Finally the dark days are over! Why not turn off the heating, slip off the heavy coat and put down that cup of coffee. Take a look outside and breathe the freshness of the cool air, warm to the arrival of yellow daffodils, and purify your system with water. It’s blessed spring time, time to lighten up and give those declining energy levels a buzz with some simple strategies.
Good morning sunshine
It’s beneficial to bounce out of bed early – even better if you do some exercise and stretches in the morning.
If you have an energy dip in the afternoon, have a power nap – optimum nap time is 20 minutes, so it’s best to set an alarm.
Sometimes it’s good to have a lie-in if you are sleep deprived, but there should be a balance in order to get the right amount of sleep. Too much sleep is just as harmful for the body as not getting enough. On days off, try not to stay in bed. Those who get up early feel more alert.
Before you go to sleep at night, try to lie down on your right hand side as advised by the Prophet (SAW). This has two benefits: the first is that it helps you wake up full of energy and the second is that it puts less weight on the heart.
Raise that heartbeat
Exercise is a natural mood booster – when you exercise, mood enhancing endorphins are released into your hormonal system, giving you the general feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
The recommended level of increased cardiovascular activity is 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week.
Tidying up can be a real energy booster so, if you can’t get to the gym, you’d better get spring cleaning.
Dopamine, endorphins and other chemicals in the brain kick into high gear if you go for a stroll in the sun. The effect can last for up to five hours.
Try to park your car further away from your destination, or take the steps instead of the lift as any opportunity to walk and raise your heartbeat will always be a blessing to your body.
Short frequent kick starts to your heartbeat will raise your metabolic rate which not only strengthens the heart but also helps you burn off fat quicker.
Nourish and hydrate yourself
Try taking a drink of cold water with a shot of lemon or lime first thing in the morning, instead of tea/coffee. All citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, grapefruit, mandarins – are packed with valuable nutrients, especially vitamin C.
Dehydration could be mistaken for hunger and a refreshing glass of water could be just the thing to give you the boost you need. It is a good idea to keep a bottle of water at hand all the time and sip it through the day.
Try drinking green tea as opposed to regular black tea as it boosts energy and weight loss. The caffeine is absorbed into your body differently to coffee or regular tea and it also has great energy-boosting antioxidants.
Change your eating habits so that breakfast is the biggest meal of the day, lunch is a medium-sized meal and dinner is the smallest meal of the day. That way, when you wake up in the morning, you will feel light and energetic rather than sluggish and heavy.
Eating too little is an obvious cause of fatigue, but eating the wrong foods can also be a problem. If you start your day with doughnuts, your blood sugar will peak and crash, leaving you sluggish.
Always eat a good breakfast. Try to include protein and complex carbohydrates, such as eggs, porridge and wholemeal toast. This combination creates sustained energy.
Go for fresh or dried fruits – apricots, apples, pears – for a natural and sustained energy-boost. Strawberries, bananas and nuts sprinkled on cereal or oats is an easy route.
If you feel you are running low on energy after any physical activity, try a handful of nuts or pumpkin seeds to give a quick and healthy boost of energy.
Try taking some natural aid supplements, such as Ginseng. This herb has been consumed by the Chinese for many centuries as an energy booster. It helps reduce your fatigue and also helps boost your mental alertness.
Stimulate your senses
Smell – Sniff peppermint, grapefruit or eucalyptus essential oils.
Touch – Take your shoes off and walk with bare feet if you can on grass or wet grass, for a feelgood energy release.
Sight – Let the light in as the sun rises. Open those curtains and windows.
Sound – The sound of nature has a positive effect to our energy and mood levels, turning our mindset to a much more relaxed and happier one.
Give your head a good massage. The circulation of blood in your head will immediately give you a dose of instant energy.
A quick splash of cold water after a hot shower not only wakes you up, it also tones up your skin.
Try to switch off, or keep at least half a meter between you and all electrical equipment during the night, e.g. TV, Computers, alarm clocks, Mobile phones. This is due to the long term effect of electromagnetic radiation being generated from these devices that slowly takes its toll on our biological system.
Visit your doctor
People think that depression is an emotional disorder, but it has physical symptoms too such as loss of appetite, headaches and fatigue. It affects the body just as much, leaving you at a constant low and feeling drained. If you feel lethargic for more than two weeks, it is wise to consult your GP.
Another cause could be anemia, or an under-active thyroid. The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.
Try new stuff!
Stand upside down. It might sound funny, but in addition to looking really cool, the headstand gives you many benefits. It circulates blood to your brain, forces your body to align and balance and will give you a chance to see if your floor needs sweeping. Besides, you get an awesome head rush once you come back up. The headstand is a much used position in Yoga.
While you’re at it, why not try some traditional cartwheels and forward rolls with the kids, to add the element of fun.
Implementing some of these tips in your daily life will, insha Allah, prove to be a positive investment for your bodies. Not only is this a revival for our physical, spiritual and mental selves, but it will insha Allah make us happier, healthier and definitely more energetic for ourselves and our families.