As Winter Solstice approaches and the holidays are in full swing, many people struggle with finding the extra reserves to get going every morning or make it through the afternoon energy lull. Add to that a less than ideal diet (possibly a few too many egg nog lattes?) and perhaps a fall from well-intended workout regimes, and your body (and mind) likely needs a boost.

Here are few ways to make sure you maximize your energy this season:

  1. Sleep: Quality sleep every night is key to maintaining energy throughout the day. Make sure your room is as dark as possible andno computer (or phone) screen time at least 30 minutes before your shut your eyes. Try to get to bed before midnight so you don’t upset your circadian rhythmand wake at the same time every day of the week to keep your body on schedule.
  2. Exercise: Aim to move your body everyday. Our modern lifestyles put us in the car and in front of the computer too frequently. Adding movement into your day helps increase your energy by getting your blood pumping! Increase your body’s circulation of immune cells, endorphins and get oxygen to your brain to stay sharp and feel great. Keep it simple by picking something you love to do.Encourage a friend or family member to join you, and go for it. Think about tai chi, wintertime beach walks, restorative yoga, indoor climbing, and dance lessons.
  3. Caffeine: Curtail caffeine intake. Caffeine can actually drain your already low energy reserves. Try swapping out one cup of joe per day for an energizing herbal tea. Herbal teas such as nettles, peppermint or tulsi (holy basil) offer great energy-boosting potential.
  4. Power Foods: Focus on lean meats, fresh fish, unsalted nuts, seasonal fruits and veggies which all provide nutrient dense nourishment but don’t bog the body down in the energy-intensive digestive process.
  5. Vitamin D: This time of year we are missing out on our sunshine quotient and many people need to supplement their Vitamin D. Low Vitamin D levels can leave you feeling run-down, depressed, and immune compromised. A starting dose of 2,000 iu per day of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is generally sufficient throughout our dark Pacific Northwest winters. Have your levels checked at your doctor’s office to determine your specific needs.
  6. IV or IM nutrients: Stress and poor digestion can lead todecreased absorptionof the nutrients that you are ingesting, either through foods or supplements. Nutrients such as Vitamin B12, B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Calcium can be given intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly (IM) so that you get the concentrated effects. B12 injections can be a great way to combat fatigue and mental exhaustion.

Still feeling fatigued? Make an appointment with your doctor to consider advanced testing. Long-term fatigue could be a sign of a chronic illness, food intolerance or hormone imbalance.