumes, whole grains) create sustained energy. Reach for black bean dip or chickpea hummus to pile onto your whole-grain tortilla chips (see recipes). Energy is produced in the mitochondria of your cells. The mitochondria need enough vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, proteins and essential fats to create energy. Eat a rainbow of whole veggies and fruit to give your body the building blocks it needs. To ensure you absorb and use these properly, take digestive enzyme supplements after meals.
7. Get outside! Staying indoors can sap your energy and spirit. Return to the simplicity of nature at least three times per week during the holiday, even if it’s just walking in your neighborhood park. Nature has been proven to energize in just half an hour. If you live in an area here winter sunlight is rare, treat it like a gift: drop what you’re doing asap, and head outside, even for a few minutes. The sun recharges your brain's production of the mood-boosting, energizing chemical serotonin.
8. Do a 1-day detox. Why wait until after the festivities to get balance back in your body? Pick a day mid-holiday when you’re schedule is clear to do some internal cleansing: your colon, liver, kidneys, blood. Eat only fresh veggies, fruit and essential fats; take fibre to move your bowels; drink lots of water; and avoid all sugar, alcohol, caffeine and meat protein (which is more difficult to digest) on this day.
Article by Carol Crenna, Certified Holistic Nutritionist