What I am hearing more and more from parents these days is that they are tired of feeling tired. That the stresses and pressures of being a parent in these times are leaving them feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and burnt out, with little to no time or energy to focus on their own health.
Follow these simple steps to recharge your parenting batteries, boost energy levels and get back to firing on all cylinders as you navigate parenting and everything it has to throw at you!
EAT A NUTRIENT RICH DIET
The first step to boosting energy levels is to eat a nutrient rich diet. Get plenty of colour on your plate and variety in your meals and snacks. Eat regularly – skipping meals can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and lacking in energy. Eat protein at every meal and snack to keep you full between meals and give you a longer lasting supply of energy throughout the day. Continue to enjoy the foods you like, but ensure you are also consuming foods rich in nutrients to fuel your body for the consistent energy it need to function properly.
GIVE YOURSELF A VITAMIN BOOOST
Certain vitamins are particularly useful when it comes to boosting energy levels. Counteract fatigue and low energy levels by stocking up on these vitamins. Adding as many colours as possible to your plate is the best way to do this.
Wholegrains, cereals, almonds, liver, eggs, meat, poultry and fish.
Leafy greens, brown rice, beans, nuts, seeds, avocado, celery, apple and pineapple.
Nuts (especially almonds and peanuts) , seeds, olive oil, green leafy veg, wholegrains ( brown rice and wholemeal breads)
Red peppers, kiwi, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, strawberries, oranges and lemons.
DRINK UP & STAY HYDRATED
Did you know that water makes up approximately 60% and 75% of an adult and child’s body? Water is a critical yet often overlooked nutrient for health, with dehydration being one of the biggest causes of tiredness and low energy levels. It is really important that we keep our water levels topped out throughout the day if we want feel at our best. Aim for about 2 litres a day – I suggest app 200 ml water every hour for the first 10 hours of the day – it is an easier way of getting it in! Eating foods with a high water content (cucumber, celery, melons, tomatoes and spinach) is a great way of keeping fluid levels topped up.
MOVE IN A WAY YOU ENJOY
Yes, I know, the very last thing you want to do when your energy levels are low, is do a workout or take yourself off to the gym. I don’t even feel like doing that when my energy levels are through the roof! However, sticking to a regular movement (I am not fond of the word exercise) routine is one of the best things we can do to beat fatigue and protect our energy levels. Moving your body and getting your heart rate up helps produce those lovely feel-good hormones that trigger positive, happy feelings, and actually motivate us to move more. Whether it be walking, gardening, disco dancing in your kitchen or doing a yoga class, move your body regularly in a way that feels good for you.
FOLLOW THE SUN
Vitamin D otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a key role when it comes to our energy levels and mood. Our bodies make Vitamin D from sunlight, and a lack of it can make us feel lethargic, low and lacking in motivation - something many people struggle with over the winter months. Spring is in the air, the clocks are soon to go forward and finally the days are becoming longer and brighter, so get outside and get access to as much daylight and sunlight as you can to boost those energy levels.
FOCUS ON YOUR SLEEP
It’s obvious, right? If you aren’t sleeping well, your energy levels are low and life can feel exhausting. Sleep matters. It is our superpower and the one thing we should prioritise to improve not only our energy levels, but every aspect of our health and wellness. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours sleep per night can be impossible for most parents. However, there are things you can do to ensure that for the hours you are actually sleeping, you are getting the best possible quality sleep. Finding a way to wind down before bed-time, staying off electronic devices 1 hour before bed, a 10-minute guided meditation, sleeping in a cool (18 degrees) and dark room will help the quality of your sleep.
Clare Hegarty is a certified nutritionist and health coach, specialising in educating and supporting parents to help their kids eat better and grow up to be healthy and confident eaters.