10 ways to recharge your body

04 January 2024

Feeling tired and run down? You're not the only one.

Many people find the short days and often dismal weather at this time of year have a negative effect on their energy levels.

The good news is that there are lots of easy ways to recharge your body and give yourself a boost.

Here, we explore the reasons you might be lacking energy and outline 10 simple steps you can take to feel better all year round.

Know your numbers:

About three in 100 UK adults get seriously depressed during the winter, and many others experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at some level.1

What causes us to feel tired?

Not feeling yourself for whatever reason can be a sign that you have an underlying medical condition.

So, if you are feeling physically drained, and you don't understand why, it's worth going to see your GP to check there's nothing more serious going on.

Once you've ruled out any health problems, you can then consider lifestyle factors, such as how much exercise you do and whether you are burning the candle at both ends.

Common reasons why people feel low on energy include:

  • Too much/too little physical activity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress and/or depression
  • A poor diet
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

How can we recharge our batteries?

Taking good care of your body is important for both your physical and your mental health.

Here are 10 simple steps you can start taking now to boost your energy levels throughout the winter months and beyond.

1. Eat your way to more energy

It's tempting to grab a quick-fix energy boost such as a biscuit when you're feeling low on gas, but such short-term solutions are likely to leave you feeling even less energised over the course of the day.

Instead, experts recommend consuming regular meals incorporating a mix of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, lean protein, and a bit of healthy fat.

Check out our guide to recharging your plate for more ideas.

2. Bathe the tension away

While some people enjoy a soothing hot bath, others swear by the benefits of cold-water swimming and plunge pools.

If warm water is your thing, try adding calming Epsom salts to your bath to help remove toxins and reduce inflammation.

And if you crave the shock of cold water, switching between 30-second sessions of hot and cold water while you take a shower is an easy home-based way to get your fix.

Did you know?

Cold water swimming can improve your blood pressure but can also be dangerous for people with heart conditions.2

3. Slough away dead skin

Exfoliating a couple of times a week is a great way to scrape away dead cells and trigger your skin's natural renewal process, leaving your skin feeling softer and more hydrated.

Using a body scrub - especially one that uses natural ingredients such as sea salt - is also thought to improve your circulation, which should help to further boost your energy levels.

4. Stay active

When you're run down, it can be tempting to flop down in front of the TV and not move again until you head to bed.

But swapping just 10 to 30 minutes of sofa time for an activity you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, or riding your bike, will up your quota of "happy" hormones such as serotonin and endorphins.

And that's good for both your physical and your mental health.

5. Stretch your body

Sore muscles make us feel tired and irritable, especially if they prevent us getting a good night's sleep.

Stretching can help, whether your pain is caused by physical exertion or sitting at a desk all day.

It's an important part of any exercise routine and should also be integrated into your working day where possible; simply taking a few minutes every so often to stretch your arms and neck can make a world of difference if you suffer with tight shoulders, for example.

6. Get some fresh air

Whatever your daily routine, there are numerous benefits to heading outside when you can.

Not only does sunshine provide your body with vital vitamin D, a blast of fresh air is also a clinically proven way to make you feel more alive.3

7. Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy generally involves either inhaling the essential oils extracted from plants or diluting them (with a "carrier" oil such as coconut or olive) and rubbing them on our skin.

It can be used to boost energy levels by helping us to relax or by recharging our batteries.

Essential oils thought to relax us include sage and lavender. Energising essential oils, meanwhile, include peppermint and rosemary.

Did you know?

Rosemary essential oil has been found to aid memory and concentration levels.4

8. Dose up on vitamins

While a balanced diet should provide the vitamins our bodies need most of the time, we all need a bit of extra help to stay fresh and focused from time to time.

During the winter, for example, the lack of sunlight makes it much harder to get our daily dose of vitamin D.

So, many doctors now recommend taking daily vitamin D supplements throughout the winter months.

It is, however, always sensible to check with your GP before taking any regular supplements.

9. Ditch the cigarettes

The toxins and tar you take in when you smoke cigarettes reduce the efficiency of your lungs, rendering you weaker and more likely to feel tired due to a lack of oxygen.

Stopping smoking, meanwhile, boosts your circulation, thereby raising your energy levels.5

10. Take a nap

Not everyone can fit a nap into their daily schedule. And not all health professionals believe naps are a good idea.

However, as parents of new-born babies know, sometimes the most important thing is to grab some shut eye when you can.

So, if you're feeling drained and you have the chance, why not treat yourself to a refreshing nap?

Know your numbers:

Napping for 20 minutes is thought to be the best way to get an energy boost without having time to fall into a deep sleep.