In this fast-paced world, most of us know what it’s like to feel tired and sluggish fairly. These feelings can frequently be put down to our habits and routines and with a few simple lifestyle changes, we might be able to bring the vitality back into our lives. Consider these simple, actionable tips to boost your energy and mood.
Exercising makes our body release endorphins, natural hormones that make us feel good, and improves cardiovascular health and sleep, allowing us to feel more energised physically, but also better mentally.
What you can do: Go for a 10-minute walk after your lunch - when your sugar levels are higher - or when you feel tired or in a bad mood. Studies suggest that a brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy levels for up to two hours after your workout.
Your alertness throughout the day depends on how much good-quality sleep you get. If you have a sleepless night or a poor night’s sleep, you are more likely to lack focus, be moody and feel tired the following day.
What you can do: If you struggle to fall asleep, set up a regular routine to help you wind down before bed. You can take a warm bath (not hot), stretch lightly or listen to relaxing music or sounds. Experiment to find out which bedtime routine relaxes you most and stick to it.
Our bodies need fuel to function. If you regularly skip meals, you may feel weary and low in energy. However, filling up on processed foods and sugar can leave you in a similar state and can negatively impact your health in the long run.
What you can do: NHS recommends to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day and to base your meals around starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, cereals, pasta or rice, wholegrain where possible. These are an important part of a healthy diet and can help you sustain energy. Also, make sure you get enough iron (from meat, beans, nuts etc) as being low in this mineral can cause tiredness and can lead to anaemia.
Caffeine can stimulate alertness and sharpen your mind, but can also disturb your sleep and make you feel anxious. The NHS recommends gradually cutting down on caffeine if you feel tired all the time. This NHS advice is not only for coffee drinkers, as caffeine can also be found in tea, cola and energy drinks.
What you can do: Switch to decaffeinated versions if cutting down is too difficult for you. You might feel the benefits of drinking less caffeine (or avoiding it altogether) quite quickly. But it can also result in headaches. If this happens, cut it down more slowly.
According to the WebMd, even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. If your body is short of fluids, it might affect brain function, mood and energy levels, so drink regularly during the day to ensure you are hydrated.
What you can do: Mind advises that you drink between 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day. Besides water, other healthy drinks can count towards your intake such as lower-fat milk or fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies, although you need to be aware of the potentially high sugar content of some of these.
Breathing is something that we all do without usually realising it. Many of us are used to breathing in our chest while keeping our stomach flat. This breathing habit (shallow breathing) doesn’t let air pass all the way through to the lower part of the lungs, which can make you feel short of breath and anxious.
What you can do: Learn to take control of your breath and practice deep breathing. This is the way babies breathe, as do we when we’re asleep. It involves letting the air you breathe push out the lower belly. Deep breathing can slow the heartbeat and stabilise blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed. Exercise deep breathing with the help of this NHS guide.
Things to remember
Exercising, nutrition and rest are essential factors for increasing energy levels in our daily life. However, if you’re constantly low in energy and/or with a low mood, it is worth seeing your GP as these might be signs of an underlying medical condition.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.