Lockdown after lockdown and the tier restrictions of the past few months soon take their toll on mental and physical wellbeing. As a result, many of us may find ourselves going into the 2021 low in energy and exhausted.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. A few simple lifestyle tweaks and some herbal remedies can help refuel your energy supplies discovers editor Jane Garton.
General worry and the uncertainty about the future can have a negative impact on sleeping patterns so now’s the time to take action before insomnia spirals out of control. A few simple steps such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and having a warm bath before bed can help. Making sure your bedroom is comfortable and saying no to daytime naps can also improve your sleep no end. Don’t forget to leave your phone, tablet and laptop downstairs or at the bedroom door. They all emit blue light which can disrupt the production of melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone.
If you are new to exercise it may initially make you feel more tired, but you will soon start to feel your energy building up. Begin slowly and gradually increase the amount you do. Choose something that you enjoy as that way you are more likely to stick with it. Having an exercise buddy can also help. Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or dancing are all good options. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity five days a week.
Limit your intake of drinks such as tea, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks. Although they may give you a temporary boost, in the long run they can exacerbate fatigue. Gradually ease off over a period of around three weeks. Drink water, juices or herbal teas instead. Camomile, peppermint, lemon and ginger teas are all great choices.
Keep an eye on the evening tipples
Drinking, especially in the evening, may help to relax you but it may also cause you to wake you up in the early hours dehydrated. If you can’t cut out alcohol altogether stick within the recommended limits of 14 units a week and have at least a couple of alcohol-free days a week. Or challenge yourself and sign up to Dry January? For more information visit https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january
Watch your weight
Even carrying a few extra pounds can make you tired and sluggish. The best way to lose weight is to do so gradually is by eating a protein-rich diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, watching portion sizes and getting more exercise.
Still working from home? Endless zoom calls and lack of face-to-face contact with colleagues can be draining. Set strict boundaries about when you start and finish work and make sure your bosses and colleagues respect these. Try to create a dedicated workspace that is for work only which you can leave at the end of the day.
Aim to do something active every day but avoid making too many appointments or planning too many things in the same day. Work out at the time of day when you have the most energy and plan household chores and other activities around your energy levels. Make a list of what you want to achieve but don’t over do it.
If you’ve been tired for ages it can take time to get your energy back. Take it gradually and you will start to feel more energetic over time.
Try these three energy-giving herbs:
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps the body to adapt to stress and restore equilibrium as well as improving energy levels. Take it in the mornings to feel the benefits throughout the day.
Long regarded as something of a wonder herb, and used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine, ginseng is a highly respected herb which will give your body the injection of energy, you are looking for. This herb can be found in a range of energy products, herbal teas and supplements.
Ginko is the herb to go for to help bring life back to a weary mind as well as to aid poor concentration. It contains a number of compounds which together help to dilate blood vessels and increase blood circulation. These actions encourage blood flow to the brain, helping it to function at its optimum level.