The daily grind can really bog us down. Whether it’s to get through meetings, meet seemingly impossible deadlines, juggle responsibilities at work and home, or stick to a challenging fitness routine, we all need an energy boost sometimes.
While the simplest answer to this might be energy drinks and bars, they usually cause crashes that make you feel sluggish for the rest of the day. They might also aggravate stress, depression, and anxiety.1 Thankfully, you can skip the short-term stuff and opt for sustainable and effective ways to power through your day. Here are seven ways to do just that.
Forget the morning coffee and start your day with a series of energizing stretches. These will help you burn calories, release any aches and pains, boost your mood
- Overhead stretch: Extend your arms over your head and stretch from your toes to your fingertips.
- Knee to chest stretch: Lay on your back on the floor with your feet flat (on the floor) and slightly apart. Bring one knee to your chest while keeping the other leg bent. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the opposite knee.
- Hamstring stretch: In the same position as the earlier stretch, grab one leg and pull it towards you. Straighten the leg as far as comfortable. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the opposite knee.
- Knees to chest: Bring both knees to your chest and hold your legs. Don’t raise your head or tense your neck.
Add a few back, chest, trunk, and side stretches to this routine. Hold each stretch for at least three breaths. To up the intensity slightly, add squats and power walking to the routine.2
A quick meditation session might just be what you need when you’re having a difficult day. It is believed to improve focus and attention.3 It also reduces stress, blood pressure, and symptoms of anxiety.4
So, whenever you find the time, head to a quiet space and meditate. You could start off by simply focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Additionally, there are a lot of apps online that could assist you through your practice.
3. Listen To Music
Take regular breaks and when do you, plug on your earphones and listen to your favorite tunes. Research states that music has a positive impact on anxiety and fatigue.5 It also enhances your performance during exercise. So if you’re at the gym after a tiring day, be sure to have your playlist on repeat.6
4. Eat Smaller Meals
Shorten your lunch break and eat smaller meals throughout the day. This is important because the brain has very few energy reserves of its own and hence, needs a steady supply of nutrients.
By spacing your meals out, you’ll change the brain’s perception of fatigue and avoid that afternoon slump. However, be sure to keep the snacks and meals nutritious.7
Although this sounds like generic advice, drinking water regularly is essential to prevent fatigue. This is because water is the main component of blood and carries nutrients to the cells, while taking away waste products from it. If your body is short on fluids, fatigue is the first thing you’ll feel.
Although sports drinks combine water with certain nutrients and electrolytes, these “extras” don’t give you extra energy for everyday activities. So, be sure to fill your bottle as often as you can, especially if you’re exercising continuously for longer than 30 minutes.8
6. Wear Warm Colors
If you haven’t slept for days and have got an important meeting coming up, then pick out something yellow, red, or orange from your wardrobe. These colors have a positive
7. Be Smart About Coffee
Coffee is most people’s favorite energy booster. And, while you could down cups after cups of coffee to help you get through a sluggish day, it isn’t going to do you any favors. Caffeine after 2 p.m might lead to insomnia and that, in turn, might cause fatigue the next day.
Instead, sip on a cup of coffee right before an important meeting or presentation. This will help you stay alert and sharpen your mind. But, if you’re just sitting at your desk, you might be better off snacking instead.10
Besides these tips, do limit your alcohol intake, especially for lunch because it causes the mid-afternoon
|↑1||Richards, Gareth, and Andrew P. Smith. “A review of energy drinks and mental health, with a focus on stress, anxiety, and depression.” Journal of caffeine research 6, no. 2 (2016): 49-63.|
|↑2||Five-minute wake-up workout. National Health Service, UK.|
|↑3||Mograbi, Gabriel José Corrêa. “Meditation and the brain: Attention, control and emotion.” Mens sana monographs 9, no. 1 (2011): 276.|
|↑4||8 Things to Know About Meditation for Health. US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑6||Karageorghis, Costas I., and David-Lee Priest. “Music in the exercise domain: a review and synthesis (Part II).” International review of sport and exercise psychology 5, no. 1 (2012): 67-84.|
|↑7, ↑8||Eating to boost energy. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑9||Dzulkifli, Mariam Adawiah, and Muhammad Faiz Mustafar. “The influence of colour on memory performance: A review.” The Malaysian journal of medical sciences: MJMS 20, no. 2 (2013): 3.|
|↑10||Eating to boost energy. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑11||9 tips to boost your energy — naturally. Harvard Health Publishing.|