Some people are naturally energetic – they bounce out of bed in the morning, don’t rely on caffeine to power through the day and are generally optimistic. Then there’s those people, like most, who snooze their alarms, drink coffee like it’s on its way out and moan and groan all day about being exhausted. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be like this – with the right habits in place we too can be overflowing with energy.
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We chatted to Stephen Eddey, principal of Health Schools Australia and qualified nutritionist and naturopath to find out how.
1. Listen to your body
The key to feeling energetic is knowing your limits and making healthy choices, he says. If you’ve had a stressful day and are feeling run down, spending the night tucked up on the couch might be just what the doctor ordered. Don’t “push yourself to run errands that really can wait,” he urges. “Relaxing when you need to will assist with a deeper sleep and see you waking up the next day refreshed rather than drained.”
2. Plan your snacks
We’ve all heard the saying that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Stephen agrees with this: “You will feel much more energised during the day when you sustain your body with the right food. You may aim to have healthy meals but often when that mid-morning or 3pm craving hits, people reach for the most convenient – often a highly processed and packaged – option.”
Instead, pack some fruit and a handful of nuts to eat when you’re feeling peckish rather than reaching for that convenient packet of chips or chocolate bar, he insists. “You will feel the difference.”
3. Get enough sleep
We’re forever being told to get enough sleep, however a lot of us tend to ignore it then wonder why we’re always so tired. “It’s important to be getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night,” encourages Stephen. “Waking up well rested makes it easier to get out of bed without hitting the snooze button three times, and that motivation and enthusiasm will continue throughout the morning if your body has had the time it needed to rejuvenate.”
If you struggle to unwind at night, it might be worth considering a bedtime routine such as relaxing with a warm chamomile tea or switching off electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Creating positive feng shui within your home is also another option that’s often overlooked.
4. Set goals
When we’re productive, we’re generally a lot happier – and when we’re happier, we tend to be more energetic. Therefore, Stephen recommends that you give yourself something to work towards. “It’s much easier to stay energised when you’re busy and to stay busy in a productive way you need to set goals.”
The naturopath/nutritionist says your goals can be anything that you want to achieve, so maybe it’s getting up early once or twice a week to do a morning yoga class, or “hitting a sales target at work.” Regardless, ticking things off your to-do list provides a big rush of energy. Stephen explains: “Once you set these goals you can take small steps throughout the day to help make sure you achieve them and the sense of reward when you do can be an excellent energy booster.”
5. Load up on antioxidants
Antioxidants have a multitude of health benefits and getting your dose via a healthy diet can boost your energy levels. Health professional Stephen recommends eating foods rich in nutrients; so lots of dark leafy greens, berries, green tea and even some dark chocolate. Another powerful antioxidant the he suggests is Ubiquinol – the active and more bioavailable form of CoQ10. Found naturally in our bodies, Stephen says Ubiquinol helps to power the body’s cells and supports overall energy, however when we’re stressed these levels can decline and result in fatigue. The solution? “You may want to consult your healthcare professional and check your Ubiquinol levels.”
6. Walk more
Sometimes the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling exhausted is to do any physical activity, but Stephen says getting your blood pumping, even a brisk 10 minute walk will leave you feeling refreshed and better able to concentrate. “If you find yourself holding off yawns and staring at the clock, have a break and go for a quick walk.” He also recommends taking the stairs whenever possible and to “stand up and stretch your legs every hour or so.” Think of all that unintentional exercise you’ll be getting!
7. Get some sunshine
Vitamin D contributes to balancing mood and fatigue. While we do get it via some foods, the majority of it comes from sunlight. According to Stephen, Vitamin D is an important energy boosting vitamin that many of us are now deficient in. Spending a few minutes sitting in the sun and getting some fresh air will ultimately “boost your mood and revitalise your mind,” he says. Remember your sun safety however, ladies – always slip slop, slap!
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