It’s a busy time of year- Christmas shopping, planning, cooking, concerts parties ….. so much to do, oh my! If you are running low on energy and need some sparkle in your day there are ways to help yourself. When energy is low, stress levels are high and our adrenal glands are working hard making adrenaline, a stress hormone that gives us a kind of energy hit that our bodies cannot sustain for too long. There are better and healthier ways to lessen the frazzle and let you dazzle over the party season.
6 Steps to improve energy
- Prioritise- make lists and work out what is important and what can be left till later. Lists are an efficient way to organise your workload and provides a time frame.
- Hydration- drinking enough water is important with all the rushing around. Our bodies are 80% water and any dehydration can affect our energy levels. Regularly replenish your stores by sipping water or herbal tea.
- Sleep- maybe easier said than done, but getting a good 8 hours of sleep most nights will support your stamina. Be in bed before 11pm for 5/7 nights. If you have trouble sleeping talk to your naturopath for a recommendation to help you nod off.
- Eat well- ensure that you eat wholesome foods to provide your body with the right kind of energy that will stabilise your blood glucose levels. Fast foods and high sugar foods or drinks lead to energy crashes that will increase fatigue. Snack on fresh fruit, nuts, a boiled egg, protein ball or veggie sticks when you are busy to sustain your energy levels and avoid sugar cravings.
- Limit Caffeine and alcohol- use both wisely. 1-2 cups of coffee per day should be your limit. Using coffee as an ‘energy crutch’ is self-defeating; after your caffeine hit there is an energy crash. Coffee after 4 pm may stop you enjoying a good night’s sleep. Alcohol is dehydrating which, as we know, will undermine your energy. It also makes your liver work hard and that can make you tired. Save your alcohol for socialising.
- Take time out- give yourself a 10 minute time out, to refresh your mind, rest your body and renew your enthusiasm for the job at hand. Go outside, go for a walk, look at the trees, enjoy your favourite song- everyonecan spare 10 minutes in their day.
Are there other ways to support energy through Christmas?When life is hectic, it may be challenging to follow all those steps. Perhaps some other support is necessary to get you across the line with energy to enjoy the festivities? Many herbs and nutritionals can help you when you need a boost! Talk to your naturopath or health professional to work out the best one for you.
Siberian Ginseng- supports the adrenal glands during times of stress. This herb can improve your energy in a gentle yet remarkable way and is great for clear thinking and recall.
Rhodiola- another herb to support the adrenal glands, Rhodiola improves stamina and energy.
Withania- described as a ‘hug in a bottle’, Withania is a comforting herb that can be used for improving energy when taken during the day but equally promotes sleep when taken in the evening.
Passionflower- the ultimate calming herb, Passionflower will help to calm you down when you feel worried and tense. It will also help you sleep.
Vitamin C- there is a higher demand for Vitamin C when we are stressed. Vitamin C supports the adrenal glands and is an anti-oxidant, protecting our bodies from the effects of stress.
B Vitamins- used for energy production and nervous system support. Our bodies use B vitamins in large quantities during periods of stress.
CoQ10- required for energy production, supporting the nervous system and adrenal glands, CoQ10 also protects the body from the effects of stress.
Energy FoodsPopeye had his spinach for super energy and there are many foods that can do the same for you:
Chia seeds: an ancient food, Chia may be an excellent source of prolonged energy. Containing carbohydrates, healthy fats and fibre they are high in iron, magnesium, and amino acids. Chia seeds contain good levels of B vitamins and calcium which fight stress that can lead to fatigue. Chia puddings are an easy way to start the day to maintain your energy.
Maca: a root vegetable from Peru, Maca powder with its delicious caramel flavour can be added to smoothies, porridge, lattes or protein balls. It is a natural adaptogen; it supports your energy system. Just a tablespoon is all you need for an energetic addition to your day.
Cacao: higher in iron than meat per serving, and a good source of B vitamins, protein, fibre and zinc. Cacao is one of the highest magnesium containing foods. Magnesium is an important mineral to support your energy needs, your metabolism and fight stress, reduce sugar cravings and stabilise blood sugar. A cacao smoothie, pudding, or porridge make a great energy snack.
Breakfast is an important meal when you want to maintain your energy throughout the day and party into the night. Start your day with this high energy breakfast. It’s easy to make and delicious!
Chocolate Chia Pudding
This can be prepared in advance, perhaps the night before. I often make several small jars at a time and leave them in the fridge so there is always breakfast ready when I need to eat and run.
- 150 ml coconut/almond/oat milk
- 3 tbs. chia seeds
- 2 tsp. cacao powder
- 1 tsp. maca powder
- ¼ tsp. stevia OR 1 tsp. of sweetener of choice
- ¼ tspn vanilla essence
- pinch of sea salt
- Thoroughly combine dry ingredient. Add liquids and mix well.
- To serve: berries, banana, shredded coconut, crushed nuts, pumpkin seeds for toppings (optional)
- Refrigerate for 5 minutes, add serving suggestion of choice and ENJOY!
Article by Desley Hatfield Desley is a naturopath who believes that promoting a balanced lifestyle will help to increase your health and vitality.