Is the Christmas party season proving exhausting? Need an energy boost so you can face the world again? Take a look at our top 10 energy boosters to give you back your glow.
Are you exhausted and can't face another night out? Or are you having trouble keeping up through the Christmas party season? Read on for our guide to energy boosters that will counteract your tiredness and prepare you to face the world again.
1. Give yourself a pep talk. "Energy is about your state of mind and mental health, as much as about physical energy," says GP Dr Gill Jenkins. "So if you feel as though you are being dragged along reluctantly for a night out, you will feel tired. On the other hand, if you set out knowing that the night is on your terms, you'll feel more motivated to go. So before you go, think about what you would like to talk about, how long you will stay for if there is no one fun to chat to, and how you are going to return home."
2. Have a cold shower. Any kind of shower is refreshing, but standing under really cold water is a great way to jump-start your energy levels. Katharine Hepburn was a big fan of cold showers, finding them exhilarating, but if you don't fancy going the whole hog, turn down the temperature for the last couple of minutes. Even a final cold burst of a few seconds will give you an instant recharge.
3. Sniff citrus. If you're feeling mentally sluggish, tired or drained, the scent of oranges, lemons and limes will boost your alertness and mood, focusing your mind on your evening out. So use a citrus shower gel or body lotion in the bathroom, or cut up the fruit and take a big sniff for an energy jolt.
4. Sip a glass of juice. Half an hour before you need to leave for your night out, pour yourself a glass of juice or a sports drink. "The sugar in the drink will give you an injection of energy within 30 minutes of drinking it," says Dr Jenkins.
5. Breathe deeply. For an easy at-your-desk energy booster, take a few minutes to practise slowing your breathing, concentrating on inhaling and exhaling deeply through your nose. "Deep breathing slows the heart rate and quietens our thoughts," says yoga instructor Gillian Gee. "While you're practising your breathing, visualise inhaling energy and exhaling your stress, worries and tiredness. You will focus your mind for your night out, while lightening your mood so that you enjoy yourself more."
6. Tuck into a healthy snack. Eating a healthy snack containing a mixture of carbohydrates and protein will boost your blood sugar and sustain your energy levels for longer. "This sort of snack eaten in the afternoon or early evening will keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the evening and prevent you from feeling dizzy or faint," says registered nutritionist Sue Baic. "The added bonus is that it will slow down the absorption of alcohol you drink." Healthy choices include vegetable and bean soup with a bread roll, fruit or natural yoghurt with fruit and nuts, a bowl of cereal, oat cakes and peanut butter, or a fruit smoothie made with milk or yoghurt.
7. Lie upside down. For a perk-up that you can do lying down, try a gentle yoga inversion. You'll need to lie down on the floor with your bottom against the skirting board, stretching your legs up so that they are leaning against the wall. "The heart is lower than your feet in this pose, circulation is improved around your body," says Gillian. "Stay in this position for at least five minutes, and afterwards you will feel rejuvenated."
8. Do a stomach crunch. This gentle Pilates exercise helps to recirculate blood around the body, giving you a bit of a tonic. "Lie on your back on the floor with your legs together and extended, and your arms stretched out behind you," says Anne-Marie Thomas, teacher for the Pilates Foundation. "Inhale as you raise your arms up over your head. When your arms are above your shoulders, lift your head off the floor and draw in your stomach muscles. Continue to roll your upper body off the floor until you are sitting fully upright, and then bend over towards your feet, rounding your back as you do so. As you exhale, reverse the movement and lie back down on the floor, rolling your vertebrae down one by one. Repeat this a few times. Afterwards, you will feel more alive."
9. See red. A recent study found that simply looking a pop of the colour red boosted muscle speed and force. So if you need a burst of energy, study a red flower or put on a scarlet top or shoes, but only just before you are due to go out. Red enhances our physical reactions because it is seen as a danger cue - so experts think the effect is likely to be short-lived.
10. Have a cuppa. "The small amount of caffeine in a cup of tea or instant coffee will make you more alert, and it will perk you up if you are feeling exhausted," says Sue. "Drink it about 30 minutes before you go out for the best effect."