Festive music is playing everywhere, workplace whiteboards have disappeared behind tinsel, and your diary is bursting at the seams. It’s official: Christmas is almost here.
With all the rushing around, it’s common to find your energy levels flagging at this time of year. Christmas parties tempt us with indulgent treats, while cooler temperatures and gloomy skies hinder any good intentions for invigorating wintry walks and fresh air. So, what can you do to give yourself a natural energy boost?
While Christmas indulgences might seem like a tempting pick-me-up, here are five natural ways to help you feel your best all the way through the advent calendar and into the new year.
1. Healthy eating for body and mind
Festive food can bring people together through social gathering and brings a sense of happiness, pleasure, nostalgia. It may not always be the healthiest, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid it completely if you want to be healthy. That said, feeling overly full and eating sugary treats can often lead to an energy slump later on, so pay attention to how you feel as you eat. Sample or share dishes without feeling obliged to clear your plate every time. Try to avoid eating too much late in the evening, as this can affect the quality of your sleep.
Healthy, wholesome food is a fantastic way to give your energy levels a natural lift. Keep nourishing snacks to hand to avoid foods with too much added sugar. A nutrient-rich diet can also support your immune system including choosing iron-rich foods such as meat, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, pulses and dried fruit.
2. Be sociable to nurture your emotional wellbeing
Social connections are thought to be integral to our happiness, health and wellbeing. Laughing, talking and sharing experiences with others is relaxing and can reverse the effects of a stressful day. Take advantage of the opportunity to boost your emotional energy through time with family and friends.
But remember, the opposite can also be true: too many social events can be draining. If you feel your social energy is taking a hit, avoid overbooking yourself and make time to rest to recharge your batteries.
3. Maintain your energy levels with regular exercise
Being physically active for 30 minutes on most days offers a multitude of health benefits, including pumping up your energy levels. Outdoor activities such as walking, cycling and running will blow the cobwebs away and get the blood pumping. Alternatively, you might prefer using your active time to enjoy a little solitude. A lunchtime yoga class will revitalise your mind, body and soul to beat the afternoon slump.When your diary is full and the weather is bleak, it’s easy to forego your regular workout routine, but protecting time for a quick walk or getting involved with a local sports club can help keep your energy levels high.
4.Drink plenty –of water!
It’s important to make sure you stay hydrated. Forgetting to drink enough when you’re busy means that over time the body can get dehydrated. Aim to drink regularly throughout the day to help mental and physical function. About 2 litres of water each day from all sources is recommended. Try to avoid too many caffeinated and sugary drinks –especially those Christmas-flavoured coffees!
A fun way to reinvigorate a glass of water is with healthy ice cubes. For a shot of zesty goodness, try blending some ginger, lemon juice and water and freeze it an ice cube tray. Experiment with other flavours such as mint, green tea or even whole berries.
5. Be mindful and think positive thoughts
If you tend to feel anxious or stressed out at this time of year, you might experience a dip in energy as your body triggers ‘fight or flight’ mode, burning ‘nervous energy’ as you try to bypass daily pressures.
One way to manage these feelings is to practice mindfulness. This is about being present in the moment, so you can start to notice when the cycle of anxiety begins and gradually learn how to reframe and reset your mindset. Think about which activities leave you feeling positive and uplifted, and those that leave you feeling depleted. Once you’re aware of these mood-boosters and mood-drainers, you can focus your attention accordingly. Of course, it’s a busy time, and there will be many things that you have to do that deplete your resources. But mindfulness can help you take a breath, feel calm and know when you need to make time to recharge your batteries.
Daily mindfulness, yoga or meditation can improve brain function, raise energy levels and set you on a path to positive thinking.
Whatever you have planned this Christmas, try mixing and matching these strategies to replenish your natural energy, so you can enjoy the celebrations and feel good in both mind and body throughout the festive season and into the new year.