It’s that time of year again. With the constant darkness and the cold, many of us are feeling – and looking – a little tired. Personally, I blame the fact that I’m pretty sure outside the hours of 10 to three it is straight-up midnight all the time.

If you’re feeling a little rundown, you may find yourself reaching for coffee, sugar, or other stimulants. While these options can offer a temporary boost, the artificial energy they offer can lead to extreme fluctuations and act like a stressor on your body, both of which can further lower energy levels.

Instead, try the following herbs and options for a more balanced approach to waking your brain and body up this winter. These herbs work to give you a boost by supporting different systems in the body that are connected with energy levels.

Ashwaganda

This ayurvedic herb acts like an adaptogen when it comes to supporting your endocrine system. Your endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce the hormones, which regulate sleep, energy, metabolism, and more. When this system is not functioning optimally, fatigue is common. As an adaptogen, Ashwaganda helps out where it is needed to provide full system support, which leads to overall better physical and mental energy levels.

Ginseng

Ginseng root is used extensively to relieve fatigue and boost energy levels. While there are many varieties, it is often Panax Ginseng that is used for this purpose. It can help with cognitive function by providing mental clarity and energy. If you have never taken ginseng before, start slowly as for some people it can lead to hyperactivity and a feeling of anxiousness.

Ginkgo

This herb can help boost energy levels and reduce stress. Ginkgo does this through improving our circulation allowing for better nutrient exchange with our cells, which offers more of the energy source they need.

Reduce stress levels

Chronic stress can come from work, diet, exercise, and stimulants such as caffeine. The body’s response from stress – whatever the cause – is a cascade of hormones from the adrenal glands that temporarily provide us with a boost of adrenaline and its related energy as we prepare to fight or run. When we experience this stress over many days or months, our body’s ability to effectively respond wears out as our adrenal glands become exhausted. When these glands are not able to do their job, one of the common symptoms is a feeling of chronic fatigue. Furthermore, when we do experience a stressful episode, our body is unable to handle it and we may be met with a heightened sense of exhaustion.

During times of increased stress, there is also a greater demand for nutrients and resources from our bodies. Long-term stress can use up our nutrient supply diverting it from other body functions and needs. The resulting nutrient deficiency can also lead to fatigue.

With the dark and tired months stretching ahead, take care of yourself and focus on a wellness routine that can help boost your energy levels in a gentle and supportive way.