Have you ever experienced an afternoon lull? The one where it feels like time stands still and all you want to do is close your eyes, curl up into a ball and have a snooze?! You are certainly not alone, and these energy dips can be hard going especially if you have work and other responsibilities to attend to. And whilst there are many things that act like a ‘pick me up’ and can be tempting during a lull such as a cup of coffee or a bag of sweets, they sadly only provide a short-term solution to the issue and can cause a yoyo effect of feeling alert, and then hitting an energy low again. And let’s be honest, they are not the best for our health either. Thankfully there are many things you can do to naturally help your energy levels. So, let’s dive in, here are 5 steps you can work on each day: 1. Focus on your sleep Getting high quality sleep is essential for so many aspects of your health, including your energy levels. Imagine if you put your phone on charge, but every 30 to 40 minutes you kept taking the charger out, using it for a short time before returning it to the charger. Over time you will notice your phone doesn’t charge as quickly and by the end of the day your battery will still be low. The same applies to you. If you have a broken night’s sleep or just don’t get enough, it doesn’t allow your body to recharge and that’s where the tiredness and reduced energy can creep in the following day. Creating a sleep routine can help with this. Simple things like avoiding screens and devices 90 minutes before bed, trying to have your last meal 2 hours before you sleep, avoiding stimulants like caffeine in the afternoon and being mindful of your environment, making your room dark and cool can all help to get a good night’s sleep. 2. Fuel from foods All food provides energy but the type of food you eat will impact how your body processes it and your energy levels following. We mentioned at the start about how tempting it can be to reach for sweet foods when your energy takes a dip. Highly processed foods like sweets, biscuits, cakes, cereals, and breads are high in sugar, but can also be broken down by your body quickly which causes your blood sugars to rise rapidly. This provides that burst of energy, but sadly it is short lived and once over, can create the dip. Incorporating ‘whole foods’ like vegetables, whole fruits (not juices), oats, as well as good sources of protein (things like eggs, lentils, meat, and fish) and fats (such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds), will take your body longer to break down and release energy more slowly, therefore helping you to avoid the roller coaster of energy highs and lows. Planning your meals throughout the day can help you keep on track with this. 3. Take a break We know how tempting it can be to power through the day when there is a lot to be getting on with. Sometimes taking a break can seem like a waste of time, however allowing yourself some time out will actually help your productivity, not hinder it. Your body is not designed to be on the go all the time. It needs opportunities to recharge, and allowing yourself regular breaks will help to keep your energy levels up. Stepping outside to get some fresh air, taking a short walk, doing some star jumps in your room, or even closing your eyes for a few minutes and taking some deep breaths can all help to keep your energy up throughout the day. It will also help you manage stress too, which can take up precious energy. We would recommend setting an alarm at regular intervals during the day, it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable. 4. Intentional movement Did you know that exercise helps to increase your energy? Movement is life, and every time you move it stimulates your nervous system which includes your brain, helping you to feel more alert. Do you recall a time when you really didn’t want to exercise? You may have felt tired and lethargic, and the sofa seemed even more comfortable than normal. Yep, we can certainly relate to that too! But how did you feel once you finished your exercise? Did you feel more awake and energetic and pleased to have done the work? The chances are you did, and that is because your body craves movement. Exercise helps to increase your energy and boost your mood too, so we would recommend factoring in exercise each day, at least 30 minutes and more if you can. It will do wonders for the health of your spine too! 5. Stay hydrated Did you know your body is made up of 60% water? It is essential for keeping your body working well and one of the bonuses of keeping hydrated is that it can help to improve your energy too. When your body is dehydrated, it can lead to symptoms like poor concentration, low energy, and tiredness, so we would recommend having a big glass of water when you wake up and then keep a water bottle beside you. Keep sipping away during the day and be sure to refill when empty! We know these are simple things to focus on but if they are done consistently, they can do wonders for how you feel each day and help to avoid those frustrating lulls during the day. If you focus on these areas for a period of time and continue to struggle with low energy which is causing concern, we would recommend you get this investigated further. Low energy can be a sign for other health conditions, so it is always best to get checked out with your General Practitioner or other health care provider. The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.
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