Feeling tired and run-down a lot of the time? We share 11 strategies that will help you hit the ground running and start each day off with a bang.
1. A Lukewarm Shower
Want the fastest mood boost ever? Rethink your love of scalding showers. Due to the huge amount of cold receptors in the skin, exposure to cooler water activates the nervous system and increases blood supply or endorphins to the brain.
2. Pimp Your Porridge
For breakfast, choose ingredients that release even slower, keeping you fuller and more energised for longer. Try quinoa – the flakes are made in the same way as porridge. Then add chopped nuts or crushed seeds to provide the healthy fats that keep your mental energy going.
3. Have Eggs With Spinach
Eggs contain almost all of the B-vitamins as well as protein, and nothing maintains energy and fullness quite like them. Try eating poached eggs with raw spinach on seeded bread for a hit of energy-giving complex carbohydrates and magnesium.
4. Make Green Tea Your Morning Cuppa
If you had a rand for every time an expert suggested you replace coffee with green tea, you’d be rich, right? Well, yes. But the reason green tea is so good for energy is that its caffeine release is slower and more sustainable than coffee or normal tea. Plus, a study by the University of Basel, Switzerland, found that green tea improved connectivity between brain regions, leading to better short-term memory.
5. Stay In The Moment
Too much multitasking can cause you to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. By being present in the moment – achieving mindfulness – you can increase your focus. Start with your breath. By lengthening the exhalation to three or four seconds, you quickly get a sense of ‘groundedness’. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms us down.
6. Get Your Nutrients
Certain nutrients are vital for staying energised, but we often forget about magnesium. It’s essential for the chemical reactions that allow insulin to ferry glucose into cells to create energy. Get it from green vegetables, nuts, pulses and bananas or take a supplement.
7. Add Some Sauerkraut To Your Salad Or Soup
Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage and kimchi – vegetables fermented Korean style – are rich in vitamins B and C, which you use up during stressful times. They also provide a great source of iron, which many women are lacking. Fermented foods may also help to improve your immune system by stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. A probiotic pill may contain billions of bacteria where something like 1tbsp sauerkraut or kimchi will contain trillions.
8. Sit Up Straight – Or Else!
This is one of the easiest ways to stay energised. Sitting up straight actually wakes up your brain stem, giving you an awakening feeling all over. Practise your posture and ensure your chair is set at the right height so you can sit comfortably at your desk.
9. Take A Walk At 4pm
It might seem indulgent to leave your desk in the middle of the afternoon, but consider this: in fascinating experiments conducted at California State University, a brisk ten-minute walk not only increased energy but the effects lasted up to two hours. Plus, when the daily ten-minute walks continued for three weeks, overall energy levels and moods were lifted.
10. Have A Sleep-Friendly Dinner
Eating a meal of tryptophan-rich foods such as turkey, chicken, salmon, beans or avocado can help the brain take up this amino acid, which is used to make melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. If you tend to wake up early, try eating a small carb snack before bed such as porridge or oatcakes with cheese. Far from making you fat (a myth), carbs eaten close to bed release steady glucose into your bloodstream to help prevent waking in the small hours.
11. Turn The Clock Away
Always waking in the early hours? Turn the clock away from you before you get into bed at night. Watching the clock creates anxiety and what is called ‘attentional bias’. That’s when what you focus on – such as getting back to sleep – is less likely to happen because you’re simply trying too hard. Don’t check the clock, however tempting, and you’re more likely to nod off again.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst