How to feel less lethargic in lockdown

Due to the coronavirus lockdown, we’re moving a lot less – but it seems we are even more exhausted than ever.

There are a number of different reasons why lockdown could be draining your energy – from anxiety disrupting normal routines, to stress-related insomnia keeping you up at night. 

Of course, if more serious underlying issues – such as anxiety – are causing you to feel persistently tired, it’s important to contact your GP.

But, for those simply looking for an energy pick-me-up, there are a whole host of things you can try to prevent grogginess.

Drink water

Nutritionist Jenna Hope says keeping yourself hydrated will ensure the body can maintain its daily functions. In other words, it won’t have to work harder to keep everything in order (which is likely to tire you out).

Jenna tells‘Water plays a key role in transporting nutrients around the body and removing waste products. It’s easy to forget to drink when you’re at home all day but it’s so important as dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches poor concentration and irritability.’

Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium

Feeling sluggish can sometimes indicate a deficiency in magnesium.

Jenna says: ‘This nutrient is a co-enzyme to over 300 processes within the body, including energy metabolism. 

‘Lockdown is a stressful period and magnesium plays a key role in supporting stress demands within the body.’

She recommends loading up on magnesium-rich foods, such green leafy vegetables, nuts (especially almonds), seeds, bananas, fish and cocoa.

Load up on protein

Protein is essential for maintaining energy throughout the day – that’s why it’s so popular with athletes and gym-goers. This is also because protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in the body – offering a longer-lasting energy source.

Jenna adds: ‘Protein will help stabilise your blood sugar levels throughout the day and keep you fuller to prevent those energy dips.’

Ditch the energy-sapping foods

Health Coach Suzy Glaskie says it’s good to steer clear of refined carbs and sugar-heavy processed foods.

She says: ‘Instead, fill your plate with a colourful array of veg along with quality protein and healthy fats (like oily fish, eggs, avocado, nuts and seeds) with every meal. 

‘They’ll steady your blood sugar which will help you avoid those crashes you’ve probably got used to having throughout the day.’

Otherwise you might have spurts of energy, brought on by sugar, alongside real dips. It’s better to keep things more steady.

Sana Khan, nutrition consultant and founder of Avicenna Wellbeing, says it’s important to be aware of these blood sugar levels and how they can impact our bodies.

She says: ‘Eat small portioned meals more often to ensure blood sugar levels are stable thus keeping energy levels stable. 

‘By having a large glutinous pasta meal will cause an insulin spike followed by a blood sugar level drop – and this is when you will feel tired, possibly sleepy and low mood.’

Get outside

Nature is a great energy booster – and there’s science to prove it.

A study carried out at the University of Rochester, found that 90% of people experience increased energy by participating in outdoor activities.

Suzy says that getting that all-important time outside will have a positive impact on our energy levels.

She adds: ‘However busy you are, get yourself outside for a regular break and dose of sunlight, which is a natural mood-lifter. 

‘Even a ten-minute walk will leave you feeling invigorated, clear-headed and with more energy to power through your things-to-do-list.’

Just make sure to stick to social distancing guidelines. Spend time in your garden and only leave the house for exercise or essential needs.

Prioritise your sleep

It sounds simple but making sure you have enough, high-quality sleep will help to reduce feelings of fatigue.

Be sure to count the time that’s actually spent sleeping – rather than in bed (when you’re most likely on your phone or watching Netflix).

Suzy says: ‘Be strict about going to bed on time to get those precious eight hours and see how much more energised and alert you feel.’

Keep a routine

For those who have sadly lost their jobs or been placed on furlough, it can be hard to find the motivation to get up – but doing so and having a structure to your day will help enormously.

Even if it’s simple things – like scheduling a time for a daily walk, lunch or an activity – this familiarity will help your body get back into a consistent sleeping and waking routine.

Will Kennard, co-founder of Odhealth says: ‘Having meaning and purpose will really help with reducing lethargy. 

‘Set a daily routine where you get up at the same time, eat at the same time and allocate work time and breaks, so that your routine resembles your normal work routine as much as possible.’

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