As Autumn with it’s breathless colours of flames and golds comes to an end, we await the arrival of Winter and it’s own definitive beauty.
Yes, there is no point kidding ourselves, it will be pretty damp and, at times, downright. It will be cold and chilly and for some the task of dragging ourselves out of bed in the dark mornings will get more and more difficult. The glare of oncoming headlamps will play havoc with your eyes as you head homeward bound during the dark evenings in manic traffic. And as you reluctantly adjust to the shorter days and lack of natural daylight and sunlight, you are also faced with the fact that Christmas, and it’s inevitable rush, is heading this way, as it always does, at full speed!
All the ingredients to ensure a good dose of winter fatigue I’m sure you’ll agree - but help is at hand! It doesn’t have to be unbearable. If you are feeling a little lack lustre, yawning at a ferocious rate and basically have just about enough energy in the evenings to slump down on the sofa in front of the box, you’ll be tickled pink you opened this page! You can bring back that ‘joie de vivre’ and add a little peppering of genuine verve back into your life by trying some (or indeed all) of these 20 simple ways to boost your energy levels this winter!
1) SLEEP Get as much sleep as you need to and remember your body really needs it at this time of year.
2) VITAMINS - Supplements such as Vitamins A, B and E are all important for well-being. If you want to avoid supplements, however, you can ensure that you eat the necessary foods containing these essentials. Try using 1 teaspoon of Brewers Yeast in a glass of milk or water, it’s full of Vitamin B and good for digestion too.
3) LAUGHTER - Bring on the laughter and smiles, it’s the most natural way to help depression, anxiety and, believe it or not, it lowers blood pressure too!
4) STRETCH - One really effective way to beat fatigue is to try a Yoga pose known as the ‘Standing Stretch’. Stand in the correct posture, that is, with your toes pointed out in front of you, your knees relaxed and your feet at hip distance. Ensure the weight is balanced evenly between the ball and the heel of your foot. Interlace your thumbs and stretch your hands up above your head while keeping your arms against your ears – and stretch upwards from the lumbar area of your lower back. Keeping your breath even throughout, now slowly release the arms down in front of you. Tuck your chin into your chestbone and gently lower yourself down, vertebrae by vertebrae keeping arms hanging loosely and then just hang from the waist. This position encourages the blood flow to the head and is a real winner when you need to energise yourself. After one minute slowly bring yourself back up into a standing position, imagining as you do so that each vertebrae is stacking itself upon the next until you are eventually upright and repeat three times.
5) DIET - Check your Diet and be sure over the winter months to include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday.
6) AROMATHERAPY - Use pure Essential Oils as often as you need them. Burning Peppermint or Rosemary oils is excellent for alertness and both also aid concentration. As these oils are energising oils it is best not to use them in the evening if you are planning to have a good nights sleep.
7) THE MAGIC OF WATER Don’t forget the recommended amount is approximately two litres per day.
8) AVOID toxic people because, quiet simply, they can completely drain you of energy.
9) EXERCISE - Get plenty of exercise. There’s no escaping it. The health gurus recommend that we all need to include at least 15 minutes exercise, three or four times a week.
10) LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’ more often. As the old saying goes ‘those that matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter’. You’ll be amazed at how much energy you can recoup and even more amazed to discover that if you say ‘no’ the world will keep on turning.
11) COMBAT PARTY NIGHTS - If you’ve had a late night on the Town try drinking at least two glasses of water before crawling up to bed, it will make the following day far more bearable.
12) BREAKFAST - We’ve known from a very early age that we should never miss Breakfast. No matter how tight you are for time try not to skip it. For a quick energy-inducing breakfast grab a mug of hot water with honey and lemon and a quick bowl of cereal, ideally with fibre.
13) REDUCE your intake of Caffeine. While it may give a quick boost, a lot of caffeine daily actually ends up having a negative effect on your energy level. You might even try substituting a couple of cups a day with a herbal tea, such as sage to raise spirits, peppermint to aid digestion or chamomile to enable you to unwind.
14) LEARN - Meditation and Relaxation techniques; they’ll be invaluable not just today but for life.
15) MOTHER NATURE Get out there and make the most of the short daylight hours. Overdose on fresh air. There is nothing more revitalizing than taking the time, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, to soak in our beautiful scenery and breathe in the fabulous scents of the season.
16) MASSAGE - It’s a wonderful way of keeping the immune system in ship shape order and the body supple and healthy. So go on invest in your health and schedule a massage once a month for optimum results.
17) DIGESTION - Be kind to your digestive system. Eat slowly and avoid late night eating as much as possible.
18) STRESS - Manage your stress levels and become aware of your react to stress. Remember stress is infectious!
19) MANAGE TIME EFFECTIVELY - Avoid using up your lovely energy by rushing to every appointment. Aim to leave about fifteen minutes earlier, not only will you arrive in plenty of time - you’ll be completely unfrazzled.
20) CONCIOUS BREATHING Believe it or not most of us don’t breathe properly. With the speed of modern day life most adults are chest breathers which means the breath doesn’t make it right down into the abdomen. Become conscious of your breath each day by taking a little time to become aware of your breathing habits. The following short exercise will benefit you in many ways as well as helping to re-energise your mind, body and soul…Firstly r-e-l-a-x your entire body by taking a deep breath into your stomach. As you slowly release it imagine it traveling up along your spine, relaxing all the muscles as you go and bringing attention to the shoulders by consciously dropping them into a relaxed position. Follow your breath and think about bringing the breath down into the bottom of the lungs and really feel the tummy rising and then exhale fully and slowly. After just a few minutes resume your regular activities and feel the difference.
Now you’ll be ready to welcome the coming months with open arms and revel in the wonderful delights this season has to offer leaving you invigorated and ready to enjoy this Winter. You won’t know yourself I promise!
Paula Hynes is a Lifeskills Consultant and Educator specializing in stress, touch therapy and self care. She is also the founder of The Natural Therapy Training Centre in County Westmeath Ireland. Paula may be contacted at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org