T’is the Season to be Energised!

The festive period is upon us and with all the festivities and fun also comes an added amount of work and pressure. With the dark nights drawing in and all the preparations it’s often this time of year that we start to feel the effects of fatigue and lack the energy we so need.  So its worth just thinking about small changes you can make to your lifestyle that will give you that boost to help you enjoy all this Christmas period has to offer.

1) Drink more Water

 We all know we should but did you know that research has shown that by increasing your water intake you can improve your energy levels by up to 10%.  A good way to add more water to your diet is to swap your hot drinks for warming herbal teas…. there are some delicious festive flavours like spiced apple on the market to help you get in the fetive mood!  Adding cucumber or winter fruits to a jug of water in your fridge is abother great one… give it a try, you might be surprised!

2) Reduce Stress

Stress is one of the biggest factors for causing fatigue and zapping energy levels but even thinking about finding the time to add in meditation or relaxation exercises seems to add to the pressure! Simple measures to combat stress can be: writing a list & prioritising, delegating the tasks, trying to take time out (even just five minutes to sit and focus on your breathing) and, this is the important one: don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect!

3) Sleep

It’s tempting to stay up late to try get more done and, often, when you get to bed there are still tasks going around your mind. Getting a really good night’s sleep is essential for cell renewal and giving your body and mind the energy it needs for the coming day. Try to have a regular bed time, cut out the caffine after noon, avoid a heavy meal too soon before bed and cut down on the tv, ipads and smartphones in the bedroom! Using a simple relaxation technique of clenching and releasing each muscles in your body is a good way to let your body relax; clench and relax each muscle from your toes upwards in turn, holding each for the count of 3.

4) Reduce Alcohol

This can be tricky at this time of year! Everywhere you go, from Christmas markets to office parties or shopping events, you are offered mulled wine or champagne. We aren’t suggesting that you forego this all together but alcohol is a depressant and slows down your bodies natural responses, soaking up your energy levels.  Try alternating alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks; you’ll be pleased in the morning!

5) Diet

Eat more Whole Grains and less refined sugar. The key here is keeping blood sugar balanced so energy is constant. When you eat sweet foods you get a spike in blood sugar levels, which give you an initial burst of energy but that’s followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar, which leaves you feeling wiped out. Eating little and often is often better than 3 large meals a day during periods of high activity or stress. Try to eat a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruit, vegetables and omega-rich fish, like salmon. Magnesium is great for giving you energy so snack on nuts and seeds! They will give you that needed boost & help you feel fuller for longer. If you are desperate from some chocolate try dark, organic, chocolate, made with 70-100% Cocoa: it will increase your endorphins for a quick ‘pick me up’.

6) Exercise!

Research has proved that expending energy creates energy. Brilliant! Activity also releases those feel-good endorphins to make you feel like you can take on anything! You can add exercise into your day in very simple ways and often it’s best not to think of it as formal ‘exercise’ but just adding more activity to your life. Walk where you can rather than taking the car, take the stairs rather than the lift or escalator, stand rather than sitting while you wrap your presents, get the vacuum cleaner out!  If you have the opportunity go for a 10 minute walk to get some fresh air on your lunch break, or when you are collecting the children from school take a slightly longer route that will add an extra 5 minutes. 3 x ten minute walks in a day will increase energy, help you sleep better and help you get into that outfit for the Christmas Party!

7) Consider Supplements

Often people feel they are ‘cheating’ or feel guilt that they are not feeding themselves or their family properly if they resort to food supplements. This simply isn’t the case.  Even with they most balanced diet our bodies don’t absorb all the nutrients we need, especially in the western world. One of the best supplements for energy is the Chaga mushroom, which has been used in many civilisations and cultures for centuries. In addition to improved energy levels, Chaga has many other health benefits. It is packed full of more antioxidants than just about any other food available. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals to improve your health. Chaga is also an ideal drink or supplement during the cold and flu season.

8) Be Kind to Yourself!

One of the most counter productive things you can do to affect your energy, vitality and over all wellbeing is to be too self-critical!

Happiness & contentment boost serotonin levels and release endorphins; both are essential for energy!

At this time of year it is all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.  You can only do the best you can do; so it is worth thinking about what Christmas really means to you. You will make your family’s Christmas so much happier and memorable if you are happy, calm and content. Think back to the Christmas’ of your childhood and what you really remember and enjoyed… We suspect it was the family traditions, the company, the happiness that has stuck with you more than if the wrapping was perfect, or the gifts were large or if the roast potatoes were cooked to perfection.

Be gentle on yourself & try to enjoy this period of family, friends and love.

From all of us at Oliveleaf we hope these ideas will help you get the boost you need to tackle and, more importantly, enjoy this magical time of year!