Forming new habits and sustaining them is the foundation of achieving the goals you’ve set for 2022.
However, it’s easier said than done when temptation rears its head or you’re set in your ways.
An incredible 43% of our everyday actions are done habitually while thinking about something else, so here’s some expert advice on how to make positive habits happen without a second thought.
And don’t forget to join our Little Big Difference campaign here for the chance to win £1000!
1. Next-level your diet
When it comes to restoring energy, it’s all about balance. “Practically every nutrient plays a role in energy production,” says nutrition therapist Ian Marber. “Asking which nutrient to look for or which food to eat to get more energy is like asking which part of an aircraft makes it fly.”
The process of making energy is complex – but a good place to start when talking about it is the mitochondria. These are found in nearly every cell in the body and play a pivotal role in energy production. The number of mitochondria varies from cell to cell: those found in muscles typically have the highest concentrations, whereas inactive fat cells have far fewer.
It’s useful to imagine that mitochondria “burn” elements of the food we eat to generate a form of energy called adenosine triphosphate (or ATP), which can be stored and called upon when required, says Marber: “A core of nutrients are involved in ATP production, such as iron, the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C, among many others.”
To get adequate amounts of these nutrients, small tweaks to your diet can make a big difference. Every time you eat, make a conscious choice to give your chosen meal a nutrition boost: add a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt and sprinkle of blueberries to your morning cereal; have a serving of mixed beans in dressing with your lunch; add carrots, broccoli and peas to dinner instead of just one portion of veg.
Where there are gaps, supplements can play a role in supporting energy levels. Solgar Megasorb Vitamin B-Complex provides an extra-high-potency dose of B vitamins to support mental performance and unlock energy from food. Meanwhile, Solgar Omnium, which is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and Solgar Gentle Iron could be useful for those with a restricted diet, such as vegans and vegetarians.
2. Up your exercise game
If you’re low on energy, the last thing you might feel like doing is exercise. However, by adding in just a little every day you could find your energy levels rising as a result. Regular exercise not only boosts mood-enhancing hormones and oxygen circulation; it also impacts the mitochondria.
A mixture of weight-bearing and aerobic exercise (such as running, dancing or tennis) is key. “ATP is produced in the mitochondria, and the number of mitochondria may be increased through exercise – mostly aerobic,” says Marber. “This means exercise does and will help with energy production. Add in weight-bearing activity, which can increase the number of muscle cells, which in turn allows for a little more ATP storage.”
Supplements that can help you on your exercise journey include Solgar Glucosamine MSM, which can help to keep your joints and cartilage nourished, and Solgar 7 Joint Support, which supports mobility, flexibility and range of motion.
3. Step up your sleep quality
Sleep is the foundation of daytime energy as it allows both your mind and body to recover and regenerate. However, even if you get eight hours, quantity isn’t the same as quality.
According to the Sleep Charity, interrupted sleep is as bad for you as getting four hours of sleep: night wakings disrupt the natural sleep rhythm and leave you with poor attention span and a negative mood. High-quality sleep means falling asleep within 15-20 minutes of going to bed, staying asleep all night with a maximum of one waking, and waking up feeling refreshed.
Exposing yourself to natural light (outdoors) for a few minutes soon after you wake up can aid quality sleep. According to Andrew Huberman, associate professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford University, if sunlight reaches your eyes soon after you wake, it triggers a neural circuit that controls the timing of the hormones cortisol and melatonin, which affect sleep.
Consider your diet, too. You may already know which foods and drinks disturb your sleep – think cheese, coffee and alcohol – but a recent report in the A nnual Review of Nutrition found that a healthy diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread and legumes, has been shown to predict better sleep outcomes.
Supplements can be a useful addition to your sleep armoury. Solgar 5-HTP L-5-Hydroxytryptophan Complex Vegetable Capsules contain a powerful combination of nutrients to help increase quality of sleep without increasing total sleep time. In addition, Solgar Chelated Magnesium Tablets provide a key nutrient for energy release and reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
4. Keep stress in check
Stress is a natural part of everyday life – but too much can seriously impact your energy levels.
“Simply put, excessive stress drains your energy because you’re giving out more than you are taking for yourself,” says Dr Touroni. “To feel healthy, we need to do things that nourish us alongside the things we have to do.
“Learn to tune into your needs instead of rushing around expecting to be in productive mode all day, every day. When you get to know yourself better and begin to understand your own vulnerabilities and different emotional states, you can begin to plan each day in a way that takes this into account and protect yourself from tipping into a danger zone when it comes to stress.”
To help you do this, try writing down how you feel at certain points each day. There may be a pattern, such as an afternoon dip in resilience – especially in winter when the sunlight isn’t as strong and days get dark so early. At the times you don’t feel productive or upbeat, incorporate something short but nourishing to shift your mental and physical energy, such as five minutes of meditation or a quick bout of exercise.
Supplements can also help if you’re experiencing high levels of stress. Solgar Ultimate Calm helps promote a positive mood and is useful when you’re feeling under pressure or overwhelmed, and Ultimate Calm Daily is designed to build your resilience to the stresses of modern life and supports your state of mind.
Four supplements which could help…
Join the Solgar Little Big Difference Campaign for a chance to win £1000*
Whatever your ambitions, make sure this is the year your resolutions are still going strong through January and beyond by joining our Little Big Difference campaign – simply complete the form below!
An exciting collaboration with supplement brand Solgar, Little Big Difference will provide you with all the support you need to help you achieve those goals.
Join the Little Big Difference community to access expert support and information to help you achieve your wellness goals. Plus Five pledgers will each win a three-month supply of Solgar supplements worth £160 and £1,000 to put towards their resolutions, while 10 more will win the supplement package.
- Vitamin and supplement brand Solgar has been helping people make little changes to their habits that have a big impact on their well-being for 75 years. This year Solgar wants to help even more of us feel better, work smarter and train harder so it has joined forces to bring you the Little Big Difference campaign, which will provide you with all the support you need to reach your goals. You can start by setting out your 2022 ambitions at my little big difference.co.uk . Sharing your goals publicly can help keep you on track and boost your motivation. *PLUS five pledgers will each win a three-month supply of Solgar supplements worth £160 and £1,000 to put towards their resolutions, while 10 more will win the supplement package.