Next time fatigue starts to set in, avoid the caffeine and try one of these simple tricks to give your body a little oomph.
Studies suggest that just a handful of raisins can fuel a workout, so when you're feeling a little slow reach for these tiny bites of goodness.
Try aromatherapy to help you stay alert. “Diffusing citrus essential oils such as orange, lemon or grapefruit is a great way to refresh and boost energy,” explainjs Mary Dalgleish, vice president of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (fht.org.uk). “Rosemary is excellent if you need to be alert,” she adds.
“Swap white carbs for brown,” explains The Medicinal Chef, Dale Pinnock (dalepinnock.com). “These have much more fibre which means they are digested slower, preventing the highs and lows that cause our energy to crash.”
According to science, yellow is the colour most commonly linked with a healthy mood and alertness, closely followed by positive shades orange and lilac, so why not place a bold array of blooms on your desk? The gorgeous smell will help to boost your mind too!
“Massaging your ears can increase energy, creating a sense of wakefulness,” explains Mary. “Simply rub the edges of your ears between two fingers, from top to bottom a few times.” Voila!
Tara Stiles, yoga instructor and author of Strala Yoga (£14.99, Hay House UK), recommends dancer's pose to ignite energy levels. “Shift your weight onto your right leg, bend your left knee and grab hold of your left foot with your left hand. Hold, then when you're ready hug your knee into your chest, before placing it back down. Take a few breaths then repeat on the other leg,” she explains.
“Even a five percent drop in hydration can make you feel fatigued and fuzzy,” Dale explains. When you hit the 4pm wall, swerve the coffee and simply reach for a glass of H20.
Give yourself an Indian head massage when you're feeling lethargic. “A vigorous scalp massage is a wonderful pick-me-up that can be done at any time to increase circulation to the head and boost energy,” says Mary.
Research conducted by the department of psychology at the University of Wisconsin found that hearing a supportive or familiar voice prompts the brain to release oxytocin, a stress-fighting mood-elevating hormone. So when you need a boost, give mum a ring.
In ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to raise energy levels in people suffering from lethargy or depression. The scent and taste of turmeric, when used in foods and teas, can uplift your senses and invigorate your body.
“If you are prone to energy ups and downs, grazing on low glycaemic, high protein foods can be great,” suggests Dale. “Nuts, seeds, hummus and even boiled eggs all make good in between meal snacks – just don't go overboard on the serving size.”
Give this traditional Chinese medicine first-aid revival technique a try. “To promote mental alerness, use the tip of the index finger to apply pressure (for up to one minute) between your upper lip and nose,” says Mary.
Listening to music for an hour each day can help reduce fatigue. Your mental and physical energy gets a boost when you listen to an upbeat track you can't sit still to – maybe steer clear of Adele.
Love yoga? Practise this pose to give yourself a little boost. “Stand with your feet a bit apart so you are nice and stable,” says Tara. “Soften here for a moment then take a big inhale and reach everything up. Exhale, soften and bring your arms down. Move through this a few times with each breath.”
“Massaging the 'third eye' between the eyebrows and bridge of the nose can help release stress, headaches and fatigue,” says Mary. “Use your first two fingers to massage clockwise and anticlockwise for 30 seconds at a time.”
Avoid white carbohydrates like the plague,” says Dale. “These foods have their fibre removed so it takes very little digestive effort to liberate the sugars they contain. This floods our blood sugar, sending it soaring and then crashing back down again causing a huge energy slump.”
A side plank pose is a good way to boost your energy levels. “In the plank position, roll onto your right side, opening up your whole body,” Tara says. “Take a big inhale, then exhale as you move back into the plank position. Repeat on the other side”.
“B vitamins are some of the single most important nutrients for energy production as they are heavily involved in the process within our cells that convert glucose to ATP – the fuel that our body runs on,” explains Dale. “Load up on leafy greens and whole grains – or try supplements.”
Try the high lunge twist with open arms a try. “In the lunge position, take a big inhale and lift your hips and arms up,” describes Tara. “Exhale and open your body up to the right side. Repeat a few times before switching legs and repeating on the other side.” *shouting optional.
“Use the knuckle of your index finger to press and twist into the pituitary reflex point (middle of the big toe) for 15 to 30 seconds,” advises Mary. “This important gland regulates the functions of most other endocrine glands.”
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