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19th May 2020

Mental Health Awareness: Boost your energy in 10 easy steps

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Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 18-24 May 2020; it aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote positive wellbeing. It provides an opportunity for you and your organisation to add mental health to the wider conversation. 

Especially now that the nation is in lockdown with drastically limited freedoms, keeping yourself mentally healthy is critical. During the Mental Health Awareness Week, QCS will be sharing tips on how to stay positive for different groups. 

After the 100 suggestions on 0ne to one activities by our partner, NAPA yesterday, today we have 10 tips on how to boost your energy by Helen Benfield, an experienced food magazine editor. You can also download and share our easy read 10 tips with your friends, family and colleagues with the download button above! 


Your default setting may be to care for others first, but now is the time to be kind to yourself, too. That includes making sure you have the energy reserves to work as hard as you are and have some leftover for when you’re not on duty. By making just a few small tweaks to what you eat, you’ll be amazed at how soon you will start to feel more energised.

1 Wake-up call

We all know water is hydrating and helps increase energy levels. Create a new habit to drink a glass of water when you wake and one last thing at night so that you’ve had at least had two glasses every day.

2. Go to work on an egg

The advice from this advertising slogan still stands. Boil half a dozen eggs at a time, they keep safely in the fridge for a few days, then enjoy with toast for a nutritious breakfast. Eggs are packed with B12, which is a vital vitamin for protecting the digestive and nervous system as well as increasing energy levels.

3 Snacks with benefits

For a healthy snack try a small pot of houmous or nut butter with slices of apple. (Core and slice an apple, then hold the slices together with an elastic band and, magically, the apple won’t turn brown). The healthy fat in the dip will help to balance the sweetness of the apple, which in turn will give you a longer-lasting energy boost.

4 Be more caffeine aware

Tea and coffee may be on tap at your workplace, and when you’re busy it’s hard to resist a cuppa. Nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens’ top tip is to increase your energy and sharpen your mind by saving your first tea or coffee until after 10am (when natural cortisol levels drop). Enjoy your last one before 2pm, so your caffeine levels don’t interfere with restful sleep. If you work a shift pattern count back nine or 10 hours before bedtime.

5 Ready, steady… drink milk

Why not try the runners’ trick and have a glass of the white stuff? It’s carb-rich and full of protein as well as being easy to digest, so will rehydrate you and boost your energy levels. If you don’t drink cow’s milk, then unsweetened soy drink is a good alternative.

6 Go bananas

Packed with carbohydrates and good-for-you vitamins, bananas are the ultimate go-to food for energy. Amazingly, they’re also ideal for relaxing tired muscles, which promotes sleep. Good sleep = more energy. Win win!

7 Keep calm and eat chocolate

Swap your usual fix for the dark variety – it contains immune-boosting nutrients. Kerry Torrens suggests tagging it on to a meal, rather than as a standalone treat, as this ensures the sugars it supplies provide a steadier source of energy and helps avoid a sugar crash later in the day.

8 Follow your gut instincts

According to Mind, the mental health charity, your gut can reflect how you are feeling emotionally. Stress or anxiety can make it slow down or speed up. A breakfast, or mid-shift snack, made in advance, of oats, live natural yogurt and fruit will not only satisfy hunger pangs, your gut will be grateful as well.

9 Pack a nutritional punch

Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables as they are as beneficial as fresh. Bulk up a salad by mixing cans of mixed beans and can of sweetcorn with whatever veg you have in the fridge or freezer. Sprinkle some cheese, like feta, or sliced cooked chicken on top, add a drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice – nutritious and ready to go in under five minutes.

10 If you only do one thing…

Too many suggestions, not enough time? Try one of the above every day for a week and by the end of day seven you should notice a difference in how you feel. Add one more tip each week and see how your energy levels start improving.

While all the facts have been checked by experts, this is not medical advice so please do make sure to check in with your doctor – if you need to.

More about Helen:

Helen Benfield is a food magazine editor, lifestyle writer and blogger who for over 20 years has worked for BBC Good Food, Olive and Sainsbury's Magazine, amongst others. Helen is a trained chef and has written a number of cookery books . She is passionate about food and believes that you don’t have to have a fancy gym membership and follow the latest food trends to make small changes in your lifestyle that will have a positive impact on your wellbeing.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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