Is the cold winter weather making you feel blurgh? Are you left wondering how can I stop feeling so tired?
Winter brings reduced sunlight hours and freezing temperatures, leaving us feeling rather fatigued and less productive. This results in poor exercise levels, low mood and less things getting done. Hardly ideal, but as we live in the UK, winter is something that we have to get to grips with.
So, how can we boost energy levels this winter?
Reduce the temperature on that thermostat!
Typically in the winter we wack the thermostat up so that the house is nice and toasty. If you have a fire – yep that’s on too! Not forgetting the double whammy of the electric blanket AND hot water bottle. But having it too warm can cause you to become more sleepy, and soon you become a couch potato. Your house should actually be kept just above 18ºC – so as near to this as you feel comfortable (1).
Drinking cold water isn’t very appealing when it’s 2ºC outside! So your fluid intake is likely to already be a little on the low side. Add this to the effects of central heating and perhaps a snotty cold = dehydration. Even being slightly dehydrated will cause you to become sleepy and less productive. So start drinking more and keep note of how much you are having.
Gone are the days where you pine for a refreshing salads, instead you are ALL over the carbs: stews, pies, roast….yes…winter! All these foods are healthy in the right amounts, but portion size can be a problem. Carbohydrates do increase blood sugar levels, so large portions will cause more of spike, followed by a huge dip. Ever wondered why you are so sleepy after lunch? To combat this, check portions, keep your veggies up and be a mindful eater!
Exercise is a great energy booster, as we are often mentally but not physically tired. Generally, people who exercise, do so after or before work and unfortunately for the 9-5 worker, these are the coldest times of the day. Motivating yourself to exercise can be tough going at the best of times without it being -2ºC. So either you do not bother and undo all that good work over summer or invest in some appropriate clothing and just get on with it. Why not join a class so you feel more obligated to go? Or switch your routine up for an exercise DVD at home?
Get Enough Sleep!
Winter seems to leave itself open to later nights as social activities revolve around meals/pubs/bars/movies at home etc. This will lead to inadequate sleep. Just think if you go to bed at mid-night for 7 days in a row and get up at 7 this is almost an entire days worth of sleep you have missed! So take the odd power nap, have a lay-in at the weekend and try to get to bed on time!
This time of year, people start to bring in all the Christmas treats. These are typically high in sugar, which leads to energy crashes. Best switch sweets and chocolates to unsalted nuts/olives/fruit or vegetables.
The festive period is especially busy, and for most people, very stressful. Try and become as organised as possible to avoid the stress which leads to rushing around, low mood, poor sleep and fatigue. Little things like having the groceries delivered, planning meals so only 1 shop is involved, allocating time to buy Christmas presents and making some ‘you’ time each day can help.
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