Almost everyone I know seems to be running on empty right now. It’s been a long year (despite feeling like it’s hurtled by, in many ways), but the ‘finishing line’ – the Christmas break – is in sight. The big question: how to keep going till then? Especially when there are office parties, visits to relatives, presents to buy/wrap/deliver, and meals to cook? It’s a tough time of year, energy-wise. And if you don’t keep your reserves topped up, there’s a risk of stopping on Christmas Eve – and coming down with the ‘flu or a cold, as your body’s way of saying ‘enough’s enough’. (I’d be lying if I didn’t say that’d happened to me, in years past.)
Happily, I’m mostly the Duracell bunny, energy-wise – but then I work on it. Pretty much on a daily basis, with the supplements I take: I can literally tell the difference in just days if I stop taking my Daily Energy, and if I know I’ve got a particularly challenging time coming up, I prepare with a ‘course’ of Sibergin, which I think of as booster fuel. I am eternally grateful to the wondrous Gill for introducing me to these, which I fully expect to take for the rest of my life. (That bouncy 93-year-old? That’ll be me.)
Here’s what else I do, though.
- Quite often if I’m feeling sluggish, it’s simply because I need to eat – and proper fuel. Cake and chips will fix that fast (and I love a chip with mayo as much as the next woman – probably more so), but I know my body well enough to understand that green vegetables, tofu and brown rice are the way to go. Failing that, wholewheat sourdough bread toasted, with Marmite (for the B vitamins), if it’s got to be a snack. My breakfast these days is all about energy-boosting, too: since I bought my Nutribullet (which I basically want to marry), I now whiz up a smoothie each morning with blueberries, soya milk, sometimes apple and/or banana, and a generous spoonful of Amazing Grass Green Energy Green Superfood, which Sarah got me onto. I will admit that sometimes I find myself drinking a smoothie the colour of a Royal Navy battleship, but looks can be deceptive: it’s delicious – and it sustains me, and my energy levels, till lunchtime. (And for a quick fix, obviously I go for a few squares of Green & Black’s 70% Chocolate!)
- I stay rehydrated. I find if I don’t drink plenty of water in the daytime, my energy dips. I bought a very ‘bling’ vacuum jug in Dubai, and it lives on my desk, topping up my supplies during the day.
- I give myself permission to enjoy regular TLC. Women, I often observe, are terrible at this. We look after everyone else, and short-change ourselves – and that’s the fast track to ‘running on empty’. I consider it my responsibility to stay well, healthy and energised, because I have a team which depends on me being fighting fit. So I do book regular massages, manicures, and spend an hour a week at John Frieda having not just a fabulous blow-dry, but a ‘chillout’ session: no laptop, no work, just me-time. I liken it to that in-flight message which instructs you to put the mask on yourself before you put it on someone else; if you don’t take care of yourself first and foremost, you don’t have enough left over to take care of anyone else. (And good hair always, always makes you feel better, too!)
- I pace myself. I always get an early night on Thursdays, which might sound slightly random, but it gives me the energy to power through Friday. Otherwise, juggling The Perfume Society (www.perfumesociety.org), Beauty Bible, speaking commitments and heaven knows what else, I’m on my knees by the tail-end of the week, feeling like I’m wading through treacle. I’ll have uncompleted tasks on Friday evening, and will start the weekend with a cloud hanging over me. It’s not good, hence the Thursday night rule.
- I walk everywhere. Walking doesn’t sap my energy; it revs it up. I live in flat shoes so that I can walk from A to B, and my car hardly gets used. If it’s nasty out, I bought a secondhand treadmill and I use that, to ensure I get at least 20 minutes of walking a day. (And so long as I do that, I can pretty much eat what I like, too.) As someone who has a basically sedentary life, if I feel my energy dipping during the day I’ll go outside and grab a 20-minute power walk. Often, I get the flash of inspiration I need to complete a project – and I return to my desk refreshed, renewed and revived. People say to me, ‘I don’t have the time to do that?’ But I feel like I don’t have the time NOT to: if I have a good walk, it everything feels easier.
Which isn’t to say that I’m not looking forward to a long lie-down at the end of December, like the rest of the world! And I wish you a relaxing time, too – to recharge those batteries…