The shorter days and the upcoming holiday season can zap your energy. There’s a lot to do and seemingly little time to do it.
Perhaps you’re thinking of reaching for another cup of coffee or heading to the store for some energy drinks or pills that promise to perk you up. That stuff may – or may not – give you the boost you’re looking for, and if it does, you can bet you’ll come down a lot harder when it wears off.
Thankfully, there are things you can do naturally to help you power up. Here are some tips.
Keep stress under control: Stress takes up a lot of energy. Asking friends and family to help out during the holidays can ease your personal load. You can also talk to friends, join a support group, talk to a therapist, or try relaxation techniques like tai-chi, yoga, mindfulness, or other forms of meditation.
Streamline your activities: There are things you absolutely have to do and others that you don’t. However, the latter often gets grouped in with the former. Make a list of priorities, and don’t worry about the stuff that’s not pressing; you’ll get to it when you get to it.
Exercise brings energy: It may sound counterintuitive, but using energy increases energy. It almost guarantees you’ll get better sleep and gives cells more oxygen and energy to burn. Exercise can also boost dopamine, so you’re feeling better overall.
Eat for fuel: Eating foods with slow absorbing sugars (low on the glycemic index; “complex” carbs) can help you avoid the crash that occurs after eating foods that make sugar spike. They also promote sustained energy.
Try eating things like fruit, oats, whole grains, etc., instead of sugary snacks and refined grains.
Watch caffeine intake: Caffeine can help increase alertness and energy but can also impair sleep and lead to crashes. Use it judiciously. A cup or two in the morning to help you perk up or make it through a late morning lull can help, but cut consumption after 2 PM.
Drink water: Being hydrated can enhance performance and keep you feeling energized. When your body is short on fluids, you start to feel fatigued.