“Just like houseplants need water, our energy reserves need regular replenishing,” says psychologist Michelle Segar, PhD, associate director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls at the University of Michigan.
To the rescue: strategies that will keep you humming along—and, happily, don’t take much effort.
1. Let there be light
“Artificial or natural, light helps optimize the body’s wake-up processes,” says Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.
So roll up the shades and whack the curtains open to get your morning dose of Vitamin D. When natural sunlight hits the skin it triggers the body’s production of vitamin D.
It’s a crucial ingredient for overall health; protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles and improves brain function.
With all these benefits we’ve got to make morning sunshine one of our five a day!
Our top tip is to make it the very first thing you do – as soon as you leave the bed the next stop are the curtains. This way we can fill the rooms with light and let the body know we need to get the day started.
2. Warm yourself up
Most days are loooong days. Long days of travelling, working, meetings, decisions and more travelling. Most of it is sitting.
Our muscles and joints get tight and overall we just get a bit stiff and run the risk of pulling or straining something after any awkward movement during the day. It’s an issue everyone faces in this time of 9 to 5 seated office work and regular morning stretches are the solution.
When we sleep our whole body relaxes so stretching in the morning is the best idea and way to keep stiffness at bay.
Here’s a great 3 minute energising stretch routine to follow to help you loosen up:
Move 1 – Runner’s Stretch (30s)
Move 2 – Standing Side Stretch (30s)
Move 3 – Forward Hang (30s)
Move 4 – Low Lunge Arch (30s)
Move 5 – Seated Back Twist (30s)
Move 6 – Bound Angle (30s)
3. Eat more than a croissant
“If you have just a bagel and coffee, you get a quick stimulant from the caffeine and quick energy from the carbs—a recipe for a crash,” says Ashley Koff, RD, coauthor of Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged.
It’s always been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but what happens when you’re in a rush and can only manage a quick snack on the way to work? The root of this problem is time. Instead of grabbing a quick bite before going out, set yourself some time to prepare a solid breakfast when you get into your office.
4. Drink more than a coffee
Water. Water. Water.
This is how a doctor would respond if you asked what you should drink in the morning.
Here are just 2 facts we need to know:
Dehydration, even mild dehydration, has been shown to put stress on our cognitive functioning. For instance, dehydration is linked to a dip in concentration and short-term memory, as well as an increase in feelings of anxiety and irritability.
A pair of recent studies in the British journal of Nutrition found that people who were mildly dehydrated were much more likely to feel fatigued during moderate exercise and even when sedentary. Unsurprisingly, fatigue is a common dehydration symptom, and it’s said to be the No. 1 cause of midday fatigue.
So what should we do?
On average men need 3.7 litres and women need 2.7 litre of water. Grab yourself one of those trendy refillable bottles and set yourself a challenge to drink as much as possible throughout your day.
5. Take a deserved break
It’s 1pm. You’ve been working for 4 hours straight and everyone’s got their lunch on the desk and eating. Technically you’re on break but you’re still in the office, have your computer open and the biggest issue of all – you’re still seated.
Your back is calling out to you to get up, so how about using your break to help your physical health and mental health by getting out the office and taking in some fresh air?
Now, most places are busy during the lunch time rush and sitting alone in a cafe doesn’t sound like much better than the office. So mentally we’re away from work but physically we’re still sedentary.
How can we transform our lunch with fitness? How about join a Rabble lunchtime session?
They’re run by instructors that are on their lunch break for willing players who are also on their lunch break.
A Rabble lunchtime session brings a range of different people together to escape work for an hour of fun fitness games. The games are not too intense that you get back to the office a sweaty mess, huffing and puffing. They’re just the right mix of fun, social and exercise that once you get back to the office you’re energised, alert and ready to bang out the rest of the day without experiencing that usual after lunch slow down!