Always seem to wake feeling as if you could sleep for several more hours? Reach just before midway through the afternoon and feel as if a monster of fatigue is riding on your shoulders, urging you to take a nap – right there at your desk? Rest assured, you’re not alone. Even in lockdown, these days we live busy, busy lives. It’s only natural that we’ll occasionally run out of steam and find ourselves reaching for a caffeine pick-me-up (don’t!) or a sugary snack (pass on the biscuits, dried fruit is what you need!), or both.
However, constantly feeling as if you need more fuel to keep going with even the simplest of tasks is not natural, and if it continues for too long should be checked by your GP as it could signal an underlying condition.
Otherwise, here are some natural and healthy ways to keep on keeping on:
Powerful and ‘hot’ in health circles, adaptogens are whole body helpers, affording a general support in battling stress, anxiety, and fatigue. You’ll have heard of ashwagandha and ginseng, but other adaptogens beneficial for energy levels include astragalus and cordyceps. Goji berries and Schisandra berries are also useful for stamina.
Hydration – Beyond Water
The go-to remedy when feeling tired is to drink water, dehydration being one cause of sudden fatigue. And water is indeed king; but so too are vegetable juices, as there’s the added benefit of vitamins and minerals and fibre. If you’d rather not, then try coconut water the next time you complete some pre- or post-work cardio, as it offers electrolytes that might have been lost during that intensive sweat. As for coffee and black tea – opt instead for green tea or, even better because it’s caffeine-free, Rooibos tea.
When it comes to carbs, there’s a reason the white and the processed are shunned: they cause a blood sugar peak and crash. Wholegrain, low-glycaemic carbs, on the other hand, release energy slowly, sustaining you through the day. Kinder carbohydrates to stock your cupboards with include brown rice, nuts, oats, pulses, and sweet potatoes.
Chia Seeds and Counting Sheep
Chia seeds long pre-dated recent Instagram-worthy plant-based culinary explorations: the ancient Aztecs and Mayans ate chia seeds for stamina and alertness during periods of war. Now, they are known to be a fantastic source of plant Omega-3s and -6s, as well as protein. Combatting inflammation, they are thought to produce better quality sleep and be of benefit to the brain, also.
Vitamin Bs Equal ZZZs
Low energy, of course, could be a sign of deficiency. The most common is iron, but after iron comes vitamin B12. Vegetarians can find this essential vitamin in dairy and eggs, but vegans will have to take a balanced supplement. A B12 deficiency has been thought to cause insomnia, due to the vitamin’s close interaction with melatonin production.
Stamina and general energy are essentially signs of one’s fitness. If a tough workout absolutely wipes you out, though, then building up to better heart- and lung-healthy levels of duration is the first step to take. You don’t have to run a half marathon or become a living room Spinning expert or race like an Olympic swimmer – you’ll know when your endeavours are working because it will quite simply become easier and you’ll find you can go and go and go like a Duracell bunny. Your sleep will be deeper and of better quality; and the mirror might be kinder, too. A win-win.
When you need to keep going for afternoon meetings, peppermint essential oil is the way to go (try your pulse points: inner wrist, behind the ears). If it’s the evening after work has finished, then the more traditional lavender should ease you into some peaceful shuteye, re-energising you for the following day, when the battle to keep your eyes open starts all over again (yet, hopefully an easier task the longer these tips are implemented!).