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Has your get up and go got up and gone? Charmaine Yabsley talks to top holistic health experts about how to recharge your body, mind and soul.

1. Here comes the sun

Did you know that sunlight communicates with your brain? “Sunlight enters through the pupils in your eyes and tells the tiny pineal gland in your brain to release the chemical serotonin, which revs up your body and mood,” explains naturopath Kate Troup. “Research proves that the brain’s serotonin levels are directly related to the amount of bright sunlight you receive. Sunglasses reduce the amount of sun that reaches your brain though, so take them off and enjoy a little morning sun.”

2. Put the kettle on

“Ginseng tea – or ren-shen in Chinese herbal medicine - is an energy tonic and fantastic to recharge your batteries,” says acupuncturist Kim Gatenby. “It raises your blood pressure ands energy levels naturally, keeping you buzzing all day long. Ginseng tea also has a stimulating effect on brain cells, so it’s great for when your mind is a little foggy. Another great side effect is a stronger immune system - bonus!”

3. Give yourself a break

“Psychologists say that people who use their holiday allowance in bursts rather than all in one go are happier,” says Craig Crooks of Yamba’s Big4 Holiday Park. “People who take mini-breaks have more happy memories than those who holiday for an extended period of time. The secret lies in choosing the right venue. If you have children then sometimes a holiday isn't really a holiday unless there are programmes to entertain them while you grab some 'me-time'. Plus, doing activities together can recharge you by
strengthening your relationships. Hire bikes, go swimming or kayaking together and simply enjoy being present with your family.”

4.Cut the caffeine

“Studies show that small, frequent amounts of caffeine provide the benefits of one larger dose – including improved mental alertness, improved performance during exercise, and converting fat stores to energy - without the negative side-effects,” says Jacqui Nolan-Neylan, developer of Reddies Energy Strips. “Our sugar-free Strips contain just 40mg of caffeine, the same amount as half a cup of coffee, and are less than a calorie each.”

5. Don't skip breakfast

“Did you know breakfast means ‘break the fast’?” asks nutritionist Jan McLeod. “Overnight your body is in a fasting state, using stored energy supplies to maintain blood sugar. A good breakfast promotes stable blood sugar levels, and allows you to concentrate, think clearly, and be as active as required. You cannot go past oats in the form of natural untoasted or Bircher muesli, or in winter, porridge. Or, have an egg and sliced tomato on a healthy grain or gluten-free toast.”

6. Count to six

“Energy boils down to six steps,” says accredited practising dietitian Vicki Ma. “Go low GI – foods with lower glycemic index (GI) provide longer lasting energy; get moving –exercise increases oxygen flow around the body, providing more energy and upping metabolism; sleep at least 7-8 hours a night; stay hydrated; and chill out –unwind and relax!”

7. Tap into positivity

"Positive EFT is an energy technique where we gently tap on meridian points of the face, body and hands, and focus on what we want more of,” explains energy therapist Kelly Burch. “For example, I ask myself, 'How do I want to feel right now?' and then I use the answer - 'amazing!, 'energised!' 'happy!' - as my focus with the tapping. It takes just three minutes to do a round. It is a great way to turbocharge affirmations and start the day feeling light, bright and clear."

8. Go green

“Fresh green juices and smoothies alkalise, cleanse and purify your system - they're an incredible way to put a spring in your step,” says Rebecca Weller, founder of Vegan Sparkles. “With the fibre removed, juices are easy to digest so the nutrients flood straight into your system. Adding healthy fats like avocado or raw almond butter to a green smoothie keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. This is my favourite energising green juice recipe: Chop and juice 4 celery stalks (including leaves), 2 small green apples, 1-inch knob ginger, peeled, ½ lemon, peeled, and ½ yellow beetroot, peeled.”

9.Stretch it out

“Well-stretched muscles hold less tension and therefore leave you feeling less stressed,” explains Flavia Abbate of BodyBolster. “It also improves mechanical efficiency, overall functional performance and prepares the body for exercise. Improve your circulation even while sitting at your desk by pumping your feet on a BodyBolster – this also boosts higher energy and concentration levels.”

10. Up your veggie intake

“A recent survey revealed that Australians fall well short of the recommended daily intake of vegetables published by the National Health and Medical Research Council,” warns consultant dietitian Joel Feren. “Not only do vegetables ward off disease, but they contain significant amounts of bioactive components that afford numerous desirable benefits – improved immunity, heart, vision and brain healthy and function as well as increasing your exercise tolerance. Make vegetables the centrepiece of your meals and eat at least five different-coloured ones daily.”

11. Tend your emotional energy

“We manage physical energy with physical actions like eating better and exercising,” says life coach Cate Skolnik. “But emotional energy is a different matter: having a bad day can leave us wiped out, despite being physically fit. Consider your emotional energy as a bank, and ensure you make deposits, in the form of things you enjoy, to counteract withdrawals, things which you don’t. Energy deposits don’t have to take
up the same proportion of the day as withdrawals, but you need to pop in one or more every day. They can be simple - watching the sunrise, laughing, or making someone else’s day – even in a small way.”

12. Go for gold

“Diet has a huge effect on your mental state and eating the wrong foods can make you sluggish and unmotivated,” says nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara. “Add turmeric to your diet. It activates genes that keep your brain clear of waste build-up that causes inflammation which weakens or destroys brain cells. Population studies reveal a lower incidence of Alzheimer's in India, where turmeric is much used. This spice’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are so great that I recommend having a teaspoon every day. Adding some to eggs in the morning, sprinkle over roasted veggies or blend into a smoothie or freshly squeezed juice.”

12. Walk barefoot in the park

“In Japan it’s called shinrin-yoku or ‘forest bathing’ - we simply call it walking in nature,” says life advisor Luke Sheedy. “Regardless of name, the restorative powers are overwhelming. Nature provides everything we need to revive mind, body and spirit. Fresh, clean air, the harmony of flora and fauna and healing powers of the sun’s rays gently focus our attention to the now. The earth is made up of natural energy in the form of electrons, the most powerful of energy sources. When we are barefoot, we absorb this positive energy, counteracting any negative energy we hold.”

14. Say O

Antimicrobial olive leaf extract (OLE) has traditionally been used for supporting the immune system and relieving symptoms of colds, flu, coughs and fever. “Research shows that OLE contains a strong broad spectrum of over 20 antioxidants, including oleuropein, a polyphenol compound, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants,” adds naturopath Stephen Eddey.

15. Hug an octopus

“Take a MyOki – that’s short for ‘my octopus’ and it’s actually a luxurious wheat and lavender pillow-scarf with ‘arms’. Warm it in the microwave for three minutes, find a comfy spot, wrap it around your entire body, and take a nice deep breath,” suggests founder Kerry Lorenz. “Ten minutes later the warm and calming lavender will clear your mind, relax your nervous system and completely de-stress you.”

15. Dip in

“Refuel at morning or afternoon tea with this dip,” says Donna Abate, programme director at Gwinganna Health Retreat. “The chickpeas and tahini are a great source of vegetable protein and the carrot and orange provide vitamin C and beta carotene, which protect cells form free radical damage, as well as carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the first available source of energy to the body and protein is fundamental for muscle repair and production of hormones and enzymes. The good fats in the chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil and tahini add anti-inflammatory properties, the coriander and cumin are antiviral, and sea salt alleviates sore muscles.”
Cut 4 carrots into chunks, seasons with 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and curry powder, and steam or bake till tender. Meanwhile soak and cook 1 ½ cups chickpeas in lightly salted water. Strain and puree in food processor with 10ml chickpea liquid, ½ cup tahini, juice and zest of 1 orange, and sea salt to taste.

17. Ban sugar

“The likely things we turn to for a pick-me-up are caffeine or sugary foods,” adds Abate. “Both are stimulants that instigate a short-lived dumping of sugar in your bloodstream, leading to further poor food choices, probable weight gain, and ongoing fatigue. Choose a protein-based snack instead, such as nuts and seeds, or vegetable sticks with hummus. Best of all get outside and connect with nature - a walk in the nearest park will get clean oxygen flowing through your body and energise you.”

18. Take a break

“Just a few days absence from your usual busy schedule can help you recharge,” says Abate. “According to a recent study, we have over 58 million unused annual leave days in Australia! A healthy retreat is even more beneficial, because you will eat nutritious foods, have spa treatments, and undertake gentle restorative activities. At the end of your break, try and maintain some of the positive practices you experienced and incorporate them in your everyday life.”

19. Get intense

"High intensity training is perfect for anyone wishing to turn things around quickly,” says physiotherapist Kusal Goonewardena. “I have a 3:21 workout, which is a three-minute daily workout for 21 days. You don’t need any equipment and you can do the exercises anywhere. The workout involves six exercises, for 30 seconds each: sit-ups, push-ups, shadow boxing, star jumps, high-knee running on the spot, and squat jumps. It’s important to push yourself to 85 percent with each exercise – it must be high intensity - but not to push into pain; if an exercise isn’t tolerable, don’t persevere. Instead, change it slightly so you can tolerate it and still continue at 85 percent. The workout improves arm strength, leg strength, conditions your body to anticipate more exercise, and helps cardiovascular health."

20. Be sweet

“Cocoa contains theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that gives us a mild energy boost without the jitters,” explains wholefood dietitian Larina Robinson. “It also contains anandamide, the chemical that helps to make us feel blissful, and tryptophan and serotonin to perk up our mood. Enjoy a few pieces of either dark or raw chocolate, like Pana or Loving Earth.”

21. Sip peppermint tea

“Studies show the aroma of peppermint keeps us alert and focused, while improving our memory,” adds Robinson. “Drink a cup whenever you need a gentle pick-me-up.”

Meet our experts
Kate Troup, naturopath and founder of W8less, www.w8less.com.au
Kim Gatenby, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, www.kimgatenby.com
Craig Crooks, manager, Big4 Holiday Park, Saltwater at Yamba, www.big4.com.au
Jacqui Nolan-Neylan, developer of Reddies Energy Strips, www.reddiesenergy.com
Jan McLeod, nutritionist and health coach, Mad for Health, www.madforhealth.com.au
Vicki Ma, accredited practising dietitian, Eat for Wellness, www.eatforwellness.com.au
Kelly Burch, energist, Transformations With Kelly Burch, www.kellyburch.com.au
Rebecca Weller, founder, Vegan Sparkles, www.VeganSparkles.com
Flavia Abbate, www.bodybolster.com
Cate Scolnik, life coach, sociologist and writer, www.changemylane.com
Cyndi O'Meara, nutritionist, Changing Habits, www.changinghabits.com.au
Luke Sheedy, life advisor, motivator, counsellor and author, www.lukesheedy.com
Stephen Eddey, nutritionist, naturopath and Principal of Health Schools Australia, www.olea.com.au
Kerry Lorenz, founder, Myoki, www.myoki.net
Donna Abate, programme director, Gwinganna Health Retreat, www.gwinganna.com.au
Kusal Goonewardena, physiotherapist, founder of Elite Akademy, www.eliteakademy.com
Larina Robinson, wholefood dietitian, APD and founder of The Body Dietetics www.thebodydietetics.com.au