With the roll-out of the vaccine moving apace and the easing of lockdown on the horizon there is hope ahead. However, many of us have been left exhausted after the long months of restrictions.
Editor Jane Garton looks at how we can re-energise in time for spring.
If your fitness routine went out the window during lockdown or your days became more sedentary now is the time to get active. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce fatigue in just a few weeks. So go for a jog or a bike ride, enrol in an online Pilates class, or walk briskly round your local area every day.
Sometimes prioritising sleep over bingeing on Netflix and social media can be very effective. The only prerequisite for restorative sleep is a calm mind, so quieten yours with a warm bath, some yoga or a good book before turning in.
Tweak your diet
Small changes to your diet such as eating less sugar and reducing the amount of snacking on comfort foods can improve your get up and go. Eat more wholefoods, focus on healthy fats and include protein with every meal. These changes can have a remarkable impact on your energy levels and feelings of lethargy.
Stay in the now
The past is remembering while the future is guesswork so try to train your mind to stay in the present. Baking, reading, sewing, knitting, drawing or painting, running, walking and yoga are all good mindful activities.
Start the day slowly
Resist the temptation to check your phone or tablet the moment you wake up. Immediately thinking of what needs doing the day ahead will only trigger your body’s stress response. Instead think about doing something that will nourish you.
It could be a gentle stretching routine, looking out of the window and taking in the outside world or sitting on the sofa quietly with a cup of tea. This will help to lift mood, boost energy levels and switch your mind-set to positive.
Watch that wine
Chances are you may be relying on that evening glass of wine to prop up energy levels especially if you are home schooling or working from home, but the truth is it has the opposite effect. Wine can increase feelings of tiredness because it contains fermented sugar, which depletes energy levels. Try to stick to the government recommended levels of 14 units a week (6 medium glasses of wine) with several alcohol-free days.
Pre- lockdown most of us were busy with meetings, hobbies and commitments which gave a structure to our days but now when every day seems the same it is not surprising to feel unmotivated and lethargic.
The secret is try something new. It could be a new recipe, learning a language or even embarking on some DIY around the house. Making good use of the time on your hands can help to put back the spring in your step.
Learning to breathe deeply via alternate nostril breathing the way the yogis do maximises oxygen intake and revs up energy levels. It floods the body with rich oxygenated air, gets rid of stale carbon dioxide, sharpens the mind and wakes you up like nothing else.
- Find a quite place and sit down comfortably.
- Extend the index finger and thumb of your right hand.
- Rest your thumb against your right nostril and breathe in through your left nostril for a count of four.
- Close both nostrils and hold your breath for a count of four.
- Open your right nostril and exhale deeply for a count of four.
- Repeat on the right
Do this eight times for maximum effect.