Let’s face it – it’s Summer, and most of us are burning the candles at both ends. Late nights, diets are off track, large quantities of alcohol are being consumed – coupled with general work and home life responsibilities, it’s no wonder we can be left feeling slightly lethargic some days.
Here I have mapped out 5 reasons why you might be low on energy and how to help.
PROBLEM: YOU EAT THE WRONG LUNCH
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?
While I believe so, some studies might beg to differ. Sure, it will set you up nicely and kick-start your metabolism – but would you believe that choosing the wrong lunch can leave you with a lack of energy, especially if you’re working late in the day, or plan to exercise after work.
If you crave an afternoon catnap, you are probably not getting enough protein midway through the 9-5. If you are sitting at a desk all day, a protein-rich lunch will keep your physical energy topped up through to the evening.
SOLUTION: MATCH YOUR PROTEIN AND CARBS
My best suggestion is this – keep breakfast light, mainly Protein and Fat based (unless you’ve gotten a morning workout in) and then make lunch a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs – with your protein serving the size of a deck of cards.
Easiest way to nail it? Chicken, avocado and quinoa salad – protein, healthy fats and carbs in one – giving you the energy you need to power on to the end of the day. Veggie? Go for a mixed bean and feta salad.
PROBLEM: YOU ARE NOT SLEEPING RIGHT
It’s not just a case of not getting enough sleep – you may not be getting the right sleep (that means solid blocks of uninterrupted sleep). Because it’s quite warm at night during the summer, we’re more inclined to sleep with the windows open. Unless you live in a nice and quiet Rural area, there can be quite a lot of activity going on outside the window, that sometimes it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep undisturbed.
While it is true that waking in the night is natural, just one night of sleeping for only four uninterrupted hours increases insulin resistance. This results in carb cravings the following day, lining you up nicely for that mid-afternoon low energy slump.
SOLUTION: MAKE MAGNESIUM YOUR BEST FRIEND
Magnesium can help your body play nicely with those circadian rhythms which can result in a night of blissful sleep.
Where is Magnesium found? Leadfy Greens. Your body needs 300mg a day and dark leafy greens but if you’re struggling to eat those Greens you can grab a daily 375mg magnesium supplement and you will smash your RDA. Sweet dreams.
PROBLEM: YOU ARE NOT ACTIVE ENOUGH
I am an advocate that energy creates energy – and it’s true. Think about it: don’t do enough exercise and your physical energy will plummet which, in turn, means you will have zero interest in doing any exercise.
SOLUTION: MOVE MORE
Yes you guessed it. Book in for a blast spin class after work or even stop by your gym for a quick 30 minute sessions before the day starts. Leave your gym kit by your bed, you will have your trainers tied before you are fully awake! Or if you’re really no a morning person, why not grab one of your co-workers and get a lunch time workout it.
4. PROBLEM: YOU LACK VITAMIN B12
While a vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to anaemia, that is worst-case scenario stuff; simply not hitting your RDA (2.4mg a day, according to Mayo Clinic) will zap your mental energy and your attention levels and cognitive function along with it.
SOLUTION: BOOST YOUR B12
Your best B12 booster to kiss goodbye to mental fatigue and low energy is to get it from animal products; I suggest upping your intake with shellfish or steak and eggs.
Not a meat eater? Milk, cheese and yoghurt contain plenty to pep you up, but some plant-based foods are fortified with the vitamin, too.
5. PROBLEM: YOU ARE TECH OBESSED
We’re all guilty of this one – Your mobile phone is always within reach; it is even under your pillow as you sleep. So far, so typical. But non-stop use of a device can do some serious damage to your mental energy levels.
We all know that constant use of a phone could lead to low energy fatigue, anxiety and depression.
SOLUTION: DO A DIGITAL DETOX
On day one, keep a diary of your digital usage (not on your phone, obviously) noting everytime you check your texts, emails or Asos order. Then go cold turkey at all the times your checking was non-urgent. Scale back how often you reach for your phone. Sign out of Apps or turn off notifications.
Limit your phone use before bed – I turn mine off 30 minutes before I want to go to sleep so I can read, which sets me right off.
At dinner, on the bus – keep your device hidden. Embrace your digital freedom safe in the knowledge you’re doing wonders for your mental energy (and wellbeing). At the end of the day, will you really miss out on that much?