Winter tiredness: How to maintain energy and immunity levels
As the days get shorter and darker, and the temperature drops outside, lots of us are left feeling like we want to hibernate on the sofa and begin to see our healthy routines slip away. It doesn’t help that the inevitable cold and flu season has started to gain traction and we can often find ourselves feeling low in energy, which is why it’s important to be prepared.
So how can you stay motivated, support your immunity and keep yourself healthy and energised throughout the winter season?
Fuelling your body with vitamins and minerals over the winter months is crucial in helping to maintain energy levels and vitality, as well as making sure our lifestyle habits are helping, not hindering, our immune systems. We have pulled together some tips to help you keep well and support your body’s natural defences this winter.
As obvious as it sounds, making sure you are prioritising healthy eating habits and including a variety of important nutrients into your diet will go a long way in supporting your immune system and keeping your energy levels where they need to be. Embrace hearty, healthy foods loaded with Vitamin C such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers and citrus fruits, and iron-rich foods, like red meats, lentils and green leafy vegetables. Also try slowing down on the sugars; often the winter months can entice us to reach for sugar laden comfort foods, which can be as bad for our energy levels as they are for our waistlines. Try swapping sugary foods for root veggies and soups that are just as comforting, but nutritious to boot!
Make a point to head outside and enjoy a bit of nature and fresh air, even if only for 10 minutes a day. It’s all too easy to submit to the winter fatigue by hibernating but sitting inside under artificial lights surrounded by technology all day isn’t doing your energy levels or overall health much good. Getting outside to exercise, even for a short time, can be hugely beneficial for both your body and mind, as well as enjoying a free dose of vitamin D.
As the nights draw in and the days feel shorter, it’s easy to let good habits slip but making sure you prioritise time to exercise and get the blood flowing is really important and will help you stay motivated and healthy. Along with the obvious physical benefits to exercise, physical activity also causes an increase in endorphin levels, the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemical, and can help you feel more self-confident and energised. Whatever your routine, try to find ways you can incorporate regular exercise into your week, whether it’s a quick HIIT session, a trip to the gym or an evening yoga session before bed. If you don’t fancy heading outdoors to exercise, there are a number of workout videos for all ages and fitness levels on YouTube, many of which don’t require any equipment.
During the day, we all lose water from our bodies, so it's important to stay hydrated. Making sure you’re getting your recommended daily water intake can prevent dehydration and help maintain energy. When you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, monitor your water intake day-by-day. You might discover that you are not drinking enough.
Stress tends to affect our energy and strength as our bodies trigger a ‘fight or flight’ mode, which can leave us more vulnerable to outside influences. While it may not be possible to completely remove stress from your life, there are things you can do to find calm, including scheduling in relaxation time and practicing mindfulness exercises. A quick YouTube browse for ‘guided meditation’ will give you plenty of free options if this is something you’d like to try out. There are also some meditation apps on the market such as Headspace, Calm and Aura that are great options if you want to set a reminder or build towards a certain goal. Keeping a journal can also help you stay grounded and assess how you are feeling in the moment.
So many of us talk about getting more sleep, but often it seems to elude us. A lack of sleep can make you tired and impact how energetic you feel throughout the day, so it’s important to try and get around 8 hours of sleep a night. Our top tips include winding down from your day by taking a long bath or reading a book, avoiding phone and other screens, and trying meditation to calm your mind before bedtime.
We’ve all been there, working throughout the night or running seemingly endless errands can leave us feeling like we’re tired all the time. But, if they become a regular occurrence, then it’s time to pause and acknowledge that you need to find more of a balance. One way to create balance in your life is to make more time in your diary for family or friends. Maintaining social connections can help in support of your general health and how you feel within. Grab a coffee with a friend or schedule a video call with family. Do more of what you love, and you will be amazed at how good you feel.