Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

By Catherine Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly

Between work and family, household responsibilities and a social life, your days are packed. How do you have time to find the energy for it all? The next time you’re in need of a pick-me-up, try one of these quick and easy energy boosters. They’ll add some oomph to your attitude in less time than it takes to brew a pot of coffee.

1. Power up at breakfast.
“Breakfast gets our engines—or metabolisms—running, waking it up after a night of rest,” says Aileen Brabazon, a Toronto-based certified holistic nutritionist. But you’re not going to get many benefits if you eat doughnuts or sugary cereal in the morning, warns Brabazon. That will cause spikes in blood sugar and result in a mid-morning energy crash.

Instead, make breakfast a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy, unsaturated fat. Think whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, topped with fruit and almonds, or two scrambled eggs with veggies and a slice of whole-wheat toast. The nutrients take longer to digest, giving you sustained energy until lunch.

2. Sniff a stimulating scent.
Keep a bottle of citrus or peppermint essential oil in your desk drawer and take a whiff whenever you need a pick-me-up. Or pop a peppermint or lemon drop candy or a stick of mint gum. Citrus aromas (such as grapefruit and lemon) and peppermint have been shown to trigger increased activity in areas of the brain associated with alertness, according to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience. After smelling the fragrances, participants also performed math problems faster and felt less anxious.

3. Wear bright colours or decorate with them.
Looking at bright hues stimulates the brain and makes you feel more alert, according to the journal Color Research and Application. “Red is a power colour,” says Cynthia Sebry, owner of Essential Energy Healing, a holistic clinic in Lachombe, Alberta, which offers colour therapy. “It’s very uplifting and energy-boosting.” In a study, people who looked at red shapes on a computer screen answered questions more accurately than those gazing at blue ones. Why? Red hues can signal caution, which may make you more detail-oriented.

4. Turn on the radio.
Music is a near-instant way to put more pep in your step. Researchers at London’s Brunel University found that when study participants listened to upbeat songs while jogging, they exercised 15 percent longer and reported feeling happier than those who worked out in silence. Fast-paced music may subconsciously push us to step up our efforts, but you don’t have to be on a treadmill to reap the benefits. Cue up a dance-worthy playlist next time you have a marathon errand-running session or need to zip through your to-do list.

5. Organize your space.
A national survey conducted by Professional Organizers Canada indicates 91 per cent of disorganized Canadians feel that it negatively impacts their lives. “Homes are supposed to be a haven,” says Jacki Hollywood Brown, vice president of Professional Organizers in Canada. “If you sigh with defeat whenever you open crammed closets or cupboards, your home may be causing stress instead of relieving it.” Brown says de-cluttering the home is more than rearranging the piles of stuff — it is sorting through them and determining what really reflects who you are. “Surrounding yourself with objects that you truly love will allow you to relax in your space,” she says.

Catherine Ryan
is a freelance writer and editor who writes on health, nutrition, beauty and green living for such magazines as
Self, Ode and
Parents. She is a frequent contributor to
Life & Beauty Weekly.

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