Struggling to get up when it’s dismally dark outside? Learn how to cut back on coffee and avoid taking a hit to your energy levels during the winter months
If you’re growing tired of constant fatigue, but don’t want to harm your health with caffeinated products, then look no further. With our seven-step guide, you’ll be jumping out of bed even before the nauseating sound of your alarm.
“Starting your day with a yoga practice means you’re setting yourself up for cultivating breath awareness,” explains Cheryl Macdonald, founder of Yoga Bellies (yogabellies.co.uk). “You’ll be starting your day off with an understanding of how you want to feel. With this, you’ll be more likely to make healthy choices in your eating, sleeping and thinking.” Pilates expert Lottie Murphy (lottiemurphy.com) agrees. “Sit on the end of your bed or on the floor (with crossed legs if comfortable) and reach your hands around your ribcage,” she suggests. “Inhale through your nose and feel the breath go into your ribs, expanding them out to the side. Exhale gently through your nose and feel your ribs narrowing and your chest soften.”
“Korean ginseng can be consumed as a tea or in supplement form,” nutritionist Matt Durkin informs us (simplysupplements.co.uk). “A multitude of research has shown that it increases mental performance, mood and energy levels, while also reducing stress and fatigue. As with all supplements, it’s recommended you speak to a nutritionist or dietitian to ensure you’re being recommended something tailored to you and your particular needs.”
“I’m a firm believer in gratitude and positive affirmations – counting your blessings instead of your flaws,” says Camille Knowles, author and wellness entrepreneur (thebeautyofeczema.com). “We need to tune our minds into paying more attention to things, experiences, people, places, moments and memories that bring us joy. Every morning I start my day by thinking about the things I’m grateful for, which brings about a constructive change in my attitude. I also use positive affirmations to help me visualise what I want to achieve that day, as well as focus on my longer-term goals. It really does help put that extra spring in my step.”
“Our willpower is strongest early on and gradually reduces throughout the day, so the morning is an ideal time to get moving,” explains Stu King of Beezee Bodies (beezeebodies.co.uk). “Exercise is an instant mood boost. It releases endorphins and makes you feel great. Combining that with some fresh air means you’re on to a real winner. It can also have an impact on what you eat throughout the day. Try moving your alarm across the room, so you can’t reach it from the warmth of your bed. Before you go to sleep, set up the kit that you need so that you have a visual trigger and low effort to get your gear on. Your goal isn’t to exercise, it’s just to get into, your workout wear. If you work out, too, that’s a bonus, but it’s usually the initial jump out of bed that’s the hardest, rather than the activity itself.”
Many of us are guilty of flicking the switch on the kettle before we actually sip any water. With your first drink of the day being heavily caffeinated, how can you expect to be hydrated? “When you’re parched and your body craves liquids, it cannot function sufficiently,” explains Sarah Green, aesthetic nurse (thegreenroomuk.co.uk). “Up to 60 percent of the human body is made of water, which explains why your body doesn’t work properly when you’re dehydrated. Mild dehydration can cause lethargy and tiredness, so reach for the H2O first thing and see your energy levels soar.”
It’s a common misconception that our morning meal should consist of carb-rich, sweet foods. This idea has been sold to us by cereal brands and corporate giants, that rely on our investment in their beloved products. “Avoid large portions of carbohydrates early on in the day – especially sugar,” advises Nick Davies, psychotherapist and sports mind performance coach (ndsp.co.uk). “An hour or so after consuming such foods you’ll experience a spike in energy levels, inevitably followed by a consequential crash. To prevent such fatigue, a healthy portion of protein and some good fats are perfect for the early hours.” No wonder 2018 saw such a hype around poached eggs and avocado! If you’re set on devouring a sugary treat in the morning, make sure it’s natural. Why not try Unrooted’s (unrootedenergy.com) selection of no caffeine, no added sugar wake-up drinks?
Ditching the comforting arm of a caffeinated drink to ensure you’re alert on your morning commute can be tough. However, trying to understand why you may find the start of the day challenging in the first place, rather than attributing it to the fact you’re ’just not a morning person’, is a step in the right direction. Are your sleeping habits enabling you to make the absolute most of your time under the duvet? It’s vital to ditch all digital devices an hour before you go to bed – try reading a compelling novel instead. “Sleeping in a room with a good flow of clean air can help you to sleep better and wake up smarter,” claims Jo Foster, founder of beauty and wellness brand Kiss the Moon (kissthemoon.com). Open a window – let the fresh air in and the stale air out. “Having trouble sleeping may also be caused by high stress levels,” explains Laura Little, learning and development manager at CABA, (caba.org.uk). “Try relaxing before going to bed – have a warm bath and drink some chamomile tea. Avoid taking daytime naps or falling asleep in front of the TV in the evening, as snoozing can make it harder for you to nod off properly at bedtime.”