There are many words we can use to describe vital energy: chi, ki, Qi, prana and life-force are just a few. No matter what you call it, the fact is we all want to feel more energised. However, the key to generating vital energy isn’t just about the food we eat or its effects on our system. It’s also about the activities we enjoy doing, the exercise we undertake as well as our thoughts and emotions. Here are some of my favourite ways to help you live your best life and enhance your vital energy!
Exercise can not only improve our energy levels, but also our mood and brain chemistry. It also reduces anxiety levels and lowers the secretion of adrenal stress hormones, which in itself will improve energy. Exercise increases endorphins and endorphins make us happy. It’s also true that when we feel happy, we naturally have greater energy and motivation to do activities such as exercise. So you can see how it’s a really positive cycle.
Good carbohydrates which don’t cause a spike in our blood sugar levels are crucial to balanced mental energy and happy moods. They are also essential for maintaining physical energy, as glucose is the brain’s main fuel source, along with good fats. Good carbs include sourdough bread, oats, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato and pumpkin and fruits like berries, apples, bananas and pears.
Rhodiola is one of the best herbs to boost both your physical and mental energy. This beautiful Russian herb is classified as an adaptogen. This is basically a fancy herbalist’s word explaining the beautiful balancing effect it’ll have on your whole system, whereby your body will adapt to all types of stressors. Rhodiola’s actions are also tonic, antioxidant and anti-tumour. This means it’s useful in conditions such as chronic immune deficiency (also great after chronic fatigue syndrome), fatigue and to improve physical and mental performance, concentration and memory, especially when you’re under stress. It also improves mood and reduces anxiety, and was traditionally used to reduce high altitude sickness.
Fatigue has numerous causes, and low mood and depression is one of them. When was the last time you really asked yourself how you were feeling? Do you need to start looking after yourself in a different way? Are you constantly running yourself into the ground and trying to be perfect? You’re human and you deserve a little break sometimes. If you think your mood isn’t where it used to be, seek some help and adopt some more self-care practices.
Do you find it hard to wake up in the morning? Have a slump at 3pm? Find it difficult to switch off at night and fall asleep? Welcome to the land of Adrenal Fatigue, where stress hormones rage and nervous systems stress out. Long office hours, illnesses or bouts of fatigue, insufficient work/life balance and global markets where you’re on call 24/7 are some of the factors which may cause or be exacerbated by adrenal fatigue.
Licorice and Rehmannia are the two most specific and valuable herbs for nourishing your adrenal glands, and are the perfect combination to correct adrenal depletion. They are both strong anti-inflammatory herbs as well, which is beneficial as high stress levels may increase inflammation. Other nutrients which nourish your adrenals are vitamin C, magnesium and B complex vitamins.