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Banish Winter Burnout Pug Dog

As the second half of the year rolls around, you’ll probably start to feel that familiar mid-winter slump creep into your life with all the subtlety of a heavily scripted episode of The Bachelor (read: none). It’s a trend that naturopaths see in their patients every August as people begin to get worn out from an overly busy home and work life. So we asked naturopath Hayley Stockbridge for her expert advice on how to banish tat mid-winter burnout.

“Fatigue, tiredness, recurrent infections, brain fog, poor concentration and headaches make it difficult get through even the calmest of days, making you feel like you’re 100!” says Stockbridge. “While this level of burn out is common, it’s not normal and it’s a sign that your body needs some rest and recuperation. Pushing through the fatigue with multiple coffees won’t help your energy levels in the long run. It’s time to listen to your body and rest up.”:

Get to bed earlier and wake up earlier
“You might feel like a nanna getting into bed at 9:30pm, but our brain much prefers an early bedtime and an early wake time. The type of sleep that we have before midnight is much better for stress levels, energy and cognition so the earlier you can get to bed the better. On the flip side, waking up earlier in the morning gives you extra time to ease into your day. I advise my patients that the best time to go to bed is around 9.30/10pm, aiming for 7-8 hours’ sleep – in a perfect world (deadlines, babies, parties aside of course!).”

Start the day with gentle exercise
“Now that you have some extra time in the morning, you can fit in some gentle exercise. Working out between 6-7am has been found to be the best time to improve mood, energy and stress levels. If you are really tired, a simple walk for 30 minutes is enough to wake your body up and get the endorphins running for the day ahead.”

Have protein-based snacks between meals
“Eating protein-based snacks will help balance your blood sugar levels and keep you fuller for longer. Eating high protein snacks will also help you avoid that 3pm crash when want to pillage the closest vending machine. Try snacking on a handful of raw nuts with a piece of fruit. Cheese, cottage cheese, natural yoghurt, hummus, miso soups, boiled eggs, tuna, salmon or edamame beans all make great snacks.”

Stick to one coffee a day
“Yes, I know, I hear you…. But when you’re burnt out, it can be easy to fall into the trap of having a few more coffees to get you through the day. Strong triple macchiato with an extra shot, anyone? However, this can make your brain much more scattered and unfocused as you’ll crash after your coffee high. Try to stick to a single coffee serving per day, as early in the day as you can. This is because our stress hormones such as cortisol are naturally highest in the mornings and your body can tolerate the caffeine hit better.”

Use superfoods for an energy boost
“Good old trendy superfoods! In case you’ve never read one of the thousands of articles on superfoods that are floating on the web… superfoods are natural foods that can be added into your diet to actively increase nutrition and there are some that are great for boosted energy levels. Try green tea throughout the day for its antioxidants and energy boosting effects – aim for 3 cups a day, if you can. My favourite is Maca, a Peruvian root vegetable that comes as a powder and is amazing for energy levels. It has been shown to increase stamina and endurance and can reduce stress levels.  You can also try adding raw cacao powder into smoothies, yoghurt, porridge or cereals at breakfast time for a natural energy increase. And as a natural alternative to a processed multivitamin, try spirulina.”

Get some fresh air and sunshine during your workday
“Long days at work without seeing the sunshine can suck you of your will to live, but a few minutes each day in the fresh air will cure that. Studies have shown that people who work next to a window have much lower stress levels and get better sleep than those in a windowless work environment. Next time you are feeling tired and flat, take a walk outside. Try to walk to a park or quiet space and take a few deep breaths, with your eyes closed and try to image the breath coming into and out of your lungs. A general rule is to try walking around the block (at least) every day after lunch for a boost in energy levels and digestion.”

Actually rest on the weekends
“This may sound obvious, but it’s really easy to fill your weekends up and not leave aside any time for rest and recuperation. Footy, going out for meals, catching up with friends, parties etc. are all forms of relaxation but keep in mind that your body needs physical rest as well. I give you permission to watch Netflix, take an afternoon nap, read a book, and lie in the sun, guilt free! The aim is to do anything that gives your body some time-out for physical rest as well.”

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