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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

We all have those low-energy days and moments when we feel like we just don’t have the juice to do whatever it is that’s on the agenda.


And we’re not only talking about the 3:00 slump.


It happens to the best of us. Luckily, there are ways to kick-start your system and clear your mind – naturally.


Cs instead of ZZZZs


If you’re one of those people who has a hard time getting going in the morning, try a cold shower. That will not only wake you up, but there are also some amazing health benefits:


Brown fat is the good body fat, but some of us carry around a bit more than we’d like to of unhealthy white fat, mostly around our waists, lower backs, necks, and thighs. This fat is hard to shift, but according to the Daily Health Post, Scandinavian researchers found that “exposure to cold temperatures actually helped to increase the metabolic rate of brown fat by as much as fifteen times and this translates to potentially helping a person lose nine pounds a year if sustained.”


It’s also a great way to get you going in the morning. A cold shower increases vital overall oxygen intake, sharpening your mental acuity. And, of course, it increases your heart rate and improves blood flow to your vital organs, activates your immune system, brings down your blood pressure – and help you to feel more energized.


But a cold shower isn’t just a first thing in the morning thing. It’ll also help your muscles recover faster after you’ve undertaken the strenuous exercise. Which is why athletes go for an ice bath after a workout, followed by a cold shower. Works for them – it’ll work for you, too!




Your first instinct might be to reach for that cuppa but make it a glass or two of ice water. It’s a natural refresher and if you’re a coffee (or soda) drinker, chances are that you may be a bit dehydrated. The chill from the ice makes it that much more refreshing. If plain water is a bit too bland for your tastes, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, or a sprig of spearmint (make sure to crush it a bit first by rolling it between your fingers to release the flavor).


Power Nap


Winston Churchill, Salvador Dali, Margaret Thatcher, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and even Aristotle were all big believers in power naps. “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces… Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations,” said Churchill. You also needn’t think of it as sleeping on the job. When you hit a low energy point or a seemingly insurmountable problem, sometimes it helps to “sleep on it.”


Einstein slept ten hours a night – but still needed his micro naps. To make sure he didn’t overdo it, he would often sit in his favorite armchair, hold a pencil or spoon in hand, place a plate below the object he was holding and drift off. When the object fell, it would make a noise that would wake Einstein instantly. Genius!




Seriously. Laughter is a not only great pick-me-up – it’s a total mood alterer, so try it. Children laugh an average of 400 times a day, while adults are lucky if they laugh 17 times a day. Maybe it’s been a while since you heard a good joke (Horse walks into a bar. Bartender says, “So, uh, why the long face?”) Come on – why do you think there are all of those cat videos posted on YouTube? Here’s one of our favorites.


Pump up the Jams


Music is another way to alter your mood and energy levels, and a great way to get the blood flowing, naturally. Choose some tunes that are up-tempo and high energy. Or something you enjoy dancing to. Music is a great natural drug – and an awesome way to get the adrenalin going. In fact, if you have a hard time waking up or getting motivated in the morning, these are the best songs to wake up to, according to science. Spotify partnered with psychology Ph.D. candidate David M. Greenberg to put together the perfect playlist for waking up in the morning.


Baking Soda


Recent studies that show that taking baking soda mixed with water about 60-90 minutes before exercising shows significant improvements in exercise performance and results.  According to The Nutrition Watchdog, “the dosages in the studies were generally about 90-135 mg per lb of body weight, which would basically equate to about 2-3 teaspoons mixed in water, for most people.”  But test smaller amounts first, over time, as 2-3 teaspoons can cause stomach upset in some people. Suggestion: try one teaspoon in a glass of water two hours before exercising, then another teaspoon in water an hour before exercising.  The theory is that baking soda helps reduce the effects of lactic acid on the muscles and allows you to do more reps before fatigue sets in. And use a fresh box, not the one you have in your fridge to absorb odors. You do have one in your fridge to absorb odors, right?


About that 3:00 Slump…


Many of us feel it. You start to get sluggish mid-afternoon. You find yourself suddenly craving a snack to give you a quick pick-me-up and tide you over until dinner. Dollars to donuts, it’s a cookie or, if you are health-conscious, some sort of trail mix that you’re jonesing for.


A handful of nuts or a piece of fruit or crunchy vegetables will help and they’re healthy ways to satisfy those cravings.


You can also try moving it. Take a hike – no, you don’t have to go off into the woods to recharge, although if you have the time and means, there’s almost no better mental break. In a study published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior, researchers at the University of Georgia's College of Education found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at an easy pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than was drinking 50 milligrams of caffeine, which is the equivalent to what you'd find in a can of cola. Or try some office yoga or do a lap or two around your desk.


Catch Some Rays


Sunlight is full of Vitamin D, but there’s a catch: according to Harvard Women's Health Watch, “except during the summer months, the skin makes little if any vitamin D from the sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north (in the United States, that’s north of Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco) or below 37 degrees south of the equator. People who live in these areas are at relatively greater risk for vitamin D deficiency.”


You can make up for it with foods high in Vitamin D, including salmon, fortified milk, fortified orange juice, eggs (vitamin D is in the yolk), canned sockeye salmon, fortified yogurt, shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, beef or calf liver, almond milk, fortified or extra firm tofu, oatmeal, cheese, eggnog, cod liver oil (good news: use it topically. Your skin will absorb it).


Speaking of letting the light in, researchers at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that office workers with windows slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than people in windowless offices, and were more physically active and energetic.


Lighten the ‘Load


The glycemic load, that is. We give a lot of attention to going gluten-free, and truth be told, gluten is the natural proteins found in wheat, (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye and harmless, unless you have celiac disease. If you find that you’re lightheaded or have the “shakes” after eating foods like rice, pasta, potatoes or certain breakfast cereals, it’s not necessarily the gluten you’re reacting to but rather, the glycemic load. Try replacing those high-glycemic foods with ones that contain low glycemic loads, such as beans/legumes (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, butter beans, chickpeas), bran cereals and nuts. Oatmeal with fresh fruit (or a few nibs of dark chocolate) is a great way to start the day. Bread, with its high glycemic load, not so much. If you’re a grab-it-and-run sort, here’s a healthy bread alternative that you can make ahead of time and enjoy all week:


The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g ground flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia;  I use 1 Tbsp xylitol, and don’t let the name throw you – it’s a natural sweetener)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water

1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well, too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!


You have your list. Now get moving.


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