A new survey by wellness brand Healthspan found that nearly half of us are more tired during the winter months – and 33 per cent of us lose all motivation and blame the amount of worry on our plates as the biggest energy zapper.
Being worried, stressed and depressed inevitably takes its toll on our physical and psychological well-being and can make us feel lethargic with little lust for life.
The survey results show just over 6 per cent in the survey describe their energy levels as ‘excellent’, a little over 16 per cent say theirs are ‘poor’ but more worrying nearly a quarter say ‘nothing’ can boost theirs.
Adopting new wellness habits may be the key to re-energising ourselves and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Use the power of your mind
Chartered Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll says, ‘If you continuously tell yourself how horrible the weather is, chances are it will feel grim so try and change your “internal monologue” about it and cherish the good bits.’ We can waste our energy on trying to change things we are powerless to control says Dr Arroll adding: ’There are many things in the world we cannot change (such as the pandemic) but we do have control over our emotional responses.’ She also suggests giving ourselves something of a psychological ice blast by embracing the cold saying, ‘In winter we tend to live in over-heated rooms that can lead to daytime sleepiness so wrap up and take a brisk walk in the cold air. The exercise coupled with that blast of cold air should make you feel invigorated and ready to power through the rest of the day.’
Fill up on fatigue-fighting fuel
We all know diet matters, eating fruits and vegetables and certain vitamins and minerals play a key part in energy production. B vitamins (rich sources include eggs, cheese, milk, lean meat, fish and shellfish and dark green vegetables) are considered the ‘energy vitamins’ because they play such a significant role in how the body converts food into energy. Another is ubiquinol, a type of Coenzyme Q10 crucial for energy production dubbed ‘Nature’s spark plug’ and the ‘Get up and go’ nutrient which is found in oily fish, olive oil, spinach, avocado, lentils and pulses. If you don’t think you are getting enough from your diet or you are over 50 (when it becomes harder to absorb from food) then supplement with it try Healthspan Ubiquinol Max, containing B vitamins £35.95 to help restore flagging energy levels.
Be busy doing something…
Interestingly in the survey over 51% of people polled say they often have one day of the week where they ‘spend a large amount of time lazing around not particularly doing anything’ but they acknowledge this enforced rest actually makes them less, not more, energised and exercise is actually the thing (along with a positive attitude) that supplies them with more get up and go. Unsurprising perhaps, when we know that the benefits of
exercise are seemingly endless and that as well as helping to keep you physically fitter and reduce your risk of developing serious conditions like heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes it should also help to clear your mind, ‘blow away the cobwebs’ and give you the necessary ‘headspace’ to think through worries. The government recommendations are for 30 minutes exercise a day but evidence shows something as simple as going for a 10 minute walk when you are tired is a better energy pick-me-up than eating a sugary snack.
Use mood-altering strategies
Take vitamin D known as the ‘happy hormone’ (serotonin) responsible for balancing our mood (many antidepressants work by increasing serotonin levels). It is thought people suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a particularly severe kind of ‘winter depression’ have particularly low levels of vitamin D and find it harder to regulate serotonin levels. Natural ways we can all boost serotonin include spending more time outdoors in natural light, taking a daily vitamin D supplement and exercising regularly to stimulate serotonin production whilst regulating potentially energy-depleting stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
Get your buzz from people
Overwhelmingly, in the Healthspan survey the biggest source of energy comes from being around family. It is a reminder that if anything good can come out of a global pandemic it is surely the sense that this has made us value just how much we need other people. The lockdowns meant we were all, quite literally, isolated from the very people we care about for months, possibly years. As we slowly, and carefully, make our way back to some kind of semblance of normality we realise just how much joy and laughter we can experience by being around others and how energised we tend to be by them. Get out there in the fresh air with folk who make you feel good – go to the park, the countryside, by the sea – walking and talking is free and one of life’s great pleasures and energisers.