1. Eat a healthy diet with a low glycaemic index
Poor diet is most likely the number one cause of diminished energy due to a number of different reasons. Ensure each meal is packed with nutritious whole foods (e.g. unrefined carbohydrates, vegetables, lean protein) as this will ensure a wide variety of nutrients (such as B vitamins – important for energy) are consumed as well as blood sugar being in balance. Eating sugary or processed convenience foods can cause highs and lows of blood sugar levels, causing an afternoon slump resulting in mental and physical fatigue. Start your day off with eggs on sprouted bread or quinoa porridge to give sustained energy throughout the morning, and don’t mistake tiredness or lack of energy for hunger!
2. Do not abuse the stimulants
Stimulants such as caffeine and sugar must be kept in moderation, even though they are the first point of call for a lot of people when low in energy. Excessive consumption of caffeine can put stress on the adrenals and cause burn out as well as flush out key minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Stick to one espresso a day or try green tea for added antioxidants, avoid instant coffee as this is often laden with chemicals. We all know sugar can wreak havoc on the body so if you feel a sugar craving coming on, go for a low GI snack such as 6 almonds and an apple or hummus on wholegrain crackers. Despite the clever marketing, energy drinks are not the answer to long lasting energy! Some herbal medicine can give an energy boost without the nasty side effects, these include Korean Ginseng and Guarana powder.
3. Move your body
Individuals who start their day off with exercise kickstart their metabolism, avoid the afternoon energy slump and are less likely to overeat throughout the day. Daily exercise has numerous benefits on the body and can result in more energy throughout the day provided nutritious fuel has been consumed and enough rest and recovery time is accounted for. Try and mix up your routine by combining resistance training with aerobic exercise to improve fitness and condition the body.
4. Allow for enough down time
Just as important as exercise is quality rest, achieving a deep sleep and having enough time to unwind away from a hectic lifestyle is essential. It is recommended between 8-9 hours sleep each night is essential for optimum rest, this is important for mental and physical recovery especially if there is a high level of stress during the day. Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to support adequate hormonal release and energy levels. To achieve a good night’s rest, consider practicing yoga or meditation, even five minutes of deep breathing in a quiet room will allow for a deeper sleep. Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and instead try passionflower, chamomile or Tulsi (holy basil) tea as they have a mild sedative action.
5. Avoid a toxic lifestyle
We are exposed to thousands of chemicals each day, some chemicals found in household cleaners, foods, cosmetics and in the environment can be a burden to our organs of detoxification. This in turn can result in sluggishness and mental fogginess. Try to avoid what you are exposed to by choosing more natural based cosmetics and skincare, organic foods where possible and generally supporting our detox pathways. This includes drinking enough filtered water throughout the day to flush the kidneys, exercise in fresh air to oxygenate the lungs and body and consume enough fibre to bind and excrete toxins that we ingest or that our liver excretes into our bowel each day.