Give exhaustion the heave-ho with these holistic expert tips
Let’s face it, there are times when all we want to do is curl up and have a nap, but it’s rare that we can just give in to the feeling. Never fear, we’ve rounded up some fatigue fighting strategies to get you firing on all cylinders again.
“Acupressure is a traditional Chinese therapy that involves applying pressure, normally with the fingertips, to points around the body to stimulate sluggish qi energy flow,” says David James Lees, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner (wuweiwisdom.com). “My favourite acupuncture points for releasing fatigue are yin tang, the third eye point located in the middle of the forehead between the eyebrows; he gu, located in the webbed area of the hand between the thumb and index finger; and zu san li, found on the leg, four finger widths below the knee-cap and a little to the side of the shin bone.
“Apply firm, but not painful, pressure to each point with your index finger for one minute, and repeat if you wish. Practise these points daily for a revitalising energy boost.”
“Qigong is a form of ancient Chinese meditative exercise,” says David. “The most basic wu ji position is also the most powerful, as it grounds and connects you to the revitalising energy of the wider universe. It can be practised indoors or outdoors for a quick 10-minute pick-me-up:
“Stand in a relaxed position with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms loose at your sides. Now, visualise a centre core line of fresh vibrant energy running from the top of your head out between your legs and deep into the ground below you.”
“If the qi (energy) flow around your home is sluggish or stagnant, this will sap your physical and emotional energy levels,” says wellness coach Alexandra Lees (wuweiwisdom.com). Sort the problem with some simple feng shui to ramp up your energy in no time.
“Clean and open the windows to maximise daylight and fresh air, and clear out stale energy,” says Alexandra. “Use sound to awaken and move sluggish qi by clapping your hands or ringing a bell or singing bowl in each room, especially in room corners and any underused spaces.
“Hoarding junk stagnates energy flow, so systematically declutter each room and remove unwanted items of furniture, clothes and books. Use colour to pep up the energy by adding a splash of vibrant pink, yellow, orange or fresh green to feature walls, fabrics, accessories and clothes.”
Herbs can offer a pick-me-up when you are in need of an energy boost. “Try sage wine,” says Henriette Kress, author of Practical Herbs 1 & 2 (£19.99, AEON Books) “Put 15g of crushed dried sage and 500ml of red or white wine into a glass jar and close the lid tightly. Leave it for a week, shaking the jar from time to time. Strain through a coffee filter, and take two tablespoons three times a day for exhaustion.”
The humble stinging nettle is also your friend. “A traditional central European remedy for exhaustion is to take nettle seeds,” says Henriette. “Having one or two teaspoons of the seeds every day can help with burnout and tiredness. The green parts of nettles, too, in teas or as food are generally strengthening.”
Try this energising move, the Pilates hundred, from instructor Lottie Murphy (lottiemurphy.com).
“This exercise is from classical mat Pilates and usually done as the first exercise of a routine to energise the body, get you breathing and fire up your abdominals,” she says.
“Start laying on your back with your knees bent into a table top position off the floor. Make sure your spine is in a neutral alignment. Breathe in and, as you breathe out, connect your abdominals, and curl your head, neck and chest forwards, so the tips of your shoulders are curled off the mat and your arms are reaching forwards just off the mat. Maintain this position in your upper body and start to pump your arms up and down, keeping them long and strong. Breathe in fully for five pumps and breathe out fully for five pumps. To advance, extend your legs away from the body but maintain the connection to your abdominals and neutral spine.”
Energy healing expert and reiki master Sushma Sagar (thecalmery.com) recommends palming for a quick pick-me-up. “Rub your hands together until they feel hot and then put them on your closed eyes and hold them there,” she says. “This is a healing exercise that puts energy back into your third eye chakra area and can make you feel perky again – it’s really good if your eyes are tired from screen use.”
Try lengthening your breath as you exhale and feel your energy flow. “When we are stressed, our breath is faster and shallower, which feeds the fight-or-flight reaction,” say Larah Davis, yoga and wellness expert and founder of Ibiza Retreats (ibizaretreats.com). “Revitalise your parasympathetic nervous system through the breath as follows:
“Place your hands below your navel to invite the diaphragm to expand downwards into your belly. Next, lengthen your deepbelly- breathing exhales, one more count each breath. Feel your inhales take care of themselves.”
“Just like your car won’t function properly with the wrong fuel, your body won’t function well with the wrong diet,” says Mary Dalgleish, vice president of The Federation of Holistic Therapists (fht.org.uk) “Drink water to keep hydrated, and avoid excess caffeine and alcohol. Large, heavy meals leave you feeling sluggish so don’t overeat, and increase the amount of healthy food in your diet while reducing processed, fatty, sugary and salty foods.
“Eat around the clock and make sure you include ample protein in your diet,” says nutritionist Rosie Millen (missnutritionist. com). “Eating every four hours will help to stop blood glucose from dropping, which is the main reason we experience energy slumps. If you focus the meal on protein foods, it will fill you up rather than give you a crash later (like it would if you had just eaten carbohydrates). Good choices are eggs for breakfast, salmon for lunch and quinoa salad for dinner.
“If you have a juicer at home or can pop out to your local juice joint, then a ginger shot mixed with apple juice is a fantastic natural energy booster!
“Adding some spirulina powder to your morning breakfast smoothie will work wonders in terms of your energy and concentration. It is a powerhouse of nutrients, namely vitamin B12, B6 and magnesium, all of which help produce adenosine triphosphate, your body’s energy molecule.
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