The pandemic has had a significant effect on our mental health, and you may be feeling more tired and lethargic than normal. Boost your energy and get back on track with your wellbeing with our eight top tips…
1. Switch your sugar
A healthy diet can help to tame stress by boosting feel-good hormones. ‘White, refined carbohydrates won’t do your energy levels any favours,’ adds Aliza Marogy, founder of supplement company Inessa. ‘Aim to eat medium- to low-glycaemic meals containing a variety of whole grains, vegetables, pulses and lean protein. Eating this way dampens the insulin spikes which can lead to energy troughs.’
2. Hit the hay
Good sleep will decrease stress and increase energy. Avoid blue light an hour before slumber and instead focus on relaxing activities such as reading. ‘Don’t eat several hours before bedtime – your metabolism shouldn’t be working overtime during your resting hours,’ adds Thomas Robson-Kanu, founder of The Turmeric Co. ‘And a strong, natural anti-inflammatory like turmeric will help protect your immune system.’
3. Let the sunshine in
Natural light first thing in the morning helps set the body’s circadian rhythm by inhibiting melatonin production and stimulating cortisol. ‘Another good time to get outdoors is at midday when the sun is the strongest,’ adds Amanda Callenberg, nutritionist at YourZooki. This can help your energy and mental function and lift your mood.’
4. Move your body
The shorter days may make you want to slow down but it’s important to stay active. ‘Exercise aids circulation by getting blood and oxygen flowing around the body, which helps to oxygenate its tissues, boost energy levels and strengthen the immune system,’ explains Callenberg. ‘Activity also releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, which boost mood.’ Aim to get 30 minutes of exercise daily.
5. Drink up
‘During the cool months, we often forget to drink enough water, which is important for keeping energy levels up,’ adds Callenberg. Caffeine can elevate levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so it’s best to skip the coffee and opt for low-caffeine pick-me-ups such as green tea. ‘Peppermint, chamomile, liquorice or rooibos tea all count towards your daily water intake.’
6. Stock up on vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is common during the winter months, and this can negatively affect energy levels. A study from Newcastle University found that vitamin D is vital for making our muscles work efficiently. It’s thought the vitamin enhances the activity of mitochondria (the body’s energy powerhouses), and what’s interesting is that CBD oil can also help with periods of stress. Supplement with 10mg of vitamin D daily by using a formula such as DragonflyCBD with Vitamin D (£29.50), which contains 2.5mg per drop.
7. Take your time
‘To unwind, try meditation and reading,’ says Susan Alexander, nutritionist at UnBEElieveable Health. ‘Studies show that even 10 minutes of reading something you enjoy can reduce anxiety and levels of the stress hormone cortisol by up to 68 per cent.’ Another great way to spend me-time is in a bath full of Epsom Salts. Rich in magnesium, they’ve been shown to induce feelings of relaxation and aid restful sleep – crucial for rebooting energy stores.
8. Stay connected
Try not to get overwhelmed by stress. Instead, find the time to stay connected with family and friends. Making time for activities that we find nourishing and meaningful will make a huge difference in helping us deal with the chronic stress created by the pandemic.