If the cold and lingering winter days leave you feeling a little low, you’re not alone! Our energy levels are affected by the environment around us, so when nature slows down, our minds and bodies do the same. You might feel inclined to reach for a coffee or sugary snacks to boost your energy, but these short-term tactics can leave you feeling even more depleted (admittedly after a great initial buzz). Instead, try to balance your energy levels naturally, rather than forcing an artificial rush and suffering with the inevitable dip that follows.
It’s ok to take things slow and embrace the restfulness of the season, so give yourself permission to use this as a time of reflection and gentleness. But while doing so, you can still cultivate a steady form of energy using the power of plants, food, and nature. In fact, we’ve developed a whole range of products to see you through the shorter days and maintain your motivation to get on with all of the things you need to do.
In this blog we’re going to explore:
- The best energy-supporting natural products from the Zen Maitri team
- Which herbs can support your immune system over winter
- The importance of sleep & what you can do to improve your sleep
- Natural caffeine alternatives
The importance of exercise
It may sound counterintuitive, but regular exercise is a great way to combat fatigue and improve your energy levels over the long term. Moving more provides you with more energy in three main ways.
First up, cellular-level changes occur inside your body every time you exercise. Physical exertion pushes your body to produce more mitochondria inside your muscle cells. Mitochondria are tiny cell powerhouses, creating fuel out of glucose from the food you eat and oxygen from the air you breathe. More mitochondria means your body has a greater energy supply.
Second, exercise boosts oxygen circulation inside your body. As well as supporting your mitochondria’s energy production, this circulation allows your body to function better and use its energy more efficiently. Exercise also leads to the release of a range of exercise-induced hormones that make you feel more energised.
Last but certainly not least, regular exercise is directly linked with better sleep. Deep and restful sleep is crucial to your overall health and to feeling well rested and energetic when you wake up in the morning.
Take time to prioritise your sleep
We talk about sleep a lot at Zen Maitri. And with good reason. When it comes to energy levels, it may seem obvious… but if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t feel revitalised and energetic during the day.
But in our busy, stressful lives, it’s all too common to push sleep to the bottom of our list of priorities and put strain on our bodies by staying up late, getting up early, and being constantly on the go.
Even the way you choose to relax in the evening could be draining your energy. If you’re up late looking at a screen, for example, you might feel as though you’re switching off and chilling out — but your brain is highly stimulated and the quality of your sleep will be affected.
If you’re not sleeping well, or not sleeping enough, the first thing to do is take an honest look at your evening routine. What could you change? Could you turn off your electronic devices earlier? Could you opt for some relaxing meditation or yoga practice instead of a high-impact workout late at night? Could you read a book instead of watching TV?
Make your sleep-supportive routine even more restful by incorporating natural scents and herbs that will leave you feeling blissfully drowsy. The added benefit is that you’ll start looking forward to your peaceful evenings; your sleep routine can become a positive part of your self-care routine.
Try our Deep Sleep Collection to get you started. It includes lavender essential oil (well known for its relaxing properties that help your body settle into sleep), our Night Time Bath Salts, herbal capsules packed with plant extracts that will help you relax and wind down, and a cosy Night Time Tea that eases you into the evening.
Psst: For more information on how herbs can support a healthy sleep routine, check out this blog post.
Balance cold weather with warming food and herbs
Ayurveda is one of the oldest medicine systems in the world. Originating from India, it’s rooted in principles of balance; with food and herbs working to balance your constitution and the impact of environmental factors, including seasons and the weather.
Ayurvedic wisdom suggests that if we feel unwell or lacking in energy, it’s because something’s out of balance. Figure out what that imbalance is and adjust your diet and lifestyle habits accordingly, and you’ll start to feel better.
To gently energise during the winter months, opt for warming drinks — without too much caffeine if you can avoid it. Hot water with lemon and honey is a perfect energiser. You could also brew a delicious mug of our Energise Tea, which is blended with ginger root, green tea (naturally caffeinated), and immune-boosting ginseng.
Alongside those drinks, cook warm, hearty food. We love warm oats for the morning, and soups made from root vegetables at lunch time.
Support your immune system
Among the most common causes of persistent low energy, particularly during winter, is a compromised immune system. Our bodies have to work hard to keep us going — and we can always benefit from some extra immune support.
When your immune system is maxed out, you might feel tired, unmotivated, and find it difficult to get up on those dark mornings. In contrast, when the immune system is functioning well and your body is fit and strong, it’s much easier to feel a spring in your step and welcome the beauty of the season.
Eating nourishing food and getting enough sleep are both important practices to care for your immune system. You can also draw on the power of medicinal herbs and essential oils to give your body the extra help it needs to thrive.
Our Immunity Bundle will equip you with a super immune-boosting tea to drink at any time of day, using echinacea root, tulsi, rosehip and other fragrant and nourishing herbs to help your immune system function well. It also includes our powerful immunity capsules to give you a big boost of immune-supportive herbs up to three times a day.
If capsule supplements aren’t your thing, our Defend Tincture can be added to warm water to be taken as a drink; it’s full of those same uplifting herbs, with the addition of a herb called amla, known for its purifying and restorative properties.
Use herbs as natural allies for increased energy levels
There are many herbs that can promote energy and vitality, in different ways – for example, by providing much-needed vitamins and minerals to your cells (or improving their absorption), by offering antioxidant protection to prevent negative impacts of pollution and environmental stressors on your body, by promoting a healthy blood circulation to effectively bring oxygen and nutrition to your brain, or by helping your body systems continue to function healthily in stressful situations, like adaptogens do.
Our Energy Supplements provide a handy way to integrate these natural energy boosters into your daily routine, inside of vegetarian capsules.
And as mentioned above, we’ve also developed a delicious Energise Tea: the perfect blend for when you need a quick pick-me-up. The caffeine in this mix comes from green tea — which in addition to its metabolism-boosting effects is rich in antioxidants and supports the nervous system. Yerba mate, which is traditionally used in South America as a coffee substitute, is complemented in this recipe by ginger, Siberian ginseng, nettle leaf and lemongrass. The result is an uplifting and nourishing tea. We recommend thoroughly enjoying it in the morning, but it is best to avoid it in the afternoon to help you to relax in the evening and sleep better.
If you are looking for a caffeine-free but gently stimulating alternative, for the mornings and for the entire day, you can for example use our Good Morning Tea – a tasty, healthy, energising but non-caffeinated drink. It is a blend of warming, metabolism-boosting spices, mineral-rich nettle powder and anti-fatigue Siberian ginseng. It'll help enhance your energy levels and support your physical and mental resilience throughout the day.
Although these can offer general support, it is also important to know that there can be a wide range of reasons why you may need help to increase your energy levels (e.g., specific nutrient deficiencies), so to find the best natural approach for you, we recommend speaking with a medical herbalist so that they can assess your case in depth and devise a bespoke prescription for you.
Remember to give yourself a break
We’re human beings. We’re not supposed to be consistent all of the time. Our energy fluctuates and shifts, just as the world around us does. If you’re finding it difficult to stay on top of life’s demands over winter, remember to give yourself the time and space you need to breathe and simply be where you are.