There’s nothing like the start of a new year that stirs up motivation and goal-making.
Even if you’re not one to make New Year’s resolutions, you might find that the colder weather and darker days lead to introspection and self-reflection this time of year. Whatever it is that you hope to accomplish in 2019 depends on your good health and having enough energy. Start the year off right with some healthy habits to boost your energy levels.
Skipping meals or waiting too long between meals can cause energy levels to dip. Remember that food fuels your brain and your body, so erratic eating patterns can take a toll.
Plan to eat three balanced meals per day and include a healthy snack in between if you will be going more than four to five hours from one meal to the next. Keep in mind that diets that require excessive food restriction can decrease your energy levels.
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that can make you feel more alert and focused, but it doesn’t actually give you energy in the same way that food energizes. After drinking coffee, caffeine enters the blood stream and the brain, giving the perception of increased energy. However, the body can become dependent on caffeine, especially when consumed regularly in larger doses, leading to withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and headaches that can last a few days.
Drinking tea, which is lower in caffeine than coffee, can help with cutting back on the caffeine without the unpleasant side effects.
If you are struggling with low energy levels, limit or avoid alcohol. While some people notice that they may fall asleep easier after having a cocktail or two, consuming alcohol actually worsens the quality of sleep and prevents the body from entering REM sleep, which is crucial for physical renewal and hormone production.
With the popularity of the Keto diet and other low-carb diets for weight loss, carbohydrates have unfairly gotten a bad rap.
Including nutrient-dense carbohydrates such as beans, fruit, whole grains, and vegetables like carrots and squash can help keep you energized and satisfied. Not only are these foods rich in fiber, but they contain essential nutrients to keep you on the go. Plan meals that contain carbs and protein for long-term, sustainable energy.
If you often feel tired or sleepy it could be that you’re not keeping your body hydrated. It’s not sports beverages or energy drinks that you are lacking, but water. Water is a basic metabolic requirement and is used to make energy on a cellular level in our bodies.
If you don’t drink enough water or lack natural thirst signals, you may benefit from using a fluid reminder application on your phone. Keep a large water bottle in plain sight as a reminder to sip throughout the day.
Stress relief and relaxation
Mental and emotional stress could be zapping your energy. Life can get hectic and even our closest relationships can take a toll on our well-being. If the pressure is getting to you, stress relief should be a part of your energy boosting plan. From relaxation techniques like meditation and tai chi to mental health counseling and yoga, working to achieve better balance while reducing stress hormones can have a positive impact.
If you are looking to embrace the new year full of determination, focus on maximizing your energy levels. By taking a holistic approach that addresses your nutrition, hydration, sleep and stress reduction you will be better able to take on what 2019 has to offer.