Feeling flat? Or plain exhausted? Leading naturopath Victoria O’Sullivan shares 5 easy ways we can reclaim lost energy and feel our best.
1. Get tested
How long is it since you have had a check-up with your doctor? A standard blood test may reveal deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals such as iron and B12. Symptoms of these include exhaustion, cold hands and feet, dizziness and shortness of breath. “These deficiencies can have a negative spiralling effect: when we are tired we crave more sugar and don’t feel like exercising, making us even more tired – and the pattern continues,” Victoria says.
2. Do you have allergies?
Have an allergy and intolerances check with your naturopath – often allergies will make you feel tired without you even knowing it. Allergic reactions are brought on by a variety of factors – environmental, food and drink – but mostly they are brought on by an overactive immune system. Victoria suggests, “Identify the triggers of the allergies, and limit contact.”
3. Restore your digestive system
Our digestive system is like an ecosystem – if there is a build-up of bad micro-organisms we’re unlikely to be absorbing the full nutrients and energy from our meals. Some simple ways to restore balance are to chew food properly to ensure break down and maximum absorption. “Eat foods rich in good bacteria like natural yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut and kim chee; take probiotics, digestive enzyme supplements or apple cider vinegar in water in the mornings” says Victoria.
When we are dehydrated our blood becomes sticky and thick, which affects the transportation of oxygen around our bodies, in turn impacting the vital oxygen transport to our brains and affecting our mental alertness. “Sticky blood also puts greater stress on our heart, making it work harder. We will likely crave more sugar and stimulants to give us the energy we lack.” Victoria says. We need roughly 0.33ml of water per 1kg of bodyweight. That’s around 2.15 litres per day for a 65kg person.
5. Avoid flat batteries
Adrenal exhaustion may occur as a result of chronic stress, “we often associate stress with things like loss, moving house and financial pressure. In reality, stress comes from all areas of our lives. Dragging ourselves out of bed in the morning and lacking stamina are classic symptoms of stress, but more subtle symptoms can include difficulty in completing tasks and craving sugar or salt” says Victoria.
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The limbic system in our brain is responsible for telling us if we are we under threat or if we need a stress response, the good news is that it can be trained. Often our perception of events can greatly affect our stress response. By developing positive attitudes we can go a long way to reduce stress and gain more energy.