From rejuvenating yoga classes to 10-minute meditation practices and adaptogenic green teas, here are the products and rituals we turn to when our tanks are running on empty
Has the festive season left you knackered? Whether holiday hijinks have caught up with you or you’re stuck on rest mode, we could all do with a pick-me-up during this time of the year. The return to reality can be a bumpy one with productivity levels crashing and memories of being tucked up in bed haunting our early morning commutes - so to help make it progress much more smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of the energy-boosting classes, products and daily rituals that work for us in the hope that one of them can work for you too.
From express meditation to herbal teas and pampering treats to help aid a good night’s sleep, here are the products and practices that we turn to when festive fatigue threatens to take over.
Victoria Woodhall, Editor
One-minute Qi Gong ritual and Perricone MD Super Greens Powder, £58
“This morning was a real test of my energy boosting arsenal. For the second night in a row, I’d had only around four hours sleep. The one-minute Reset Ritual by Katie Brindle of the Hayou Method, sorted me out. The Hayou Method offers energy and beauty rituals for modern stressors adapted from Chinese Medicine. This particular ritual is based on the Chinese martial arts practice of Qigong. You shake out your limbs for 20 seconds to shift stagnant or flagging energy and loosen the spine, then drum your fists on your body to wake the circulation for 20, and lastly twist from the waist one way and then the other repeatedly for the final 20 seconds, tapping on your kidney area to soothe the adrenals and stimulate digestion. You can follow the video here - it really does work as a pick-me-up any time of day.
I always have an energy dip right after lunch and crave something sweet. My nutritional therapist Daniel O’Shaughnessy explained that this was because I didn’t eat enough protein at lunch, so I have been boiling eggs like a demon at home for my lunch box. Instead of chocolate, I’ll try to have a sachet of Perricone MD Super Greens in a glass of water. It’s refreshing and has sweetness from powdered apple but also a host of greens, probiotics, vitamins and antioxidants and the boost of green tea extract. OK, I’ll probably have the chocolate as well.”
Anna Hunter, Senior Features Writer
Neal’s Yard Peppermint Oil Essential Oil, £7.50
“As energy boosting aromatherapy goes this is probably quite an obvious choice - a zing of mint has been waking me up ever since I started using Original Source Mint & Tea Tree Shower Gel in my teens (I’ve since developed more sophisticated tastes, but it does the job). I’ve recently started tapping into using aromatherapy in daily life, from calming pulse-point rollerballs to oil-infused baths and the odd DIY massage with a plant-based unction, but these mainly revolve around enhancing the wind-down process (chronic insomniac here) rather than pepping me up for the day ahead. Good old peppermint oil, however, has not only proved to be an airway clearing decongestant over the past month but on the advice of a dietitian friend, I’ve been adding a drop or two to a big bottle of water in a bid to rev up post turkey feast digestion and take the edge off of nausea and bloating.
If nothing else it gives tap water an edge and makes the new year rehydration programme more refreshing and appealing. Plus, dropping peppermint water in the steam of your morning shower, or inhaling it from a tissue, clears away the cobwebs from the get go and improves sluggish back to work concentration levels. Every little helps.”
Judy Johnson, Digital Editor
“If I’m struggling with a lack of energy during the day then my most likely course of action is to put the kettle on, make a big mug of strong Yorkshire Tea and put on one of my Spotify playlists, but when the time and place allows I find a far more effective way to feel energised is to practise vedic meditation. I learned last year with the London Meditation Centre ( co-founder Jillian has written about it for us here ), and while I’m not great at sticking to the habit as a daily ritual, when I do push myself to sit down and do it the after-effects are noticeable. Even after just a 10-minute session (you’re meant to do 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon), my mind feels more awake, and less foggy; the easiest way to describe it is that I really do feel a bit more ‘with it’. They say meditation provides a deeper type of rest than sleep, and as someone who is often sleep-deprived I can well believe it - I’m making an effort to stick to it as much as possible to get through the gloom of January too. That and plenty of uplifting playlists for when I’m back at my desk.”
Ayesha Muttucumaru, Senior Features Writer
Pukka Ginseng Matcha Tea, £2 for 20 teabags
“Trying to re-calibrate my caffeine content over the last year has been an interesting endeavour. Too much and my productivity levels crash, too little and they slump and with sleep being somewhat elusive as of late, I’m usually in need of a bit of a boost come 10 am. My brews of choice usually take the form of a latte or cup of English Breakfast but recent months have seen me going in an increasingly greener direction. Matcha tea seems to provide the requisite early morning buzz I look for however, after a fairly hectic festive season I’ve been looking for more from my mug and that’s where Pukka’s Ginseng Matcha Green Tea comes in. Hitting a number of herbal hotspots in one go, it provides the anti-inflammatory potential of Matcha, ginger root to boost circulation and the adaptogenic abilities of red ginseng to help the body better adapt to stress and tulsi to improve focus. Combined with its zesty scent, it provides a multi-sensory pick-me-up that doesn’t leave me feeling jittery or bloated - just clearer of mind and less lethargic.”
Get moving + get hydrated
“When I'm flailing at work or in the wee hours with my little one, the recipe I use for a quick energy boost is simple - get moving and get hydrated.
Sitting in front of a screen all day is a sure fire way to exhaust your energy reserves - particularly when that day started at 4 am thanks to a very loud babbling 10 month old! My trick for tackling this energy slump is simple. Depending on what the situation will allow, I sit up, stand or go for a brisk walk, head held high and take in three deep breaths - each time focusing on the exhale as much as the inhale. Having the option of a standing desk can help here too as standing usually improves your posture and propensity for good breathing. Deep breathing charges your body with a blast of oxygen, which is not only said to improve circulation while reducing stress and muscle tension, but can actually help your cells to do their work more efficiently, all helping to boost your energy supplies.
My second ingredient is water. Studies show that even the slightest level of dehydration can send your energy levels off a cliff. To mitigate this I try to drink little and often throughout the day. It helps to keep a water supply on my desk so I don't have to think too much about it. I use a S’well bottle which keeps my refrigerated water cool for ages (they say 24 hours) which I love and makes the constant swigging more palatable. (On this though, I do try to be a conscious drinker to avoid overdoing it and becoming a slave to the bathroom - balance is key here!)”
Alexandra Harrison, Administration Assistant
L’Occitane Relaxing Bath & Shower Gel, £16
“If I’m feeling a little lacklustre in life, for me the answer is always self-care. And for me, this means me-time - or ‘life admin’ as I prefer to call it. This usually involves a nice long hot shower and some of my favorite luxury pamper products. Life can sometimes get so hectic that I forget to take some time for myself. It becomes so easy to pack lots into the diary, meaning I barely have time for a hair wash let alone actual pamper time. I have always tried to make Sunday evening my pamper night, taking some proper time to relax and unwind, which in turn makes me feel revitalised and (hopefully) full of energy come Monday morning. My routine consists of a detoxifying face mask and a deeply nourishing hair mask (shout-out goes to my ultimate hair saviour, Philip Kingsley Elasticizer , £31). However, the most important product in my pamper routine is L’Occitane Relaxing Shower Gel.
I’m not particularly fussy with shower gel day-to-day, usually picking up whatever is on offer in Boots. However this gem from L’Occitane is always reserved in my stash for times of need. This shower gel is made with essential oils, transforming to a luxurious foam when mixed with water. The scent is to die for, with a relaxing blend of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium. I now associate this product with a Sunday evening pamper session, which adds to its relaxing qualities - the scent brings me back to a place of relaxation which I love.”
Sarah McGinnis, Art Editor
“Whenever I’m run down, exhausted or just need a little energy boost, the last thing I ever feel like doing is exercising. However, a friend of mine on more than one occasion has dragged me (literally) to hot yoga at the another_space studio in Covent Garden.
Whether a complete beginner like me, or a yogi master, each flow is suitable for all abilities, with instructors giving a range of movement options and gently pushing you to reach your optimum potential. Each day is different and depending on how I am feeling, I get something different out of each class. I can really push myself and test my ability to come out feeling refreshed and energised, or take a gentle approach to restore a little calm into my daily life. With infra-red heating, the room gently warms up, and by the end of the class I’ve definitely worked up a sweat! What I love is that the yoga flow is less dynamic than a regular yoga class which encourages you to flow through each movement slowly, helping to isolate specific positions.
It’s guaranteed to make you leave calm, re-energised and a million times more Zen! With a new location launching imminently in Bank, it's the perfect time to practice those headstands, or you know, just sink into a deep slumber!”