Winter in Edmonton is beautiful but there’s no denying that it is also long, cold and dark. Although it seems like a good time to hibernate, doing so depletes our natural energy reserves and adversely affects our overall health. Still, the team at Naturally Inclined Health understands that finding achievable ways to maintain energy and safeguard your health in the winter can be tough, so here are 7 Tips to Replenish Your Energy throughout our most challenging season.
1. Get up and move! It seems counterintuitive, but regular exercise will increase energy levels and reduce lethargy. Bundle up and go for a walk, do a calisthenics routine, hop on your treadmill or roll out your yoga mat. The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. By breaking that down to about an hour a day, three days a week, you will do wonders for your energy and wellbeing.
2. Sleep between 7 and 9 hours per night. We like to teach the Goldilocks principle - not too little, not too much, just the right amount! It’s important to find that sweet spot because both insufficient and excessive sleep can cause lethargy and disturb energy reserves. If you struggle to get to bed on time, consider setting an automatic reminder for that gentle push towards a healthier habit.
3. Plan and eat regular healthy meals. Be sure to include balanced amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Consuming sufficient protein and fat in your diet will ensure that you stay full longer and are better prepared to resist mid-afternoon snack-attacks. Think of it as filling a gas tank with premium fuel. The more effectively you replenish your energy reserves, the better results for your body and mind.
4. Regulate your blood sugar levels. Nothing depletes energy faster than inconsistent blood sugars. Eating healthy, balanced meals will help avoid spikes or dips, but when you do choose to indulge in a sugary snack, have it with healthy fats such as nuts and seeds, full-fat yoghurt, avocado or chia seed pudding. This slows the process of gastric emptying and reduces the likelihood of a spike.
5. Use hot foods to keep warm. According to the Ayurveda system, swapping cold foods for hot during the winter months will pad energy reserves and keep you warm. Think of hearty soups and stews packed with nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots, potatoes or spinach. Welcoming spices into your cooking is a great way to start. Try adding ginger, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, or black pepper to your favourite recipes for some extra zip.
6. Practice alternate nostril breathing. Did you know that the sympathetic nervous system responsible for our fight-or-flight response will deplete energy when it’s chronically active? Re-establish balance with a quick breathing exercise. First set a timer for 5 minutes. Hold one nostril closed and slowly inhale a full, deep breath. Next switch, holding the other nostril closed and exhaling slowly. Through that same open nostril, inhale again. Then switch back and exhale through the other nostril. Repeat, focusing on rhythmic, deep breathing.
7. Dress for the energy you want. Selecting brightly coloured clothing can enhance your mood and set the tone for a cheerful day. By mindfully dressing in bright clothing to project your confidence and wellness, you can positively impact your emotional outlook and energy levels. Why not give it a try?
It may be our most challenging season, but we can safeguard our health and energy throughout the winter by supporting one another and practicing good habits such as those listed above. Speak with your Naturopathic Doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your energy levels or seasonal wellbeing. Otherwise, stay safe and warm this winter!