Do you feel tired and lacking in energy all the time? Is your skin dull and your hair lank? If so, you need an energy boost in order to feel and look your best. Tania Jones discovers nine natural ways to give you a little more get-up-and-go
Drink lots of water
It's important to drink lots of water to sustain energy. You should aim to drink at least two litres of water a day. Dehydration can drastically reduce your energy levels. Save coffee for emergencies; caffeine raises your heart rate, making you more tired. Instead drink a cup of herbal tea instead. It's caffeine free and refreshing. To increase your mental alertness and wake you up, try adding a few slices of fresh ginger to a mug of hot water first thing in the morning before breakfast.
De-stress with yoga
"Yoga is an effective way of activating energy flow and enhancing your mood," says Yoga instructor Jan Maddern. Yoga is also great in releasing built-up tensions and stress that eat away at our energy stores. Jan recommends you try the Salute to the Sun — an ancient stretching routine consisting of 12 different moves. "It stretches and relaxes all your muscles, improves your breathing and increases energy as it works on the seven chakras (glands) of the body.
Exercise gets your circulation going, raises blood sugar levels and improves your mental alertness. It pumps blood faster to the brain making you more alert and less tired. It also helps you sleep better and so you feel well-rested in the mornings, kickstarts your metabolism, improves your overall body shape and triggers the release of 'feel good' endorphins. Try exercising for at least 30 minutes or more, three or four times a week and you'll soon feel and see the difference.
Another effective way of relaxing and releasing tension that uses up energy is a deep massage: It gets the blood moving faster around the body increasing the flow of energising oxygen and improves the lymphatic flow. If people are a little stressed or lethargic, a deep massage relaxes the muscles, eases tight tension in areas such as the shoulders, neck and back.
Alert your senses
Try aromatherapy oils to enhance your mood and invigorate yourself. Aromatherapist Kay Bell suggests adding two or three drops of rosemary oil into an oil burner and "let this wonderful energising aroma pervade the room," or put a couple of drops on a tissue to inhale whenever you're in need of perking up.
On sluggish mornings, try an energising shower gel with an enlivening blend of rosemary, geranium and thyme or in the evenings revive yourself with an aromatherapy bath using a similar blend.Had a long day at work but have to entertain guests in the evening? Why not try Ylang-Ylang, "It makes you feel lively, glowing and full of beans especially when you feel exhausted," says Kay. You can either place it in an oil burner or put a few drops in a bath.
Getting enough sleep is vital to keep you alert and awake the next day. Although it depends on the individual, generally speaking most women need between seven and eight hours sleep a night to emerge feeling vaguely human the next morning. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling too exhausted to do anything, makes you irritable and unable to concentrate throughout the day.
If you are not getting enough sleep at night, why not try an afternoon siesta? Take your shoes off, turn out the lights, take the phone off the hook and sleep. About half an hour of power-napping in the mid-afternoon is a great way to recharge your batteries and keep you going for the rest of the day.
According to health guru Leslie Kenton in Ten Steps to Energy: "When you don't get enough full-spectrum UV light entering your eyes you may experience big drops in levels of melatonin, a brain hormone which regulates you body clock and influences mood."
Fortunately, the Middle East with its unlimited supply of sunshine doesn't have this problem. Don your sunglasses, get out the deck chair and relax doing nothing in the sun for half an hour. You'll soon feel perked up and ready to go!
Energy-giving supplements are great for improving your energy levels: Ginseng -the Chinese have for centuries sworn by its energy giving properties. The natural herb is believed to strengthen the immune system and stimulates the adrenal glands to increase physical, mental and sexual energy.
Ginkgo Bilboa- made from the leaves of the bilboa tree, it improves blood circulation and increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.