Eat Well – What we eat can have a big impact on our mood and energy levels.
Waking up to darker mornings can leave many people feeling down, and as a result craving carbohydrates and stodgy foods, but packing your diet with sufficient protein is much more beneficial to ensure your energy levels and mood are boosted.
Amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein help to increase feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, so opt for protein-rich foods such as turkey, beef, beans, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds.
Get Up and Out – Reduced exposure to daylight over the winter months is thought to play a crucial role in the winter blues and low energy levels, as it disrupts our circadian rhythms and reduces serotonin production.
Making sure you get outdoors each day, even for 15 minutes on your lunch break, ensuring your work area is light and airy and sitting near windows can help.
You could also consider investing in a light therapy box to mimic natural outdoor light or using a daylight alarm clock (which gradually wakes the user up by emulating sunrise) to help you get up in the mornings.
Exercise – Feeling down thanks to the clock change can leave you feeling low in energy, which might put you off being more active.
However, building regular exercise into your routine can pay dividends when it comes to both your mood and energy levels.
Studies have shown that aerobic exercise in particular, such as a HIIT workout, brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling can be particularly beneficial especially if done outdoors.
SAD sufferers are best avoiding exercise late in the evenings, however, as this may delay the on-set of melatonin production -our sleep hormone, which can interfere with circadian rhythms further.
Steer Clear of the Sweet Stuff – Try to steer clear of high sugar treats which will give you an initial energy burst followed by subsequent dips.
Keeping refined carbohydrates and simple sugars to a minimum will also help you to feel less bloated and sluggish.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep – A good night’s sleep is incredibly important and essential for rest and rejuvenation which will give you the energy to get up and go in the morning.
Our bodies work best when we keep our daily routine to a regular circadian rhythm and avoid stimulants late at night, which means switching off the TV and your phone – our best sleep is said to be between 10 pm and 6 am.
Drink Up – Dehydration can make us tired, lethargic and can trigger headaches, especially when in a central heated room all day with little fresh air.
Keeping hydrated can help your body work more efficiently, aid the transportation of nutrients and help maintain our energy levels.