Feel like you’re constantly running on empty? Health and wellness pros share their strategies for refuelling.
After more than six months of working from home with barely any boundaries between work and home, you might find yourself completely drained. It’s time to rethink how to allocate your energy to get you through the week.
1. GET COMPLEX
Reach for complex carbs such as wholemeal bread and brown rice during lunch, as refined carbohydrates such as white bread and white rice are broken down easily by the body. “This process utilises a lot of oxygen, which ends up making you feel sleepy,” says Ng Chiew Leng, Health Coach at Thomson Wellth Clinic.
2. CHECK FOR DEFICIENCY
Haemoglobin is an essential component in ensuring oxygen distribution around the body, and how efficient your body is at doing that will affect your energy levels as well. Vitamin B12, zinc and iron are vital to the production of haemoglobin. “Pay special attention to deficiencies, especially if you’re vegetarian, as vitamin B12 is usually found in meat and dairy products,” says Ng. Bonnie Rogers, a certified Functional Medicine Health Coach at The Nutrition Clinic, encourages testing for iron deficiency before blindly taking supplements, just in case you have a thyroid condition.
3. BALANCE IS KEY
“When it comes to maintaining energy le vels, you really want to try and keep your blood sugar levels constant throughout the day by focusing on mostly plants, good-quality protein and good fats, and reducing refined carbohydrates and your sugar load,” says Rogers. Essentially, no one food is going to boost your energy levels, but a healthy balance of all the food groups.
4. COOL IT
If you’re able to take a slightly longer lunch, consider going for a whole-body cryotherapy treatment, said to reduce inflammation as well as trigger the production of endorphins, which help to boost your mood, improve your focus and raise your energy levels. Commercial cryotherapy treatments involve spending about three minutes in an ultra-cold chamber (temperatures typically range from -110 to -150 deg C) to reap the full benefits of the therapy.
5. EMBRACE NATURE
You don’t need a faraway park to profit from time spent en plein air. Just go outside daily, even if outside is a bench around the corner from your house. “Instead of reaching for an energy bar or a latte, get some fresh air, which has been shown to increase vitality and lower stress,” says New York-based psychiatrist Samantha Boardman.
6.MAKE A (CONCRETE) PLAN
We may not want to leave the comforts of home, but “the irony is, what gives us energy is often what we don’t feel like doing,” says Boardman. She suggests making action-oriented plans with a friend, such as going for an exercise or a pottery class. They’re more likely to stick, compared to the vague “we should get together” sort. “Activities that feel meaningful revitalise the body and mind,” she adds.
7. TAKE A NAP
Yes, really. It’s crucial for our energy levels t o power down occasionally during the day. If one of those breaks is a 15- to 20-minute catnap, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it at all. “We’re not meant to work for many hours without quality breaks,” says Christy Whitney-Matz, a Shamanic Reiki practitioner in New York and founder of pAra Botanica. “Our bodies benefit from periodic rest.”
8. WIELD SCENT WISELY
“Aromatherapy is one of the best w ays to tap into your energy,” says Barbara Close, founder of Naturopathica. Set up an essential oil diffuser on your desk and try a citrus scent such as neroli to improve mental sharpness, or frankincense to feel more grounded.
9. ENGAGE IN YOUR CLEANSING
If meditation isn’t your thing, let washing your face be your mindfulness practice. Sandra Lanshin Chiu, a Brooklyn acupuncturist and herbalist, suggests spending time massaging in your cleanser. “It can be an opportunity to release the tension that locks our energy,” she says. “We carry a lot in our face.”
10. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
Proper hydration and energy are closely linked, says Chiu, but it’s not just about chugging water. Instead, she recommends throwing chia seeds into your beverages to raise their hydration factor or adding lemon to water to boost nutrient absorption.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: ARISSA HA.
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