It’s that time of year when the days are shorter yet we have more to pack in between waking up and going to bed thanks to the holiday season. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and reach for an afternoon pick-me-up of a sugary snack, coffee, or energy drink to keep yourself going. But the inevitable crash that follows is a sure sign that those are just temporary fixes. Here are some ways to naturally increase energy throughout the long days and simultaneously keep your body happy and healthy:
Reduce or eliminate caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar ups and downs, making mood swings more frequent. This includes caffeinated teas as well as coffee. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Before you go to sugar or caffeine, have a glass of water and wait to see what happens. Whatever you do, skip the sodas (diet and regular) – period!
Eat dark leafy green veggies. Greens are full of vitamins and nutrients and are great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood and strengthening the immune system.
Use gentle sweets, in moderation. Avoid sugar and toxic artificial sweeteners. Instead, look to locally sourced, high quality maple syrup and stevia if you need a little sweetness in your food. Sweet veggies such as yams, carrots and beets and fruits can help.
Exercise. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day make sure you get some physical activity, preferable outside to help increase your exposure to the sun.
Get more sleep. When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy and work to get it from whatever natural or artificial sources it can. Make sure you’re getting quality sleep at night.
Take time for yourself. Find activities that restore your energy, such as a walk, a bath, an afternoon at a museum, a movie, a good book, or whatever it is that recharges you. Schedule a weekly date with yourself and don’t let anyone interrupt your “me time”!
Get in touch with your spirituality. We are spiritual beings living in a physical world. Find whatever it is that helps you connect to the world on a spiritual level. Some ideas are meditating, yoga, dancing, church or temple, or volunteerin
Limit or remove draining relationships. People can drain you of your energy. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, but make note of who they are and how they affect you. See if you can transform those relationships with open communication and setting boundaries, or decide if it’s time to go separate ways.