It’s only noon and you’re already dragging. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or you’ve been under a lot of stress. Whatever it is, you just don’t have the energy you need to power through the day.
You can always reach for a cup of coffee, but after a few of those, you may start to feel jittery or anxious. Fortunately, there are other ways to get a quick energy boost when you need it.
First, Make Sure You’re Living an Energy-Producing Lifestyle
First, try to make sure you’re adhering to some good healthy habits like these:
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes, no matter what—even if you have to break it up into 10-minute increments.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re having trouble doing this, improve your sleep hygiene: go to bed and get up at the same time every day, keep all technology out of the bedroom, get a supportive mattress, keep your bedroom cool and quiet, and practice a quiet activity for an hour before bed.
- Practice a daily stress-relieving activity. Exercise is a great one, but you can also paint, go for a walk, spend time with a friend or a pet, listen to calming music, journal, meditate, or do some yoga or tai chi.
- Lighten your load. You may be tired because of overwork—which may include professional, family, and social obligations. See if you can delegate or step away from some of these to allow yourself more relaxation time.
- Cut back on sugar. High-sugar beverages and foods may give you instant energy, but they will lead to a crash later. Choose healthier snacks like whole fruit or Greek yogurt. Artificial sweeteners too, such as those in diet soda, can create inflammation in your gut, which may lead to fatigue.
20 Energy-Boosting Tips
Even if you’re living an energy-producing lifestyle, you may still have times when you find yourself dragging. That’s when these quick tips can come in handy.
1. Step outside.
Sunlight and fresh air can help wake you up. Try taking a short walk outside. It will loosen up your limbs, open your lungs, and help boost your mental focus. You may also want to ask your colleagues to hold your meeting outside or eat lunch outside.
2. Drink a full glass of water.
If you’re even slightly dehydrated, you are likely to feel fatigued. So when you notice your attention dropping off, get a nice cool glass of water and drink it all. It’s a lot better option than soda.
3. Sit or stand up straight.
Posture has a lot to do with your mental focus and attention. We can start to slump as the day goes on. This can lead to muscle strain, tension, and back and neck pain. A curved spine can also restrict blood flow, which may be why you start to feel tired.
Picture a string coming out of the middle of your head. Reach up and pull it straight as you imagine yourself a puppet coming to life. Use your core muscles to support your back and ribs, and bring your shoulders up and back. Adjust your workstation as needed to accommodate a good posture.
4. Take a power nap.
Sometimes nothing works to refresh you more than just a few minutes of shut-eye. Try to keep it to no more than 20 minutes or you are likely to feel groggy when you wake up. Turn off the lights, use some earplugs if you need to, set the timer, and close your eyes. A short nap like this can help recharge your brain so you can get through the rest of your day.
5. Strike a pose.
Some research shows that yoga can be a great fatigue fighter. In 2017, for instance, researchers reported that performing open, expansive body poses like the Warrior II or Tree Pose for only two minutes helped participants feel more energy and higher self-esteem.
6. Turn on the tunes.
Listening to music that you enjoy can encourage positive emotions, reducing stress levels, and helping you to feel a more positive energy. If it’s upbeat music that gets you dancing, that’s even better.
Listening to relaxing music can help too. In a 2015 study, scientists found that it alleviated the mental fatigue associated with performing a mentally challenging task.
7. Eat a handful of nuts.
Nuts are super healthy for you, and they’re also powerhouses of energy. They contain protein and healthy fats, as well as magnesium and folic acid, both of which are necessary for energy production. Just be sure not to overdo it, as nuts are also high in calories. Restrict it to a small handful.
8. Put a cinnamon stick in your coffee.
Cinnamon can stimulate your brain and help wake you up. Put a cinnamon stick in your coffee, or try cinnamon tea. Another good spice for energy is peppermint. Or try putting some lemon oil on a cotton ball and setting that nearby. It’s known to improve mood.
9. Run up the stairs.
Movement helps you produce energy. Even if you feel too tired to exercise, if you do so for only a minute or two, you’ll feel more energy. When you move, your body realizes it must produce the energy you need to move, and often it will respond accordingly.
The movement also gets your blood pumping, which can help you feel more alert. Simply run up a flight of stairs nearby or try doing about 30 jumping jacks or a few push-ups.
10. Eat some energizing foods.
In addition to nuts, there are some other low-calorie energy-boosting foods that you can snack on. These include a hardboiled egg, dark chocolate, dried fruit, Greek yogurt, an apple or banana, or some air-popped popcorn.
11. Pull up a funny video.
Laughter can help energize you, so if you find yourself falling asleep over your afternoon project, pull up a couple of short, funny videos and watch them. Just five minutes of laughter can be enough to help you get through the next hour.
12. Call up a fun friend.
It can be really easy to feel tired around other tired people. If you’re surrounded by fatigued or negative people, call someone you know will give you a lift. A positive family member or friend can help restore your energy levels within just a few minutes.
13. Splash on some cold water.
Coldwater can help energize you. Of course, you may not be able to take a cool shower while you’re at work, but you can step into the restroom and run some cold water over your hands, or pat a little bit on your face. This can be enough to counteract the effects of fatigue.
14. Take a few deep breaths.
One of the reasons many of us feel fatigued during the day is because we’re victims of shallow breathing. This often accompanies a slumped posture. As you curl your body inward, you cut off some of your lung capacity and breathe in shallow intakes, reducing your oxygen content.
Instead, sit up straight and breathe from deep in your stomach, using your diaphragm to fully expand your lungs. Breathe deeply and slowly in and out for about three minutes and you’ll feel better.
15. Brighten your work area.
Dim lights signal your body and mind that it’s time to rest. It could be that your work area is simply too dark. Open some drapes or turn on some more lights. These don’t have to be harsh overhead lights. Instead, consider putting a couple of floor lamps or desk lamps around with soft, daylight bulbs that feel good to your eyes. These can help keep your environment bright and energetic.
16. Get away from the computer.
There’s nothing quite so exhausting as sitting in front of a screen—computer, tablet, or phone—for hours on end. If you find yourself drooping, get up and away from the screen. Print out some of the papers you’re working on and take them with you to review if you like. Make a call you need to make and walk while you talk. Give yourself a break from the screen and you’ll likely feel more awake. It will also help refresh your eyes!
17. Clean off your desk.
Clutter is exhausting! Science has shown that it can put your senses in overdrive, sapping your energy and making you anxious. Take just a few minutes to clean the environment around you, whatever that may be. Put things away and create some space. It will lower your stress and allow your energy to thrive.
18. Give yourself a pep talk.
What we say to ourselves can affect our energy levels. If you’re down on yourself for whatever reason, it’s likely to make you feel droopy and negative. Instead, lift yourself. Tell yourself what you’ve done well today. Then attack the rest of the day with a more positive outlook. “I’m going to ace this project and get out of here early!” This can boost your energy and allow you to power through.
19. Think of something you’re grateful for.
Gratitude is a magical emotion. When you’re grateful for something, you feel more positive overall, which can boost your energy. When you’re starting to fade, make a list of the three things you’re grateful for at that moment.
They can be simple—you may feel gratitude for your health, the well-being of your family, or the fact that you’ll be able to drive a working car home. Add a few more things to the list if you think of them, then get back to your day. You will likely feel a little energy boost.
20. Give yourself something to look forward to.
Nothing saps your energy as much as being in a rut. Maybe you’re just getting up, going to work, going home, working some more, and going to sleep. After a few weeks of that, anyone would feel tired!
Change it up. What one thing can you plan to do today that will make you happy? It could be as simple as taking a walk in the park after work, heading over to the bookstore, meeting a good friend for coffee, or listening to a new audiobook on the way home.
Find a simple way to lift your spirits, and you’ll find the energy you need to get through the day.
Remember, there are many simple things that you can do throughout your day to give you that much-needed energy boost – without loading up on the caffeinated beverages. Try to create an environment that promotes a feeling of well-being and get up to move regularly. Don’t be hesitant to take that power nap if needed, but also focus on energizing activities that bring you happiness. If you find you are consistently struggling to get through the day, talk to your doctor.
Learn even more simple strategies for boosting your energy safely and naturally. Click here for more information.
Golec de Zavala, A., Lantos, D., & Bowden, D. (2017). Yoga poses increase subjective energy and state self-esteem in comparison to ‘Power poses’. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00752
Guo, W., Ren, J., Wang, B., & Zhu, Q. (2015). Effects of relaxing music on mental fatigue induced by a continuous performance task: Behavioral and ERPs evidence. PLOS ONE, 10(8), e0136446. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0136446
sRoster, C. A., & Ferrari, J. R. (2019). Does work stress lead to office clutter, and how? Mediating influences of emotional exhaustion and indecision. Environment and Behavior, 52(9), 923-944. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916518823041