by Sinead Bradbury - Performance Nutritionist SENr
Are you currently running on empty, prioritising deadlines, work commitments, eating on the go, not getting enough sleep and feeling wrecked? Well before summer 2022 fully kicks off, it’s time to pause, reset and get back to basics so you can have a store of energy to enjoy all that’s ahead in the coming months. Like Good Health, Energy needs to be earned. But once you have it, you will enjoy your day to day living so much more.
Here are some simple ways to improve energy if you are feeling depleted:
It might sound obvious but you need to start with sleep. Quality sleep is the primary method we have to build, restore and recharge. Top Proven Tip: Quit caffeine after 1pm and don’t use your phone 1 hour before bedtime.
- A Zero Commitment Weekend
Easier said than done and believe me I know! As someone who has three active children and a job that means I work evenings and weekends it is challenging to ‘stop’. However, this is where you need to set boundaries and focus on your energy reserves. I recently said “no” to everyone and everything for three full days. I stayed at home, barely cooked, napped and slept. I can tell you, I was a new woman! While it was difficult to “stay low”, it meant I gained mental and physical energy for my busy life. I thrive on my passion for sport, health and wellbeing. If I am coming from a place of depletion, my work and my family suffer. Saying ‘no’ means I have the energy for the most important people in my life.
Food and nourishing food is number 3. And that is for a reason. You will not be able to crave good food when you are in an exhaustive state. In my clinical experience working in Health and Nutrition for over 15 years and seeing hundreds of clients, I have seen when people are stressed they crave all the wrong foods. This is because our bodes release cortisol, known as the stress hormone and makes us crave sugary, salty and fatty foods. Our brains enter the ‘fight or flight’ response and thinks it needs quick fuel sources to combat whatever threat is causing the stress. It can be a vicious circle of stress, exhaustion and poor eating habits. The solution starts with sleep, clearing your calendar and resting and only then will you start to crave good nourishing food that will help restore your energy.
Foods That Support Energy:
- Colourful Foods – Fruits & Vegetables. In season now we have an abundant of nutrient dense vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, strawberries, apples, carrots, celery, beetroot, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower. Vary your diet to increase fibre and antioxidants with fresh summer salads to help improve health, wellbeing and energy
- B Vitamins – B Vitamins help your body converts glucose into ATP which releases energy from the food we eat. B vitamins makes it possible for your body to use energy and vital if you are feeling depleted. Think bananas, wholegrains like brown rice and oats, leafy green vegetables, eggs, salmon and yoghurt.
- Chia Seeds – One study found that eating chia seeds offered as much energy as carbohydrate drinks when training for an endurance event. 2 tbsp of chia seeds has 24g carbs and 4.8g of omega 3. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are perfect for adding to your morning cereal, yoghurts or salads.