As we race towards the end of the year, many of us feel like we’re climbing slowly uphill. December is a crazy month no matter who you are, and balancing work with family and festive commitments means low energy levels simply aren’t an option. Staying energised is easier said than done, particularly at this time of year, so we’ve put together a few of the easiest natural ways to boost your energy levels- without having to rely on caffeine!
1. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep!
Sleeping your way to higher energy levels seems like the obvious answer, but did you know one third of Australians aren’t getting enough sleep? A study by the Sleep Health Foundation showed that nearly half of adults (48%) complain of sleep related difficulties, and these issues carry over into our day-to-day lives with a whopping 45% of adults complaining of “daytime consequences” such as feeling tired at work or suffering from low energy levels during social situations.
With this in mind, try your best to get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure you’re functioning at your best during daylight hours. If you’re struggling to fall asleep and find yourself paying for it come morning, try to avoid bright screens (yes – that includes your phone!) in the hour before bedtime. The light these devices emit stimulates the brain and tricks it into thinking that it’s daytime. Try to slowly wind down and implement a relaxing evening routine to ensure your sleeping habits are as healthy as possible and reap the benefits of more energy come daylight.
2. Increase your Vitamin D levels
If low energy is a persistent problem for you, it’s worth having your Vitamin D levels looked at. Vitamin D has been proven to have a serious effect on fatigue and energy levels. Confused as to how you can stay sunsafe AND keep your Vitamin D levels up? Australians only need around 10 to 15 minutes of “casual sun exposure” each day, which can mean anything from going for a walk to doing a bit of gardening – not necessarily sunbaking! If your Vitamin D levels are seriously deficient, you can pick up Vitamin D supplements over the counter to get that energy boost.
3. Move your body!
Suffering from a mid-afternoon energy slump? Rather than grabbing a coffee or reaching for a sugary snack, the solution can be as simple as moving your body. If you’re in the office, in a meeting (or even in the car at the traffic lights!) you can engage a gland called the “thymus,” which is located in the centre of your chest, just below your collarbone. For an instant energy boost, you can just gently tap on the thymus for 20 seconds – when tapped, it releases T-cells and boosts energy!
Breathing deeply and stretching can also help to increase those energy levels. Focus on inhaling for 6 counts, holding for 3, exhaling for another 6 then continuing in that rhythm. If you’re able to, hop up from your desk and stand in a doorway with your feet facing forward. Then, grab the sides of the doorframe with your fingers. Push your chest forward to stretch your back and torso to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and increase your energy. Keeping up from your desk in general is a great way to boost energy as it will increase your heart rate and make you feel more energised almost instantly.
4. Blend up some superfoods
Can’t get rid of those sugar cravings? Shun the office cookie jar in favour of some energy boosting superfoods. Chia seeds are really easy to blend into a smoothie (or bake into some bread or healthy biscuits if you’re handy in the kitchen!) and they’ve been proven to improve your energy in the same way a sugary sports drink can, minus the sugar crash afterwards! Some other great superfoods that you can work into your everyday routine to curb your cravings and improve your energy are raw cacao, coconut and goji berries.
5. Stay hydrated
Did you know water plays a big role in keeping your energy levels up? Dehydration can lead to feelings of pretty intense fatigue, so keep your body hydrated to ensure everything is functioning the way it should be. You don’t need to go overboard! Just ensure you’re drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day to keep yourself feeling awake and alert.