Have you got your basics covered? 10 Steps to boosting your energy and supporting your body in healingJuly 5, 2015 10:02 am
Do you struggle with fatigue and tiredness? Do you wonder if you will ever feel properly well and vibrant? Do you live with long term illness and feel hopeless with it all? If you answered yes to any of the above…this post is for you.
After a bit of an inner wake up call last week, I’ve decided to write about getting back to basics. There are some incredibly important things that you can do to help support your body in regaining its energy.
Many of us with long term illness are searching for a cure. The one big thing that is going to make all the difference and give us our lives back. Sometimes, in this search, we lose sight of the many small things we can do, that collectively, can make a huge difference to how you feel. This also applies to any of you who may be reading this, without illness as such, but who just feel tired a lot of the time. Before you reach for another coffee…consider some of the following tips and see if they might help you feel better.
Sometimes in the midst of having those hopeless moments (that I’m sure so many of you can relate to) where I feel like I’m never going to get well again, and all of this is going on far too long, I force myself to ask the question :
‘Am I doing all I can to support my body in feeling well?’
Often the answer that comes back, often with resistance, is ‘no actually, I’m probably not’.
Recently, when I was having one of my ‘urgh I can’t live like this any more’ moments, I asked myself the ‘Am I doing all I can to support my body in getting well’ question. At first, through my frustrated, exhausted tears, I told myself, ‘Yes. Yes of course I’m doing all I can!’
Then it dawned on me, actually, I wasn’t. There were quite a few things I had let slip, due to my focus having been elsewhere these past few months.
One of the things that wasn’t good at all, was my sleep. I had gotten into the unhelpful habit of looking at my phone each night when I got into bed. I would spend far too long checking things online, despite my eyes burning and desperately needing sleep, then as a result of this, would find myself unable to sleep when I did finally switch the light off, due to my brain having been overstimulated before bed. This unhelpful habit ended up leading to me getting about 3 hours sleep a less a night.
If I want my body to heal, surely the least I could do for it was clean up my sleep habits?! Especially when sleep is the time our body rests and repairs.
There are lots of small things we can do like this, that don’t cost anything, that help to support our body’s in their journey to wellness.
Below, are 10 steps you can take to boost your energy and support your beautiful body in its healing
1. Lemon Water on Waking
One of the best ways you can start your day is by having hot water with the juice of half a lemon. Lemons are known to help flush out toxins and cleanse the body, they are extremely high in vitamin C and are also an excellent blood purifier. Not to mention being a great source of citric acid, magnesium, calcium, plus many other vitamins and minerals.
When making your lemon water pop a little bit of cold water in the bottom first, before adding your lemon juice, and then finally, your hot water (the cold water helps keep the nutritional benefits of the lemon at their peak.)
2. Stay Hydrated
The human body is about 50-70% water. That is a hell of a lot of water! Yet many of us are walking around incredibly hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue and brain fog…sound familiar? Getting into the habit of drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water each day is such an important thing to do for yourself, especially when you are healing. I have a pretty glass jug that I fill up each morning and pop a few slices of lemon or lime into. Then I keep it near me. This way, I am more likely to remember to drink throughout the day.
3. Morning Routine
Something that I have found to make a huge difference to me is having a morning healing routine. During periods where I have been severely ill and bedbound/housebound, this has helped give structure to my day and also makes me feel like I’ve started the day off well. Obviously your routine will be personal to you.
If you are severely ill, it may just consist of a having a wash, opening your curtains for some fresh air and light, and doing a little ten minute visualisation. If you are well or are further down the recovery path, you may like to do a little more, such as making a juice then doing some yoga and a meditation.
Your morning routine can take as long as you want it too, but even fifteen minutes, to get your body moving, and your mind in a calm, balanced place, sets up the day much more nicely than just getting out of bed, making a coffee and going blurry eyed into your day.
4. Daylight – Getting Outside
So many of us don’t get enough daylight. It is important for so many reasons, especially in helping the body produce energy. Getting outside each day, even just for 20 minutes, can give your body its daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for making our muscles work properly and boosting our energy levels, due to enhancing the activity of the mitochondria (the energy producing parts of our cells). By getting outside each day, you will also regulate your body’s melatonin production and natural bodily rhythms, both of which, will make it easier for us to sleep well at night.
How you choose to move, will vary depending on your current abilities, but moving your body every day is important for energy. When I was at my poorliest, this meant some very gentle stretches in bed and walking to the bottom of my mums garden holding onto her arm, but even then, I still aimed to move my body every single day. Do what you can. If you can have a daily walk, or do some yoga, this is perfect.
If you are well, and are able to exercise more vigourously? Then embrace that. The lymphatic system (the part of our body that rids our body’s of toxins) has no pump, so it relies on movement to move lymph around the body. For this reason alone, moving your body is so important. Exercise is also known to produce endorphins and give us more energy.
6. Manuka honey
Those of you who know me personally, will know how much I go on about how amazing manuka honey is. There is good reason for that! This gorgeous, natural substance, heals on so many levels. I have been literally astounded by its results and shall be writing a whole blog post on it soon. If I run out of manuka honey, after about a week of not taking it, I feel the difference in my energy massively.
Manuka honey contains unique antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, wound repairing and overall healing properties. If you decide to get some manuka honey, take a teaspoon a day (either straight off the spoon or have it with yogurt/add to a smoothie) and make sure you get one with a certified UMF rating. One of 10+ or higher is best.
7. Nourish your Body
Food is literally the fuel we put into our body’s. Its where the energy comes from. If we are putting sugary, processed foods into our body and not enough nutrient dense foods, we are putting extra strain on our body because not only does it have its regular job of digesting, it also has to sift out all the toxins and deal with the raised insulin levels etc. Something that a tired body can do without. One of the best thing you can do for yourself if you want more energy, and especially if you are living with long term illness, is to nourish your body with beautiful foods.
You don’t have to stress yourself out and eradicate ‘all’ sugar etc (unless you want to of course) but by having 80% of your food as clean and nutritionally rich as possible, you are going to be giving your body a big helping hand in its foundation of health. Think, fresh juices, plenty of veg and good sources of protein such as lean meat, fish and nuts.
8. Nourish your soul!
This may simply mean creating more space for you. Some quiet time without external distractions where you can reflect and connect back to yourself. It may mean feeding your mind and spirit by reading inspirational books, doing a daily meditation/yoga practise or spending some time in nature. However this looks for you, make sure you nourish your soul each day. It is a part of us that can easily get neglected and this can often show up in low energy and illness.
Sleep is when the body heals. If we aren’t getting enough good quality sleep, then we aren’t giving our body the chance to rest and repair as it should. As I mentioned above, this was something I have neglected of late, and although I still wake up feeling exhausted every morning (the joys of having ME) at least I know I am giving my body the rest it deserves and the best opportunity for healing.
If you struggle to sleep, then gently do all you can to encourage sleep but try not to let it be an added source of worry. With time, sleep troubles can rectify themselves. Establish a good bedtime routine. Have a relaxing bath before bed, avoid using screens (such as iphones) for at least an hour before you intend to sleep, and get yourself physically in to bed at a decent time
10. Self care and Self love
Often, symptoms are your body’s way of communicating with you. If you are constantly living for other people and have no space to tune into yourself or if you push yourself to the point of exhaustion every day, it’s likely your symptoms will just get louder. Learn to say no. Listen out for that harsh way you sometimes speak to yourself and change those thoughts to more loving ones. Rest more. Do lovely things for your self just as you would do for a loved one, such as buy yourself a bunch of flowers or have a candlelit bath with a few drops of lavender oil in.
Incorporate some of the above steps into your day and take time to tune in to what your body and mind personally need.
You needn’t feel overwhelmed by this list. Just do what you can. Make small changes to help your body feel better. If you do one thing off the list? Thats one more thing to support your body. If you do them all? Great. This is your recovery path and your body and you will know what is right for you. I find it empowering knowing that there ARE things we can do to improve how we feel.
Knowing that you’ve got your basics covered, is comforting in of itself because you know your body has got the secure foundation it needs for healing.
*all photos used in this post are my own
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