7 ways to release your natural energy in 2022
So how are those energy levels looking as we kick off 2022? We don’t know about you but, with the kerfuffle and the excesses of Christmas combined with the cold, grey weather, it’s easy to feel like hibernating on the sofa rather than getting back on track with our health routines. To make matters harder, cold and flu season has started to gain traction and all too often we find ourselves lacking in energy, which is why it’s important to be prepared.
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. January is, of course, the best time for a reset and we will be doing that by adopting all the best natural ways to up our mental and physical energy levels, so that we can have a kick-ass new beginning to the new year – which will also take us through the whole year on a natural high. From making sure we get enough iron to increasing hydration and sleeping better, here are our top 7 ways to enhance your natural energy in 2022.
1 Up your protein
We all know that carbs are energy food (but that you should steer clear of unrefined varieties that cause blood sugar spikes, yes?). But that’s not the only food group to focus on – did you know that not eating enough protein can affect your energy levels too? A study from the Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Metabolic Science at Cambridge University researched how nutrients influence and stimulate wakefulness and concluded that proteins perk us up when energy levels start to dip. Protein-rich foods such as tofu, beans, lentils and nuts boost your metabolism and take more time to break down that carbs, so fuel you for longer.
Alcohol dehydrates us, so getting on board with Dry January is an easy way to get an energy boost, amid its myriad health benefits. And if your water consumption has been hampered by an over zealous love for a large Bailey’s or a dry sherry over Christmas, you need to up the eau this January to help with concentration and focus now we’re all back to the grind of work. And if you’re back in the gym (if so, here’s a pat on the back for you), a study of young women in the Journal of Nutrition found that fluid loss after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. Mild dehydration is thought to adversely affect physical and mental performance because of an increase in body temperature.
3 Sleep better
You’ll see that we said sleep better, not sleep more. There’s nowt more frustrating than tossing and turning all night, so to ensure you have better quality sleep and feel truly energised during the day, avoid napping during the day, Other ways to work on your sleep hygiene include keeping a regular bedtime routine (January in a pandemic being a marvellous time to start when none of us are exactly out hitting the clubs til the wee small hours) and ditching Instagram scrolling in favour of book reading. Also, buy a new pillow – they only last a couple of years before they’re past their best – and avoid drinking coffee after 3pm. Caffeine stays in the system for up to 6 hours and increases cortisol in the body which helps us fight stress, but isn’t exactly the most helpful of hormones when it comes to encouraging a deep slumber.
4 Eat more B vitamins
B vitamins are crucial for energy and mood and a biochemical process known as methylation in the body that we didn’t concentrate enough in chemistry class to understand the full complexities of – but let’s just say that, among its many crucial jobs, it produces energy. B vitamins – especially B12 – are methyl donors that aid in this process. Excellent sources are peanuts, milk, eggs, soya, wheatgerm, bananas and oats. And it’s a perfect reason to spread lashings of B-vit loaded Marmite on your (wholegrain) toast of a morning.
5 And breathe
Our old friend cortisol again – if our body is always in fight or flight mode, we are never going to feel well energised, so learning how to relax and nip stress in the bud is crucial for boosting brain function and avoiding fatigue. Book-end your day mindfully, whether that is with meditation, a quick yoga session or deep breathing exercises – try the 4,7, 8 method. Close your lips and inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound for a count of eight. (and repeat it three times). Multitask by doing this in the shower or bath if you’re pushed for time.
6 Exercise more
We don’t really need any more reasons as to why this is a good idea, but instead of ‘it might’ or ‘it could’ or any other form of ‘maybe’, exercising pretty much comes with a guarantee to boost your mental energy and put you in a better mood, thanks to an increase of the chemical dopamine in your brain. Working out circulates oxygen through your system and gives your cells more energy to burn. It also helps you rest better. A study of 6,800 people in the Psychological Bulletin proved that exercise improves energy levels – 90% of those with a usually sedentary lifestyle reported improvements in previous fatigue once they started a regular fitness programme.
7 Take an iron-rich supplement
Minerals don’t come more vital for energising our mind and body than iron does. It’s vital, but our bodies don’t produce it on their own, and we often don’t get enough of it from our food – despite all those leafy greens – because certain other foods, like cereals and dairy products (not to mention tannins from tea and red wine), inhibit its absorption. Iron supports a healthy immune system and helps to release natural energy from food, so take Spatone®, a natural iron-rich water supplement from Snowdonia, to help release your natural energy this year. The convenient to use, daily-dose sachets are gentle on the stomach and easily absorbed.
Spatone® is the UK’s number one natural iron brand*. Available in original or apple flavour with added vitamin C to aid iron absorption. Spatone® is vegan friendly and suitable for all adults, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, and children over the age of 2. For more information on Spatone®, click here.
And you can enter this fantastic Spatone® competition – closing date is 4 February 2020.