Have you been struggling to stay on top of your youthful energy game lately? Have you been feeling more flat than radiant? Is winter taking an energy toll on you? I feel you! But I also know it does not have to be this way, gorgeous. Even with a crazy busy life, you can totally out-glow yourself with vibrant, fresh energy. Here are my 7 tips how to:
- Go as unprocessed as possible
When your life is crazy and you are running around like a natter from morning to evening, it is more essential than ever to replenish all the energy you are putting out with healthful wholefoods. This will allow your body and mind to recharge. Wholefoods are bursting full of lots of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important health-boosting phyto-nutrients that have insane healing, vitalising powers and thus can supply you with tons of great vibes. Foods that have been processed however are void of such superpowers and can only provide you with a very short-lived form of energy. The kind that gives you a quick super-high and an evenly quick mega-crash. These processed foods will also boost inflammation, magnify those surging stress levels of yours and have you put on weight in no time without even eating vast amounts of them. The solution is simple and luckily tastes delicious: say no to pre-cooked, ready-made foods, everything that comes out of a package and does not look like real foods anymore. Instead say yes to your old-fashioned vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, legumes and other forms of healthy fats and wholesome protein. There is a reason our grandparents had loads of great energy and a slim physique – I don’t think it had anything to do with their genes.
- Nutrient balance is key
When has it become so hard to eat a well-balance diet? When did we start to think of eating healthy in terms of keto, paleo, fat-free, low-carb or calorie counting? If you too are following one or the other of the latest diet fads or diet trends, you are very likely not to eat a balanced diet. The result of course is that you will not feed your body everything it needs to be at its best radiant, energised self. I feel there has been a lot of confusion going on about what healthy or ‘eating clean’ really means. Carbohydrates for example are no bad guys and eliminating them or greatly reducing them from your diet robs you of an entire food group and a lot of lasting healthful energy! Ironically enough it is exactly those carbohydrates that are the body’s preferred source of fuel. I am talking of healthful carbs of course, that is wholegrains and wholefoods in their most unprocessed version, which truly are your best insurance for youthful, sustained, no-blood-sugar-crashing vigour. The same is of course true for healthful fats. They too play a vital, most important role in our diet and if taken out, can cause a lot of havoc and disruption in our bodies such as interfering with our normal hormone production, increasing our stress levels and, you guessed it, put a damper on our healthful, happy vivacious minds. Good fats you want to nurture yourself with are unsalted, unroasted nuts and seeds, cold-pressed olive oil, avocados and fatty fish.
But wait there is more to all this nutrient balancing energy equation. In addition to eating from all the 3 food groups, it is also essential for your vitality to consume lots of different foods within the same food group. So, even if pizza and pasta are your go-to meals, I urge you to mix it up with as many different varieties of pizza crusts and toppings as possible. Trust me your energised body and mind, will love you for it!
- Try portion sizes that satisfy but don’t drown your energy
Did you know that over-eating continuously is not only making you fat but also causes inflammation and therefore drains your body of precious energy? I know it can be all too easy to fall into the enormous-portion-size trap…often our portion sizes creep up unnoticed over several months or weeks until all of a sudden and without knowing how we really got here, we are consuming consistently meals that are much too large for our needs. The food industry does not exactly make this matter easy for us either dishing out horrendous amounts of foods, bigger buckets, plates, jars and even bottles of pretty much everything. The key is to eat more often but less. Say no to skipping meals and yes to being prepped with deliciously energising snacks that keep your blood sugar stable and the whole you on track. The second most vital step to tackle all this portion distortion is to tune back into listening to your true body’s needs by practicing some mindfulness. Whenever I am eating something I am asking myself before I even start how hungry I am on a scale of 1-10. 10 being extremely starving. As I eat, I do so slowly and consciously, directing all my energy to my senses and the food I am devouring. All forms of disruptions such as mobile phone, TV, books and so on, are turned off or put away. I keep asking myself after every few spoonfuls how hungry my body feels now. Wait for it: you will see how there will wash a first wave of beautiful food satisfaction over you. Be attentive to feeling this and honour it. You may choose to eat a little more if you feel not fully satisfied but do know that your physical needs have probably just been fulfilled. You are now eating to do the same for your mind and soul. Try to stop putting food into your mouth and swallowing it before you are totally stuffed. The more often you do this, the more skilled you will become. Also, be kind and accepting with yourself on this journey, it is normal and okay that it will take some time for your body-mind connection of satisfaction without overeating to re-establish.
- Stay active
I know for some people it sounds contradictory. How can you win additional energy from spending more of it by upping your activity level? Well, the answer is our bodies were designed to move. Inactivity makes our bodies sluggish. Everything slows down when we do not move enough. Our digestion, our heart and breathing rate. Literally we are stuck, not in flow and this drains quite a bit of life’s zest out of us. Time to get unstuck and to move that core energy of ours. To be equipped with tons of contagious good energy our body needs to flush out waste products regularly that otherwise will weigh us down. Also, exercise rejuvenates our body on a cellular level by producing more mitochondria and thus an increased ability to create energy. This means the more you feed your hungry body with rebalancing aerobic movement – I am not talking of going crazy with overtraining here…I am all for keeping it within your healthy limits and balance– the more your body is able to utilise this newly won vivacity and benefit from it. Not only is the physical YOU getting stronger and fitter with every workout, but you are also boosting your mental and soul health by doing so. Fatigue can have many origins and all too often has its roots in brains that are foggy and burdened down with depression, anxiety and insane levels of unbearable stress. Releasing all those happy hormones called endorphins with an invigorating power walk or yoga sequence can clear away all of this tense energy and make room for joyful vitality.
- Ditch the sugar, too much coffee and alcohol
All of these will exhaust you further if you are in for the long haul and lasting results. Yes, I admit, it can be all too tempting to give in to the idea of supplying yourself with a quick and all too easy energy fix….but let’s be completely honest: How effective is this slapdash solution really??? Simple glucose sends you right onto a less enjoyable and high-risk roller-coaster ride where your blood sugar comes crashing down from extreme highs to dangerously deep lows. Continuously done and your body tries to create its own solutions to such horrid ups-and downs which more often than not result in diabetes, obesity or other nasty chronic diseases. Coffee – especially if consumed in large amounts – turns the calmest, most-in-control person into an anxious mess. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system which increases our release of stress hormones while at the same time blocking the neurotransmitter GABA which has a calming effect on us. In addition, it can make our blood sugar levels plummet even lower and deplete our stores of the relaxing mineral magnesium and anti-stress B-vitamins. We all know what the messy result looks and feels like: sweaty hands, heart palpitations, digestive issues and not so sexy jitters is not exactly what I would equate with serious amounts of youthful, vivacious energy.
When it comes to alcohol it is no secret that your beloved booze suppresses your energy by slowing down your brain function, which has a sedative effect and results in you feeling drowsy. Yes, this can give you a quick relieve from all your day to day worries but it won’t equip you with the extra energy needed to actually tackle any of your problems. In addition, alcohol interferes with your good night’s sleep by stimulating the stress hormone epinephrine. And we all know that everything is worse when we do not sleep right, don’t you agree? I am not saying you cannot have a casual glass of gorgeous red wine to celebrate life, however, if you are struggling with not having enough radiant vitality to get through your busy days, drinking alcohol regularly will only exacerbate your heavy fatigue.
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night
It is a no-brainer that getting enough sleep will help us to rejuvenate our tired brains and bodies and replenish us overnight with feel-good energy. However, it is my experience that knowing something and also doing it are two very different things. And the one does not necessarily also imply the other. I get it. Our days are so loaded with all our tasks, chores and jobs that we cannot wait for those evenings of well-deserved rest to come about. Trouble is only they feel much too short. Which is why we tend to prolong them and go later to bed than we should, meaning we are not giving our fatigued bodies and stressed minds enough time to heal and recuperate before we are doing it all over again. And again. Eventually all of this accumulates and the result is a chronically fatigued and utterly exhausted you. The more tired you are of course, the less productive you will be, not to speak of being much more vulnerable to chronic disease due to raised cortisol levels and systematic inflammation. So, what I am trying to say is that the price for stealing another hour into your beloved evening is pretty high and eventually deadly. My tip: try going to bed earlier for 1 month. Make a pact with yourself and commit to getting those 8 hours of decent sleep in. You will find that because you are so much more alert and happily energised, you are also able to handle everything much more efficiently and productively. Also, let’s be honest you were not exactly filling these evening hours of drowsy wakefulness you were clinging onto so vehemently with real earthshaking and lifechanging things since you were too exhausted to do so. So, making this sleep boosting switch will more than likely also add some real quality time into those shorter but more enjoyable evenings of yours.
- Stay hydrated
The average human adult body consists of 60% of water. Every cell in our body needs water for survival and to function at its best. Water is required to regulate your body temperature, to maintain your digestive health, to transport nutrients and flush out waste material, to lubricate our joints and it participates in the biochemical breakdown of what we eat. Consequently, not drinking enough water results in decreased body functions such as reduced physical and mental performance and alertness, increased lethargy, mood changes and slowed responses. Signs can vary from headaches, to water retention, constipation, brain fogginess, unproductivity, muscle cramps, minimal urine, rapid heart beat and breathing, dry skin, increased sleepiness and tiredness…to name only a few. I find it astounding that drinking enough water is still one of the hardest things for most people – including myself – to commit to without exception. At first glance, it should actually be one of the easiest, cheapest and most effortless steps for us to take to improve our overall health, wellbeing and energy levels. Yet it’s not. So how can you stay on top of your own hydration battle? Remember that there are certain foods and drinks that are actually dehydrating (think of coffee, too much salt, sugar, soy and foods that are rich in calcium, fibre or fatty fish to name only a few) as there are some that are particularly rehydrating. Choose infusions over black tea and coffee, spike your salads with cucumbers and tomatoes and swap those salty crisps or super sugary desserts with a refreshing piece of watermelon. Keep also in mind that the more active you are, the more water your body will need. You know all of this you say but you simply forget to drink because you get too busy. Here is the plan: set yourself an hourly reminder to stock up on your re-hydrated, perky self with the refreshing liquid of life. Also, make it fun and replace the old boring H2O with herbal or zesty fruit infusions, pop a couple of frozen berries into your favourite water bottle or freshen things up with a wedge of invigorating, cleansing lemon.
Are you ready to go back to your most lively, spirited and energetic self? Of course you are, because life is so much more fun and worth living when you actually have the vitality to thrive instead of simply surviving. And if you feel a little overwhelmed as this might sound like a lot to take in and do, don’t be. Yes, each of these single steps to a more energised and radiant you is super simple. Something you knew anyway. Now it is time that you also put all of your theoretical knowledge into some very practical action steps. One at a time. Little progress is great as bit by bit and more zealous at a time will be adding on to your new powerful activated, fulfilled self!!!!