September marks the seventh month that we’ve been in lockdown for Covid-19 and while we’re loving certain aspects of our time at home, we’ve noticed that spending all day in the house can seriously impact our energy levels. Whether you’ve been waking up still tired or getting that post-lunch groggy feeling in the afternoon, it’s time to reassess what’s sapping your energy stores. Here are six easy tips that will help you to naturally boost your energy for increased efficiency and happiness all day long.
Work Vitamin B rich foods into your diet.
Vitamin B helps to convert dietary energy into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) AKA the form of energy that your body uses. While vitamin B isn’t necessarily a stimulant, it helps your body to produce more energy. The easiest way to work more vitamin B into your diet is by taking a “food first” approach. Five foods that contain high levels of B12 are salmon beef, milk and yogurt, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals. Not all of these foods are dietary restriction-friendly, so luckily taking a B complex supplement can help. Supplements include all of the essential water-soluble B vitamins, such as folic acid and biotin, which also help with female reproductive health and hair and nail growth.
Practice deep breathing.
Though many people don’t realize it, it’s common to take shallow breaths during the day. Taking a few minutes throughout your day to pause and take slow, cleansing breaths can have an impact on your energy and mindfulness. Taking a few deep breaths lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, while increasing oxygen flow to the brain. Try inhaling through your nose, pausing when your lungs are full, and then exhaling through your mouth slowly three to ten times. The rush of oxygen ushered in on a deep breath is known to boost your mood, energy levels, and clarity of thought.
While you probably know that exercise is proven to give you natural endorphin and energy boosts, stretching is often overlooked. Stretching increases blood flow to your main muscle groups, so it is an easy way to naturally nourish your body through movement. Stretching for five minutes when you wake up in the morning and five minutes before you go to sleep at night will help you feel limber and empowered all day long. In addition to simple stretches, incorporating a short yoga practice into your daily routine can help to strengthen and relax your muscles and your mind. Gisele Bündchen practices yoga daily with the goal of creating more “presence, dedication and intensity” in her life. She says that yoga has taught her to remain present during her practice and energetic for the rest of her day.
When you’re dehydrated your skin feels dry and tight on your face, when you’re properly hydrated it feels plump and vibrant. This isn’t a coincidence – hydration is crucial to keeping both your mind and body feeling healthy and energetic. When you’re well-hydrated, the water inside and outside of cells provides the right nutrients and removes waste so your body performs better. You can increase your hydration levels by simply drinking more water, but if you’re looking for a fun way to increase your flow, try adding lemon to your water. Eating high-water snacks like watermelon and cucumbers will also help keep everything moving fluidly. When you’re looking for a boost in the afternoon, instead of reaching for coffee, which is dehydrating, go for herbal tea or a flavored water instead. Your energy levels (and sleep quality) will thank you.
Eat for energy.
The phrase “you are what you eat” is almost a cliché at this point, but in terms of energy levels it rings true. Food is your fuel, so while it is important to enjoy what you eat, it’s equally important to remember that everything you put into your body is going to affect how you feel physically. Fiber and lean protein can help you to feel full and satiated for longer, without making you feel heavy or sluggish. Fiber helps keep your digestive system moving so you feel light, while protein feeds your muscles. On the flipside, food that is carby, starchy, and packed with sugar can cause blood sugar to spike and plummet, leaving you feeling fatigued, weak, and honestly hungry. Gwenyth Paltrow is one of many healthy lifestyle gurus who swears by ditching processed foods. Though she says “I really believe in delicious food and enjoying life and not saying no to anything,” the biggest thing she avoids is processed foods with artificial ingredients and pesticides. When you eat processed foods, your body has to spend more time breaking them down, which negatively impacts the amount of energy you get from the food. Fueling yourself well will help you power through those long weekdays at home when you don’t have time to indulge in an afternoon cat nap.
Get quality sleep.
The final ingredient to feeling more energized all day long is to focus on getting quality sleep. While it may sound obvious that poor sleep quality puts a drain on your energy reservoir, it does more than just make you feel sluggish. Feeling fatigued during the day has been linked to weight gain, increased stress, and can even weaken your immune system. If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied with your sleep, here are a few simple adjustments you can make to start getting better sleep tonight. Start by creating a positive sleep environment. Little details such as fresh bedding, low noise levels, and a cool temperature will help you wake up feeling refreshed with higher levels of energy. Where you sleep and how you feel when you sleep impacts how you feel all day. Sleeping in silk has also been proven to increase the quality of your sleep. Silk is a light weight, breathable fabric that decreases friction, while helping you retain natural moisture and stay cool at night. Actress Kristen Bell claims that sleeping in silk not only helps her sleep through the night, but also has her hair looking less tangled and skin looking brighter when she wakes up in the morning – these are some benefits we can get behind! In order to create a higher quality sleeping environment, every detail should be working towards keeping you comfortable and sleeping through the night. Your energy will reflect it.