As the year comes to a close and the holidays are upon us, your energy levels and mood might not be ideal, especially given this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
If left unchecked, having low energy and a low mood can leave you feeling sad, lonely, and stressed. It can also prevent you from getting active and moving your body.
Here are three key tips suggested by Robert Kushner, MD, an obesity medicine specialist and nationally-acclaimed author of “Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You.”
1 – Schedule Movement Breaks
Being sedentary can lower your energy and motivation. Dr. Kushner recommends breaking up your work or relaxation times to include more movement. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just getting outside to walk the dog or go on a short nature stroll can help.
2 – Know Your Your Food Affects Your Mood
Eating not enough or too much food can both cause low energy. Too much sugar can give you a temporary energy high that ultimately leads to crashing, while heavy starches can make you feel bloated and sluggish. Try these tips to feel more energized:
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Eat regular healthy meals (no skipping).
- Plan for healthy snacks to help curb hunger.
- Choose high-fiber foods that contain lean protein and healthy fats.
3 – Get Better Sleep
Both the quality and duration of your sleep are important. Health experts recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establishing a healthy bedtime routine. To help prepare for a restful sleep before bedtime, Dr. Kushner recommends doing stretches, a warm bath, meditative breathing, quiet activities that promote relaxation, and avoiding food/drinks that are heavy, spicy, high in sugars, alcoholic, or caffeinated.
4 – Do More Activities that Relax or Invigorate You
You can boost your mood by finding activities that relax or invigorate you. Dr. Kushner calls these “flow activities” because they are enjoyable and you can get lost in them. Some examples may include knitting, walking in nature, coloring, reading, or woodworking.