As a busy mum myself I know what its like to suffer from low energy and how much this can impact our everyday lives. Low energy can make it extremely difficult to get through the day and the long list of tasks that need to be done. Many of us focus on our weight as an indicator of our health, but I believe that our energy levels are the true marker of good health.
After having my two children only 20 months apart I found myself feeling low on energy and exhausted most days. Feelings of not being able to cope started to creep in and adrenal fatigue became my reality. Doing my best to avoid visiting the Drs I went down the path of naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncture and live blood analysis.
Through the support of varying natural health care practitioners and my own changes to diet, fitness and lifestyle I was able to turn my fatigue into wellness and avoid the very real possibility of anti-depressants (yes that was my GP’s suggestion).
Over the years these changes to my lifestyle literally changed my life and I know that they can help you too. As a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I want you to know that you too can experience increased energy so that you can live your life with more passion, motivation and happiness.
1. Exercise Daily – Living an active lifestyle will change not only your wellbeing and most likely your waist line, but your energy levels too. The more we move and are active the more we will boost our energy. Being active doesn’t have to be a chore and nor does it need to take up hours of your time. Finding the things you love to do and doing them as your exercise will help keep you motivated and likely to actually do it. Riding bikes with the kids, bouncing on a trampoline, kicking a football and dancing around the living room are all forms of exercise. In fact you will reap way more benefits from movement when its performed consistently throughout the day rather than a one hour workout in the morning and then sitting the rest of the day. If you do sit for long periods of time try to move for 3-5 minutes every hour – walk around, run up and down some stairs, go and fill your drink bottle.
2. Sleep Well – restorative sleep is essential to our wellbeing, energy and well, life really. The restore, repair and replenish that occurs while we sleep ensures that bodily functions such as detoxification, hormone balancing and digestion are all able to occur . The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but the majority of people aren’t getting anywhere near enough and certainly not enough restorative sleep. Many of my clients complain of waking up feeling just as exhausted as they did when they went to sleep and this alone is slightly concerning. A few simple tips that may help with poor sleep quality are reducing screen time at night, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, avoiding or completely eliminating alcohol and caffeine and creating a bedtime routine for yourself, just as you likely do for your children.
3. Nourish Yourself – The foods you choose to eat will either give you energy or deplete you of energy. For this reason alone I think we need to be conscious of the foods we are eating and how they are making us feel. Nourishing wholefoods are going to fill us with energy while highly processed packaged foods will likely suck the energy right out of us. Choosing to cook at home as much as possible, avoiding the foods that leave us feeling yuk (sugar, gluten, dairy and soy are often the biggest culprits) and eating a variety of fresh seasonal wholefoods are going to help us experience optimal energy levels on a daily basis. Try to keep a food diary and note how you feel after each meal to determine hidden allergies and sensitivities. Hydration is another factor which can have a significant effect on our energy. The average adult needs approximately 2 litres of water per day, but most people aren’t getting nearly enough. Increase your water intake and notice if energy levels begin to improve. If drinking more water leaves you feeling swollen and uncomfortable due to fluid retention, you may need to look at increasing your mineral intake to help the body better absorb the fluid into your cells.
4. Manage Your Stress – if the overwhelming demands of running a family, housework, work commitments, deadlines, finances, relationship strains and the never ending to-do list leave you feeling stressed out, anxious and perhaps borderline depressed, managing the effects of this on your body will do wonders not only for your energy levels but your overall wellbeing too. Managing stress can often be daunting as many of our every day stressors are unavoidable, but there are ways to control the stress. Embracing a restorative practice such as yoga, meditation t’ai chi or qi qong can all significantly help with reducing stress on the body as can deep diaphragmatic breathing. Stop a few times per day and take 10 deep breaths through the nose, filling and expanding the belly. Hold the breath for a moment before slowly exhaling back through the nose. Continue for 10 breaths allowing each inhale and exhale to become longer and slower. The more you practice the diaphragmatic breathing the easier it will become and the quicker you will notice the effects on your stress levels.