Do you have a daily energy dip? For me, it’s 4.30pm.
I’ve done a full day in the office and I get into the car to do the school run, and my entire body just goes… ugh. It would take very little for me to get in the back of the car for a snooze.
Sadly, that’s not acceptable behaviour on the school run. Instead, I reach for a bar of chocolate or a giant cup of coffee and plough through. It works to a degree, but I’m aware that caffeine makes me feel even MORE stressed during a busy day.
Since Flea started senior school, life has got more hectic. There’s work and school, of course. But it’s the stuff that you have to fit in around that, isn’t it? Hockey, climbing club, skateboard lessons, Scouts, Beaver Scouts (for me, not Flea), walking the dog. Oh, and housework, laundry, remembering to pay bills, and buy food each week.
Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting with different strategies to try and boost my energy. I’m especially focused on those times of day when I feel most tired – first thing, and late afternoon.
I’ve switched to porridge for breakfast. I don’t believe anybody wakes up and thinks, “Hurrah! Can’t wait to eat my porridge,” but you get used to it. Oats provide slow release energy, which is perfect for giving you energy throughout the day. They’re also high in fibre and can help control cholesterol levels, so you can feel suitably smug for the rest of the morning!
My preferred porridge is topped with blueberries and sliced banana or apple slices, with a drizzle of agave syrup for sweetness. It keeps me full until lunchtime so I’m less likely to start snacking on biscuits at 11am.
Along with a hearty breakfast, can I take a moment to sing the praises of the NEOM nourish and energise range? Their hand cream combines 16 essential oils that promote alertness and lift the spirits, and I have some on my desk to apply each morning.
As soon as I get into the office, it’s full on. So, I’ve found taking an hour to swim first leaves me with more energy for the rest of the day. I use a swimming walkman, and I find it really helps me relax into the swim and forget about work/domestic/personal worries. My local YMCA has a fab pool halfway between Flea’s school and my office, so there’s really no excuse!
Nairn’s recently sent me a selection of their Oat Cakes to try.
Now normally, my experience of oatcakes is limited to topping them with cheese at Christmas, but it turns out they’re a bit more flexible than that!
At lunchtime during the week, I usually buy lunch from a local sandwich shop and I often get a pot of soup. Rather than having a bread roll, I have found that switching out the bread for a packet of oat cakes makes a great alternative, and avoids that post-lunch carb coma you can get when you scoff too much bread.
The Nairn’s rough-milled oatcakes are perfect for the office because they come in handy portion-sized packets, so you can scoff a few, and the rest of the packet stays fresh. As with the porridge at breakfast, oatcakes are great for keeping you fuller for longer, and they’re high in fibre, too.
This is the time of day I’m most likely to struggle – I’ve finished work, but still need to do the school run, and maybe fit in grocery shopping, or some other activity.
We don’t eat dinner until 8pm, so it’s all too easy at 5pm to pick up a stack of biscuits or a giant cappuccino to keep me going. At this point, those Nairn’s oatcakes come into their own. Flea has taken to grabbing a handful of the cheese mini oatcakes when she comes home from school, with a handful of fruit.
Personally, I’ve found the thinner, fine-milled oatcakes are absolutely a-ma-zing topped with guacamole, or houmous (hummus, if you’re American). It’s a super healthy snack with slow release energy from the oatcakes, plus lots of protein from the houmous. Flea won’t consider either of these options, but would eat oat cakes topped with 0% greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey, or sliced banana.
As an added bonus, it takes precisely 10 seconds of prep to top a couple of oatcakes when you’re in a rush. And like most families, I suspect, we always have houmous in the fridge (national hummus emergency shortages aside).
As an added tip, I find what I drink at this time of day is easily as important as what I eat – chugging a glass of water with a snack definitely helps to keep me alert.
So those are my top tips for boosting your energy through the day – what are yours? Thanks to Nairn’s for supplying me with a huge range of oatcakes to try, and for helping me to switch up some of my food habits to help me feel more energetic.