Have you ever suffered from an ENERGY SHORTAGE? Maintaining healthy energy levels and conquering drowsiness before it overwhelms your mind can be a challenge without the help of caffeine, taurine and drugs. And with the abundance of energy drinks and coffee shops conveniently located all around us, finding an unnatural, unhealthy energy boost is easy. Taking the unhealthy way out certainly allows you to be wide awake and wired, but unfortunately your health pays the price for it.
It doesnt have to be that way. There are healthy, natural ways to boost your energy and stay awake and alert when you must. Here are my top healthy ways to PUMP up your energy, I hope it gives you some fun options to try next time the 2pm afternoon slump has you reaching for drugs, caffeine, or candy!
Caroline’s All Natural Ways to PUMP up your energy
- Turn on all the lights. Darkness promotes fatigue and laziness. Turn on every light in the room.
- Go outdoors. Getting some fresh air outdoors is always a good way to rouse your senses.
- Be mindful about your meds. Many drugs, including blood pressure medication and some birth control pills, can affect energy. Antibiotics can cause strange fluctuations in your strength. If you suspect that your medicine is zinging your stamina, check with your doctor about making a switch.
- Call a close friend. Sometimes a quick conversation with someone you care about is just what you need to boost your mood.
- Eat nutritious snacks. Fruits like raspberries, apples, oranges, and grapefruits are great energy boosters. Heaping scoops of spicy salsa on a few small crackers or a handful of almonds are other great choices. Here are some of my favorite healthy snack ideas to get you started. Stay away from meats, breads and dairy products that are harder to digest and can weigh you down.
- Listen to some fast beat music. If it’s not too much of a distraction, listening to fast beat music can be a great way to keep your mind awake.
- Watch or read something that inspires you. Sometimes all you need is a little mental pep talk. Watch a motivational video, take a live class with an instructor that inspires you, or read some inspirational literature 🙂
- Have a good laugh. Watch a funny video clip or read your favorite comedy blog. A good laugh will stimulate your mind, giving you a renewed level on energy.
- Crank up the AC. Warm, stuffy environments accelerate mental fatigue. If you need to stay awake and energized in a lecture hall or meeting room find an open seat under an AC vent.
- Say NO to an overbooked schedule. Having a non-stop calendar and giving all your energy away to others can leave you feeling drained (and resentful). Be honest with yourself about what you can and want to commit to. Honor your needs first and work on finding your balance. If you are having a tough time, try this rule when presented with an opportunity : If it’s not an absolute YES then its a no. That will make it easy to decide what YOU want to make time for.
- Apply pressure to the top of the back of your neck. – Use your fingertips to apply pressure and lightly massage the top part of the back of your neck for a few minutes.
- Chew sugar-free peppermint gum. – It won’t rot your teeth and that minty taste will make you feel fresh. Strong peppermint flavors seem to work best for me.
- Take light exercise breaks every two hours. Take a break and take a walk or do a couple air squats to get your blood moving. Even the slightest bit of exercise can act as a healthy way to energize your mind and body (and prevent all the pain caused by sitting 🙂
- Have a piece of chocolate. Not too much, but if you’re going to have some candy, it might as well be chocolate. We get an endorphin buzz from chocolate (not to mention the energy boost from the slight bit of caffeine chocolate contains). Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate.
- Write and plan. The idea is to keep your mind busy. If you are attending a lecture or business meeting, write down everything that is said. If you are simply trying to stay awake or re-energize, create a detailed to-do list for the week or plan out your perfect weekend getaway.
- Get yourself some cold water. – Splash some on your face and the pulse area of your wrists. Also, drinking an ice-cold glass of water can help to wake you up and feel alive.
- Stay organized. Avoid losing energy by keeping everything in its place.
- Take a few really deep, controlled breaths. Deep breathing helps reduce stress, a source of fatigue, and increases the level of oxygen in the blood. Techniques can be as simple as inhaling for five seconds, holding your breath for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds. You can also try more elaborate techniques which require different positions. I like using some of these youtube videos.
- Exercise regularly . Ease into exercise, and then keep it up. You should aim to be active for at least 30 minutes each day. Those 30 minutes of exercise will make you feel energized for hours to come. I’ve found exercise most effective on my energy levels when I exercise in the morning. But no matter when you do it, exercise gets the endorphins flowing, which keeps you happy and productive most of the day.
- Eat at least three meals a day. Give yourself lasting energy by keeping your body well fueled. Waiting too long between meals will cause you to crash and burn. Plan ahead and prepare nutritional options in advance so you can eat on a regular schedule and have energy for DAYS.
- Spend your energy wisely. We all have times during the day when our energy levels are at their peak. Know when your energetic moments are, and use this time productively. Often if you get the ball rolling, you won’t stop.
- Practice altruism. By doing good work and good deeds for others you’ll help your energy with enhanced happiness, satisfaction and health.
- Avoid late night television or aimless web browsing. These habits do NOTHING for your health (just junk food for your brain!) Get more sleep instead. Nuff said.
- Stretch. When you feel yourself start to hit a slump, get up, reach towards the sky, bend down and touch your toes, twist your torso from side to side… stretch it out!! Also, certain yoga exercises, including the warrior poses, have been known to reduce fatigue and increase energy levels.
- Take a 15 minute cat nap. A short afternoon nap can be refreshing, and won’t interfere with regular sleep patterns if you do it early enough.
- Limit your sugar consumption. Sugar causes fluctuations in energy that can cause you to crash and burn. Learn to become more aware of your sugar consumption and limit your intake. Here is my guide to watching your sugar levels.
- Eat smaller meals more often. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help you keep your energy up and avoid the groggy feeling that comes with digesting large meals. (can someone say food coma?!)
- Eat whole grains and energy foods. Whole grains have complex carbohydrates that take a while to break down, providing you with energy that lasts. Some of the best high energy foods include sunflower seeds, beans, fruit or fruit juices, eggs, yogurt, nuts and vegetables.
- Choose lean protein. Foods with lean protein help you feel fuller for longer. They also prevent blood sugar spikes, giving you more steady energy. Lean protein foods include fish and other seafood, lean pork, or chicken breasts (white meat).
- Cut down on coffee and energy drinks. Although coffee can give you a rush of energy, in the end it will cause fatigue. Coffee does not have to be eliminated, but it’s best to stick to one cup a day.
- Get your vitamins. Make sure you get the proper amount of vitamins, especially vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, riboflavin, niacin and the B-vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folic acid, thiamine and vitamin B12. You can do this by eating a clean, healthy, colorful diet 🙂
- Use aromatherapy and incense. Aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants to stimulate the brain through the nerves in the nasal passages. Oils can be added to bathwater, massage oil, a steam bath or vaporizer for inhalation. Essential oils that can help you stay alert and reduce fatigue include bergamot, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, fir, ginger, lemon, lime, lemongrass, peppermint, pine, rosemary, basil and black pepper. Also try a citrus scent, I LOVE the Kheil’s grapefruit shower soap at EQUINOX fitness clubs.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can reduce blood volume, which leads to feelings of fatigue. Drinking plenty of water will also increase your need to go to the restroom, a feeling that will also help you stay awake (and get up to move your body more often)
- Clear your stuffy nose. If allergies have your sinuses blocked, you may be feeling more tired and cranky. Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution.
- Wear brighter colors. Why do you think I’m always sporting bright lululemon?? This trick is related to the mood you project to people, and the reciprocating mood they project towards you. If you wear dark, somber colors, you project a dark, somber attitude, and people will respond to you with a somber attitude. If you wear bright, happy colors, you’ll get that attitude projected towards you, which will boost your own mood and energy levels.
- Watch your attitude. If you let the bad things that happen during your day get you down, you’re bound to start feeling worn out. Watch your attitude and make sure you’re not letting yourself be overly negative. A generally upbeat and optimistic outlook on life will keep your energy level up. Yes, the worst thing that can happen might actually happen, but giving it too much worry will only drain you. Look for the positive in every situation and you won’t be so tired. #truth !!
- Examine your emotions. Stress, depression and other negative emotions can take a heavy toll on your energy levels. Your exhaustion may have a lot to do with how you’re feeling mentally, so its important to take the time to deal with your emotions or get help if you need it. I truly believe in therapy/coaching (its like personal training for your mental and emotional health!) and highly recommend it, even if you aren’t dealing with depression.
- Lose a little weight. Carrying around extra weight takes a toll on your body and energy, so take off a few pounds gradually. Here are my top tips to help you find a healthy, happy weight. These are all actions that also have a positive effect on your energy level.
- Consider herbal supplements. Many people swear by herbs that are purported to improve energy levels. If you’re looking for a natural way to stay awake, try supplements of ginseng, bee pollen, gutu kola, maitake and more.
- Find something to look forward to. Having something to look forward to is a great motivator. Plan a vacation, make time for friends, start a cooking class – spice up your life with things that bring you JOY.
- Avoid energy vampires and toxic people. Energy vampires always have something to complain about, or a problem that needs to be fixed, and they’ll drain your energy by making you listen to them about their problems or by giving them attention.
- Have a discussion about or work on something that interests you. Even if you can only do it for a few minutes here and there, get your mind firing on all cylinders by talking about or doing something you feel passionate about.
- Start work with a challenging task. Get your brain in gear by giving it a challenging task first thing. You’ll be more alert and you’ll get the hard stuff out of the way so the rest of your day will be a breeze.
- Stop slouching. Slumping down at your desk isn’t doing you any favors in the alertness category. Sitting up at your desk, in an ergonomically friendly way, can make you feel more alert and ready to work.
- Try something new. Getting into a rut can make your day seem boring and tedious and drain your energy levels. Change things up, try new things and seek out new experiences to spice up your day a little and keep you alert and awake.
- Finish an incomplete task. There’s nothing more draining than the lingering of an incomplete task. Get things done. Do you have a task that’s weighing heavily on your mind? Just do it, and get the monkey off your back.
- Dress up. Feeling better about yourself has a magical way of giving you more energy. Put just a tad more effort into looking your best for work, and you’ll get compliments from coworkers that will make you feel better — and make you a perkier and more energetic.
- Get enough sleep at night. This one should be obvious. The best way to feel energized is to be well rested. We need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested. Consistently sleeping less than 6 hours a night builds up a sleep debt that is hard to recover from.
- Check your iron levels. About 12% of American women and 7% of men have an iron deficiency, which leaves you feeling drained and lethargic. Vegetarians, dieters, and athletes (especially bikers and runners), are at an increased risk for iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods such as meat, beans and cereals can keep iron levels high. To maximize absorption into your system, they are best consumed with a food high in Vitamin C. You can also purchase over- the-counter iron pills or multivitamins with iron if needed. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you think you may have low iron levels or are considering taking iron supplements.
- SMILE. Believe it or not, smiling does actually provide a number of health benefits, both physical and psychological. According to recent research, flashing your pearly whites may help you look younger, feel happier, have healthier relationships, and amp up your energy. Don’t believe me? Give it a try right now and let me know if it gives you a burst of energy.
Evaluate how your energy levels are now and where you want them to be in the future. Take a moment to reflect on how you can effectively incorporate the above challenges into your routine. Do you have a favorite way to pump up your energy? Leave it as a comment below, Id love to try your methods for living life fully powered.
Other Things To Check Out This Week:
- Abs Arms and Butt Circuit. 16 minute total body toning routine.
- Habits of Supremely Happy Humans : such great ways to be happier
- Conversations with my 3-Year-Old : these films crack me up!
- 21 Tips for Writers : many of these apply to life in general too