Feeling tired? Exhausted? Lacking concentration? Lacking motivation? Whilst energy drinks, coffee, and pharmaceuticals may offer a quick short-term solution and “hit” of energy, they are not doing you, your loved ones or the planet any favors.
If you’d like to get off the roller coaster ride of energy highs and lows, it might be a good idea to consider other options. Following is a number of lifestyle choices and rituals specifically targeted to help improve energy levels. I encourage you to challenge yourself this next month by making a conscious effort to implement these alternatives in to your everyday life, and take note of how you feel in four weeks’ time.
Invigorate your body and mind. Take a few minutes to give yourself an energizing massage. Focus on your breathing. Stretch and exercise your body. Movement is the key to a healthy body, mind and soul. Moisturize your skin with invigorating oils. Nourish yourself with a well balanced meal and drink an adequate amount of purified water each day. Radiate with life.
Give up stimulants such as coffee, sugar and mainstream chocolate for one month and make a conscious effort to become aware of the difference in how you feel. Yes, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and fatigue for a couple of days but once you push through these 2 – 4 days, you’ll come out the other end feeling so much better.
Choose herbal teas instead of coffee.
Choose protein rich foods such as nuts, seeds or hummus on carrots, cucumber and celery as snacks instead of chocolate and sweets.
I used to be a coffee-a-day girl… nothing serious… just the usual morning “pick me up” that I became dependent on. But one day I started to think that coffee had control of me and I detested the fact that I “needed” my coffee fix. So I decided to give it up. The first day was horrid. I lay in foetal position for 4 hours with a splitting headache that no painkiller could suppress. But then something magical happened after day-two, I no longer had that “need” for my morning kick starter and it was like a cloud had been lifted off my mind. More clarity. More energy. Myore morning motivation.
General dietary advice for sustained energy, health and wellbeing
• Graze rather than overeat. Large meals are harder to digest, place a strain on your organs and can result in indigestion and sleepiness.
• Eat a balanced, nutritious diet based on organic and biodynamic wholefoods: fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
• Choose a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables that are in season.
• Take either a heaped tablespoon of ground flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, or a tablespoon of blended seed oil. My favorite is Udo’s Omega 3:6:9 Oil Blend.
• Eat probiotic-rich foods to improve your digestive and immune health. eg, kefir
• Drink clean filtered tap water and herbal teas.
• AVOID alcohol, caffeine, smoking, processed foods and take-out food with added chemicals and processed ingredients; AVOID fat free, diet, low or no cholesterol packaged foods. AVOID cage eggs, dairy and meat that is not pasture fed. AVOID refined table salt, sugar and margarine. AVOID soft drinks, cordial, bottled juices and vitamin waters that are full of sugar and artificial additives.
Being unfit and overweight places a massive strain on the body, depleting your energy. There is so much research out there stating that regular exercise is one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques, that it relaxes tense muscles, helps you to sleep, improves blood flow to the brain and releases chemicals called endorphins in to your blood stream giving you a feeling of happiness. Oh, and the fact that a little exercise each day is wonderful for improving stamina and oxygenation of the body.
For the next month make the effort to move your body every day. Whether its a brisk 15 minute walk around the block, a half hour jog in the park, a yoga class, workout at the gym, swim at the beach, laps in the pool, or bicycle ride, do something to get your body moving and body sweating.
Personally I really start to feel it if I don’t exercise for a few weeks: I become more lazy and sleep in that little bit longer, I become brilliant at conjuring up reasons why I deserve my sleep ins, my mood drops, I lack inspiration and no longer have that spring in my step or vibrant energy that I love so much. The simple truth is that movement is the key to a healthy body, mind and soul. Your body loves to move. It was designed to move.
Aromatherapy is a true holistic approach to healing in that it uses oils extracted from plants and flowers to treat the physical, mental and spiritual body. Essential oils stimulate receptors in the nose which relay messages to the limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates emotions. The use of essential oils is nothing new, dating back thousands of years. The most beneficial part of aromatherapy, in my opinion, is that it can be incorporated into daily life via creams, massage oils, bath oils, compresses and for burning in an oil burner; and that blends can be tailor made to suit your requirements, for example, to uplift and invigorate.
Uplifting and Invigorating essential oils
• Lemon is reputed to have properties which can lift the spirits and overcome mental fatigue.
• Peppermint is renowned for enhancing concentration and stimulating circulation.
• Eucalyptus is renowned for restoring vitality and reviving spirits.
• Rosemary is associated with clearing thoughts and is renowned for promoting circulation of energy.
Start each morning by body brushing your dry skin to stimulate the lymphatic system. Shower, and then gently massage your body with a light layer of body oil scented with invigorating essential oils to help wake up your body and mind. If you’d prefer not to use a scented body moisturizer then add a few drops of invigorating essential oils to the shower and transform your morning cleanse into an uplifting experience to help wake you up.
If you work in an office, how about going for a walk in your lunch break in a nearby park, around the harbor, by the beach or simply around the block to help clear your mind and improve energy levels for a more productive afternoon. Use the opportunity to fill your lungs with fresh air. Find a quiet place and take a moment to focus on your breathing. With every inhale, breathe in energizing oxygen. With every exhale breathe out stress, fatigue and stale thoughts.
When I’m at work, I make the effort to take regular breaks from my computer by getting up and going for a walk around the garden in the sunshine, to help recharge and refresh my mind. It works!
If you’re one that feels drowsy and lacking concentration around 3pm, please don’t reach for the nearest chocolate bar or coffee cup. It may be due to the natural cycle (and dip) of your circadian rhythm and the associated anticipation of sleep. Try burning uplifting and invigorating essential oils in an oil burner around this time, or sip on a stimulating herbal tea such as gingko, peppermint and schisandra that are all renowned for their uplifting properties.
Most importantly, please remember to be kind, gentle and patient with yourself as you’re learning these new ways of thinking, doing and considering. Keep in mind that every moment in the day is a new opportunity to make a different choice – a choice to help improve your holistic health and happiness that not only benefits you, but your loved ones and the planet we all share.
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