Expert advice


What if vitality is missing?

Your lifestyle and phase of life – such as menopause - have an effect on your vitality, your personal energy supply. You can boost energy by doing things you enjoy, but energy can also drain away if you have an unhealthy diet, don’t get enough sleep, or suffer from work stress or lack of purpose, for example. This is not good for your vitality and you’ll notice that you become tired and listless. Simple tasks can become overwhelming and you don't feel like doing anything..

Six vitality boosts

1. Eat healthy food
Your body generates the energy you need to lead a full, active life. You need to provide it with the right quantity and quality of food to ensure that you have all the nutrients required for optimal health and vitality. Eat healthy foods, as varied and as fresh as possible. If it is possible to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet, do so. Research shows that the nutritional quality of fruit and vegetables has deteriorated in recent decades. Increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet makes sense. Foods rich in magnesium contribute to a calm, restful mood and extra energy.1 Magnesium can for example be found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, avocados, bananas and oily fish.

2. Keep exercising (or preferably, start exercising more)
Exercising gives you energy. Regular exercise is most important. You don’t need to do athletics or spend hours in the gym. Just taking a walk each day provides extra vitality. Even housework, such as cleaning, ironing and gardening, can make a positive contribution to your vitality. Where and how you exercise is less important than making sure you do some exercise regularly. This keeps your body fit and calms your mind - important for combating stress.2

3. Get enough sleep
You may often feel that there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, it is important to keep regular sleep patterns and go to bed on time. You need your sleep to recover, both physically and mentally. Turn off your computer, television and telephone at least an hour before going to sleep. Stop drinking coffee and alcohol in the evening and earlier in the day, if possible. Research shows that consuming caffeine late in the day disrupts sleep. According to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation, caffeine blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increases adrenaline production. Disrupted sleep is not helpful for women dealing with stressful lifestyles. It is best to avoid eating a heavy meal late evening, before going to bed, as this puts a big demand on your digestive system and can keep you awake. And make sure there's a rhythm to your sleeping pattern: go to bed and get up at fixed times. Sleep will help restore your vitality.

4. Know what you want
If you know what you want, then you also know what's important in your life and what's not. This makes it easier to make choices. Perhaps you have a tendency to cross out "the fun stuff" in order to gain time. If so, then keep in mind that you're crossing out the things that give you joy and energy. That’s a shame and it is worth changing this behavior if possible. When setting priorities, you need to be able to say "no". Don’t feel guilty - this is an important life skill: it reduces stress and puts you back in control.

5. Say farewell to the energy guzzlers
Some things in your life give you energy and some take a lot of energy. Investigate this, identify the energy guzzlers and benefit from this knowledge. Seek out the company of people who give you positive energy and avoid those who don't. Do the things you enjoy and where possible, stop or delegate those things you don't enjoy which use a lot of your energy. If you develop an understanding of what drains your energy with no positive return (the energy guzzlers!), it becomes easier to find creative solutions.

6. Stop the stress

Last, but not least, limit stress. Some stress is natural and useful, while too much drains your energy and is disasterous for your vitality. Today stress is a recognized as a worldwide public health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that approximately 450 million people worldwide are concerned with stress. Everybody will experience stress at some stage in life. However, the impact of ongoing stress can be damaging to your health and wellbeing.

If you feel tense and anxious, you’ll use up a lot of energy without positive gains. Do something relaxing every day to keep stress away Walk regularly, practice breathing exercises, do some sport, listen to music you love or just spend some time with good friends. This will do wonders for your vitality.

References

1.Sartori, S. B., Whittle, N., Hetzenauer, A. & Singewald, N. Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology 62, 304–312 (2012).
2.Viña, J., Sanchis-Gomar, F., Martinez-Bello, V. & Gomez-Cabrera, M. C. Exercise acts as a drug; The pharmacological benefits of exercise. Br. J. Pharmacol. 167, 1–12 (2012).


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