It is that time of year when the social calendar becomes tight with commitments and our waistlines rapidly expand. That picture is a stark contrast to the years of isolation and limited social engagements in active addiction. Recovery, to me, represents living a life of enjoyment and connection. But, this time of year can be tough, especially if you are sensitive to feeling overwhelmed.
Honestly, I don’t like parties. I don’t particularly like being out all day, every day; and I don’t enjoy feeling like I have to go to social events with people I wouldn’t normally entertain with. There are work Christmas parties, fellowship meals and family commitments. It seems that the whole world is participating in these activities at the same time. I know that may sound like a negative perception. However, I am an “empath”. That means I am very sensitive to interaction and I can feel sensory overload quite easily. I actively have to prioritize down time every day, with some sort of sensory deprivation.
As I feel an increasing sense of anxiety and festive activities which beset me, my need for good nutrition is paramount. Here are my top foods for boosting energy this holiday season.
A Strategy for Energy
Here are my top tips for energizing the body during a demanding season.
- Drink lots of water. Dehydration is known to not only make you lethargic, it can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Keep a water bottle close by and keep sipping it. Add lemon, mint, cucumber or drink herbal teas if you don’t like plain water
- Eat/Drink Raw Cacao (I’ve included a recipe below). Cacao is known to create energy and combat fatigue. It is quite possibly one of the most energising foods, due to its concentration of a compound called theobromine, and the mineral magnesium. Theobromine can have a mild stimulating effect. Cacao also helps balance your mood and improve immunity-often compromised during the holidays. And it contains the highest concentration of magnesium in natural food sources
- Take magnesium supplements Magnesium is a sort of human chemical battery; it powers cellular function within the body – one of which is energy production. Another key function is managing the body’s nervous system. Therefore, it can have a really calming effect and can help aid restful sleep. Conversely, a lack of magnesium in your diet can cause interrupted and restless sleep. I take daily supplements, in the evening.
- Rest. It is really important to build down time to your daily routine. Do something to soothe your nervous system, such as restorative yoga, taking an Epsom salt bath with candles, meditate, take long walks in nature. Having a decent night’s sleep with help with energy levels immeasurably.
- Exercise. Walking, cycling, going to the gym, or a class; they can all energize you and help a restful night’s sleep.
Here is a great afternoon pick-me up recipe. As an alternative to over-stimulating coffee and sugary snacks.
Dark Chocolate Brittle
4 tablespoons raw cacao
4 tbsp melted coconut oil
½ tbsp maple syrup (optional – I don’t use this, but it can be bitter without)
2 tbsp coconut cream/milk (optional)
Chopped or flaked/slivered nuts (almonds are good)
2 tbsp cherries (frozen work fine, but defrost)
- Place the cacao in a bowl and pour over the coconut oil gently. Whisk until smooth;
- Add the maple syrup and whisk until combined. You could add coconut milk here if you wanted a more milk than dark chocolate;
- Mix in the nuts and cherries and then pour into a small container, or cupcake tray and refrigerate for one hour to set.