By Belle Hutt, Online Personal Trainer and Founder of Belle Hutt.
The mornings are getting darker and colder, and it can be hard enough to get out of bed on time for work, let alone exercise.
Now that hybrid working has become the norm for the majority of businesses, many workers are finding that they feel less refreshed when starting their day, as they don’t have the commute to wake them up. And a vitamin D deficiency can directly affect quality of sleep, causing daytime tiredness even if they’ve had a goodnight’s rest.
The fact that many people are now able to work from home more often is a blessing in many ways, improving accessibility and flexibility and creating a wider job pool for people to choose from.
However, it can be easy for people to slip into bad habits which increase tiredness. For example, people are going to sleep later, as they don’t have to be up as early, and it is tempting to work late as there is no commute home to provide a physical reminder of when work ends.
In fact, the average person working from home completes an extra six hours of unpaid overtime per week – and overworking promotes fatigue.
Here are some great tips to share with your teams to help them feel energised, more refreshed and ready to start their day – without taking a single sip of coffee!
1 – Replace coffee with short bursts of movement
I was diagnosed with narcolepsy at the age of 15 – a severe sleep condition that results in me feeling uncontrollably sleepy numerous times per day. Since my diagnosis, movement has been the most effective way to help me feel more awake.
Instead of reaching for coffee, a 15-minute brisk walk, a few rounds of jumping jacks or even a plank can significantly boost energy levels. Movement releases endorphins, which are known as the happy hormone. As a result, you’ll feel much more level headed, motivated, energised and most importantly – awake.
2 – Complete 30 minutes of exercise
Exercise has saved me from living a life of drowsiness, fatigue and exhaustion. The most important and most effective way to boost your energy levels long-term, is daily exercise.
Half an hour of exercise is approximately 3% of your day, and is a manageable starting point for most people. After all, we spend an average of almost two hours per day on social media.
Exercises such as HIIT (high intensity interval training), strength training and cardio boosts energy levels and improves mental health. For someone who doesn’t know where to start, I recommend setting yourself a task to wake up 30 minutes earlier each day for the next month and completing 20-30 minutes of exercise. This could be HIIT, cardio, or simply dancing around your living room – which can be fun!
3 – Never hit snooze
Research has shown that hitting snooze results people feel more tired. I suggest putting your phone or alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you must get out of bed to turn it off. Be realistic when setting your alarm, and don’t underestimate how important the first hour of your day is.
Instead of hitting snooze and spending the first 30 minutes of your day drifting in and out of restless sleep, get up, brush your teeth, get some fresh air and do some exercise. Before you know it, you’ll feel excited for the day ahead.
4 – Be mindful of your meal times
Don’t eat dinner too close to bedtime. Trying to fall asleep and actually stay asleep on a full stomach is not something that many people can do. I always recommend finishing your evening meal two hours before going to sleep, to allow your stomach time to properly digest your food.
And when snacking, fruit is a great option for staying awake, as it’s high in fructose (sugar). I suggest pairing fruit with a protein, such as a handful of almonds to slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, keeping your energy levels balanced and avoiding any sugar highs or lows.
5 – Surround yourself with positive people
If you have a negative mindset, no number of Red Bulls, black coffees or energy bars will solve this for you. Often, this kind of fatigue is ultimately down to a choice you are making to feel tired everyday with no intention of doing anything about it.
You would be surprised how important it is to surround yourself with positive people and uplifting souls. Always try to avoid negative responses. If someone asks you how you are, instead of replying with “I’m so tired” or “I’m totally exhausted”, change it to “I’m ready for a fabulous day!”. Be the light, the energy and the vibe you know that you want to be. If this requires a small amount of “fake it til you make it”, so be it. The more you say it, the more you’ll start to believe it and be it!