It’s the most wonderful hectic time of the year, and though we are all flat out, Mums all seem to be especially feeling it at the moment.Work deadlines, present buying (including your partners work Secret Santa gift 🙄), decorations, school plays, children isolating at home, your kid’s social life, YOUR social life, trying to stay active, possibly all whilst feeling a big hungover/under the weather – the juggle is definitely real.
Suffice to say it - flagging energy is not what we need right now. We asked our team to each give their best tips what they do to keep themselves going over the festive season:
The best tea for an afternoon pep me up– We absolutely love this easy spiced tea recipe and regularly have a pot brewing in the afternoons to help keep us focused and alert, whilst warding-off sugar cravings. It makes a great replacement to a coffee, and is turbocharged with goodness for mind, body and spirit. The spices in this tea are not only warming and invigorating, but have mood boosting, anti-anxiety, energising, gut supporting, detoxifying and hormone balancing goodness inside. It's low in sugar and the cinnamon helps to reduce sugar cravings – perfect for those blood sugar lows.
Rumour has it Oprah has a cup of this each afternoon.. If it's good enough for her...
P.s – Did you know that ¼ of the caffeine from a midday cup of tea or coffee can still be circulating in your blood stream at midnight! If you sleep badly or suffer with anxiety, go for a decaf tea bag or rooibos instead of regular black/breakfast tea.
Magnesium Before Bed For Sleep
– A top tip from co-founder and working Mum Rosie – “I always take a daily dose of magnesium each evening before bed. This essential mineral is indispensable for hundreds of bodily reactions, including helping our sleep cycles. Unfortunately, we get through it at an increased rate when we’re really busy, stressed, or not getting good sleep. Working out also burns up magnesium and it is great for relaxing muscles and tension, which can really help you switch off and feel calm”.
Ideal after a stressful day at work, or if you are just a bit wound up (which for us, feels like every day at the moment!). The best magnesium-rich foods are green leafy veggies like kale, chard, spinach and cabbage, as well as oats, banana and raw cacao. When it comes to magnesium supplements, find a product that contains magnesium glycinate, citrate or chelate. You can also try a magnesium spray/moisturizer, such as Neom's Body Butter, which also contains calming essential oils.
Let It Slide
Perfectionists might really struggle with this one, but repeat after us – you.cant.do.everything! at least, not if you want to feel energised and happy yourself. If you don’t manage to get around to everything, don’t beat yourself up. If you don’t manage to get any exercise in, or if the kids watch a bit more tv than you’d like, or eat hot dogs and chips for the second time this week.. try let it slide, for your own sanity.
Hydrate First Thing
If you wake up feeling worse for wear then try to avoid starting the day with coffee or tea. “A foggy head and poor energy are one of the first signs of dehydration, and we sweat at night (especially with central heating) meaning we need to rehydrate first thing” – our Social Media Manager Sophie says.
Your liver does a lot of its work at night and so toxins are ready and waiting to be removed first thing. Drinking water helps to flush these out and also rehydrate your body, which is essential for the liver and helps give you an immediate energy boost.
If you don’t want cold water then have a cup of Pukka ginger tea which is good for digestion. Sophie likes to add some ice cubes so she can drink it quickly, and then chases with a coffee or tea.
Topping Up Gut Flora
“I like to add in a probiotic at this time of year because they have been shown to help support immunity, energy, detoxification, mood and of course gut health” – says Alice Mackintosh, registered Nutritional Therapist and Equi co-founder. “Alcohol can impact the balance of gut flora and so as well as eating more fibre in the day time, I add kimchi, sauerkraut or piccalilli to salads, sandwiches or cheese plates. I also take Chuckling Goat kefir daily to help support my microbiome, as well as my daily dose of Equi Original Formula which contains probiotics, turmeric and glutamine for gut health.
Fibre For Detox and a Flat Tummy
Eating enough fibre each day is essential for many body processes especially gut health, and it is one of the best things ways we can support our detoxification. It also helps to slow down the absorption of alcohol into our blood stream which is important for our organs. Sadly canapés and Christmas food like mince pies and stollen can be on the beige side, so do what you can to top up on fibre in the day time with veggies, fruit, pulses, nuts and wholegrains, especially at lunch time or in your afternoon snack. This gently fills the stomach so that first drink doesn’t go straight to your head. It also prevents you gorging on canapés because you're so hungry! Fibre also helps you poop daily, which is essential to keep digestion running smoothly, and for a flat tummy (hello body con!).
Epsom Salt Baths For Sleep
“I love these at all times of year but they really come into their own in December when the weather is cold and when I might need some extra detox support after a couple of glasses of wine” says Adrienne, our Head of Logistics and Customer Services. “I try and do it at least once a week if I get time, and I’ll do some self-care to wind down, such as a face mask or meditation. I like to use my Peloton first thing before the kids wake up, and I find that the magnesium in the Epsom salts really help my muscles recover so I don’t get aches and pains. It always find I sleep like a baby afterwards".
Tip - If you don’t have a bath, or if you need to work late, then try doing a foot bath instead.
Low Iron and Energy
Of all the vitamins and minerals, iron is the most commonly diagnosed deficiency, and this is especially the case in women. The effects of low iron are far reaching: from the obvious low energy and fatigue, to brain fog, poor immunity, heavy periods, headaches, hair loss, thyroid issues, reduced appetite, breathlessness and lack of concentration. In spite of all of this, low iron can easily be missed, and many women trudge on and accept these symptoms are their norm. The problem is that, as women, we are much more predisposed to iron deficiency than men, and if you’re having monthly periods (especially if they are heavy) or have had children in the last 5 years, or if you’re vegetarian or vegan/don’t eat red meat, then it’s a good idea to get your levels checked out with your GP. It’s worth asking for your ferritin to be checked as well as iron, as this represents the amount of stored iron in the body. If this is below 50ng/mL then it’s worth working to increase your iron intake, even if your iron blood reading is normal.
The richest sources of iron include red meat (lamb, grass fed beef, black pudding, venison, chicken leg meat) and liver (not when pregnant), poultry, fish and shellfish. Veggie iron sources include beans, lentils, tahini, cashews, peas, edamame, chickpeas, tomato paste, beetroot, black strap molasses, dark green leafy veg such as spinach and broccoli, and seeds such as pumpkin and quinoa. Tofu is a good plant-based source of iron and so is dark chocolate (the darker the better!). Vegetarian iron is harder for the body to absorb and utilise, so you need to eat these foods often and in good quantities to make a difference. Iron is best paired with foods rich in vitamin C to increase uptake, so eat spinach, tomatoes, salads or any other colourful veggies or fruit at the same time.
B Vitamins To Increase Energy Levels and Brain Power
In December your social life ramps up but work, the kids and life admin tend to as well, and we often find ourselves feeling frazzled trying to manage the juggle. Alice explains that some key nutrients can help – “Each of the 8 B vitamins are needed for energy production, focus, concentration and for helping with stress management. Because they are not generally well stored in the body, we need to get a good daily intake of all of them.”
Meat, fish, wholegrains, legumes, beans, vegetables and nuts contain B vitamins – so aim to include all of these foods regularly where you can to increase energy levels.
“The problem is that it can be a struggle to eat well every day especially at this time of year. Though nothing replaces a healthy diet, I find adding in a really targetted, high quality supplement can really help take the edge off, keeping me feeling energised and balanced whilst also being resilient against the seasonal bugs going around” says Alice. “I formulated Equi's range of products to comprehensively support women with just one scoop of powder, replacing a shelf of supplements so you don't need to worry about taking extra vitamin D, B vits, milk thistle, probiotics or skin supporting ingredients like collagen on top. I will definitely be taking a daily dose of our Original Formula throughout December!”
Iodine For Thyroid Health
Another cause of low energy can be poor thyroid health. Your thyroid is the barometer of the body - it releases hormones that keep everything ticking along nicely - energy, digestion, metabolism, temperature regulation and mood. If you feel like you've slowed down a bit and have noticed constipation, heavy periods, hair thinning, and sleep isn't helping boost your energy, then it's worth getting your thyroid checked.
Even if you don't have a thyroid problem imbalance, we still need to make sure we eat the right things to keep our thyroid working and iodine is one of the most important nutrients to remember. It also happens to be quite a common deficiency especially in vegans, because it's found in seafood and dairy. The easiest way to get more iodine is to sprinkle a little seaweed onto your food. This sounds gross but it actually mixes in really well with soups, stews, casseroles, curries or slow cooked dishes and you can just add this in a few times a week to help get enough (be careful if you have a diagnosed issue. Miso soups, sushi and foods such as samphire are also good sources, as is yoghurt, cheese, other dairy and fish.
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme. As with all articles on www.equilondon.com, this is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice.