With the world finally reopening again after lockdown, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and drained by the sudden onslaught of social events and parties. If your tank is a little low on fuel, learn how to boost your energy with these top tips. Time to enjoy summer to the max!
The temperatures are rising, the days are stretched out and there’s a care-free vibe in the air following the steady easing of restrictions. We are all grateful about the prospect of seeing life go back to normal. However, if your phone has been non-stop buzzing with a flow of invitations to garden parties, pub lunches and picnics, it can all feel a little too much. Especially after going cold turkey on any semblance of a social life for so long.
‘The summer of 2021 marks the beginning of a post-lockdown era. The sense of “making up for lost time” after such an extensive period of restricted activity is both understandable and risky as people over-indulge in the things they have missed most. If not managed carefully it can feel overwhelming and lead to burnout,’ believes Kate Morris-Bates, clinical therapist and wellness expert. In Japan, summer fatigue is known as ‘natsubate.’ With sauna-like temperatures soaring during the summer months, natsubate is an annual phenomenon the Japanese know only too well. They manage this fatigue by practising better self-care, looking after their diet and tweaking daily activity levels. So, if you feel like your vitality is waning and you’re desperate to get to your happy place once again, we’ve covered all bases to send your energy levels sky-high!
1. Have a power nap for a quick energy boost
The Japanese take power naps at work and, in European countries such as Italy and Spain, an afternoon siesta forms part of daily life. Yet, in the UK, we still haven’t really cottoned on to the benefits of a speedy daytime snooze. A power nap can leave you feeling refreshed and energised, and there’s even research demonstrating that 40 winks can improve memory. ‘According to an Australian study, having a 10-minute nap (which isn’t long enough for you to enter deep sleep) at midday provides an immediate improvement in alertness, mood and performance,’ shares Morris-Bates.
2. Change up your workout
Just as you might add a pop of colour to your summer wardrobe or re-think your skincare regime, you should adapt your workouts to correlate with the shift that warmer weather brings. This might mean taking an indoor workout into the great outdoors, or getting up an hour earlier to practise an energising sequence of sun salutations. ‘Take exercise during the cooler times of the day – work out so you’re not tired out and listen to your personal energy levels so that you can tailor your workout appropriately,’ advises Morris-Bates.
3. Inhale energising scents to boost your energy
When you’re feeling up and down, and need a way to lift your energy levels, a sniff of an energising fragrance could do wonders to refill your feel-good tank. Citrus scents like lemon and lime evoke a summer holiday vibe of cocktails and sunshine, whilst geranium and bergamot have a balancing effect on emotions. Grow some herbs such as energising peppermint and rosemary (known for helping to improve focus) on your windowsill and cut off a few sprigs whenever fatigue strikes.
4. Make an effort with friends but know your limits
We’ve lived in isolation for such a long time that it’s practically become a new way of life, but it’s important that you still make an effort to nurture relationships with friends, family and even trusted neighbours, as communication is so important for fostering wellbeing
However, we all have boundaries, and if social invitations are feeling too overwhelming, remember that it’s okay to say no.
5. Keep a journal
When something is bothering you, writing down your feelings is one of the best ways to get things off your chest. Keep a journal where you can free-flowingly scribble down your emotions when things get too much.
6. Try a tropical diet to boost your energy levels
A healthy diet is a key part of the Japanese lifestyle. And even if you aren’t hopping on a plane this year, nibbling on tropical fruit can whisk your senses off to more exotic climes. Choosing fruits with a high water content allows your body to hydrate to offset summer tiredness, whilst filling you up with key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
‘Fruit with a high water content, such as watermelon, is ideal. It’s high in carotenoids, such as lycopene, and antioxidants such as vitamin A and C – all of which are essential to protect and repair sun-sensitive skin. It’s a good source of hydrating electrolytes, too,’ says Morris-Bates. Strawberries, cherries, peaches and plums are also in season at the moment and will provide an energy pep-up, thanks to their fruit sugar content
7. Make some healthy habits
Try doing these simple things every day/week to keep your mind and body in optimal condition…
- Drink two litres of water every day
- Eat eight to 10 portions of fruit and veg throughout the day
- Schedule in a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week
- End your daily shower with a cold 30-second blast of water
- Put on your favourite tunes and spend 10 minutes busting out dance moves
8. Work with your body’s rhythm
We all have an in-built body clock known as our ‘circadian rhythm’ which governs our sleep-wake pattern, and this is responsible for essential functions and processes. When you become misaligned with your internal body clock, you can suffer sleep problems and lethargy.
Your circadian rhythm is influenced by environmental cues such as light and dark, which is why you get up when the sun has risen and go to bed after dark. Regardless of the longer days, try to implement a regular sleep-wake pattern by getting up and going to bed at roughly the same time each night. It’s also worth ensuring you get around eight hours of slumber time.
9. Let nature give you an energy boost
A nature fix can help to beat summer fatigue on so many levels. Just20 minutes of direct sunlight exposure helps to increase immunity and mood-boosting vitamin D levels. You’re also automatically more in tune with your senses and better able to slow down when immersed among nature. ‘Extended daylight hours offer us the opportunity to breathe fresh air, enjoy nature and absorb vitamin D [the “sunshine vitamin”] as well as the happy hormone serotonin. Relish the chance to sit reading a book, stroll through a park, eat outdoors or spend time in the garden,’ recommends Morris-Bates.
10. Practice box breathing to boost your energy
Controlled breathing practice is the antidote to so many of life’s ailments, from stress and anxiety to poor sleep. And when you need an energising pick-me-up, a few moments spent practising box breathing could help to boost your vitality. Exhale to a count of four, pause for four counts, then inhale for four counts. Pause for four more counts before beginning the pattern again.