Exhausted? How to Get Your Energy Back

Q: I'm exhausted! What can I do to get my energy back?

A: Spreading yourself thin is an invitation for illness, as fatigue muffles immune response. Keep your body in fighting form with these stay-strong strategies.

Maintain a balance of whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables, says nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of The "Flexitarian Diet." Our nutrient-rich Sardine Crostini boost energy by stabilizing blood-sugar levels and preventing the dramatic dips that lead to lethargy. 

And drink plenty of water: Dehydration (sometimes unexpected in winter) can bring on fatigue too.

If you're exhausted, you're likely not getting enough sleep. A recent report in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who sleep less than seven hours a night are almost three times more likely to develop a respiratory infection than those who get eight hours or more. 

Help yourself unwind with relaxing herbs like lemon balm or valerian, or try melatonin (especially if you're jet-lagged from holiday travel), which regulates sleep cycles.

A rousing morning workout will make you feel more focused and able to manage your busy day. To recharge, you need downtime -- but not much. New research from Mindlab International in the U.K. shows that just 6 minutes of leisure reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent. 

The key is getting lost in a distraction -- reading, bathing, listening to music -- which slows your heart and breathing rates and helps you relax.

Read more from our Winter Wellness Guide.

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