PH Balancing has become quite the obsession of mine in the last year, so the idea chugging cups and cups of coffee to maintain my grueling work schedule had me running on fumes 5 days out of the week. Let me let you all in on a little secret... I LOVE McCafe! I'm almost ashamed at how many times a day I am willing to go to McDonald's for a "Large Hot Coffee, light and sweet, with hazelnut". It's like jet fuel for me; and when I don't have McCafe running threw my veins, I'm fighting withdrawal symptoms!
In order for me to maintain my daily performance, working 2-3 jobs a day and being a full-time parent, I needed an alternative to the daily doses of caffeine that my body was being conditioned to requiring.
I found 25 quick and easy tips to up energy levels—no unpronounceable chemicals required.
1. Work out midday.
Personally, I prefer to workout at night, however, when that mid-afternoon urge to doze rolls around, hit the gym instead of the sack. Studies suggest working out can actually increase productivity enough to counteract that time away from the office.
2. Power nap.
Avoid the temptation to power through your day, and take a quick midday power nap instead. Studies show the optimal amount of sleep is 10 to 20 minutes to get through the day without throwing off the night's sleep. Set your alarm and make sure you don't hit the snooze button.
3. Hit the candy bowl.
Sure chocolate's got caffeine, but that's not the only reason it offers a quick pick-me-up. Flavonoids found in cocoa have been shown to boost cognitive skills and improve mood. My favorite is Symphony Chocolate :-P
4. Go outside.
Head into the great outdoors—even if some woods aren't nearby, a green park will do. Just 20 minutes outdoors is enough to feel more alive. How's that for an energy boost? If you can't, at least crack open a window and take in some fresh air and sunlight!
5. Stretch it out.
Just a few desk stretches may be enough, but studies have suggested a little yoga could fight depression and anxiety or other stress-related disorders.
6. Add some greens.
In a stuffy office, a houseplant can help filter out pollutants like volatile organic compounds (or VOCs for short) and ozone. And those chemicals can have both long and short-term effects, including energy-draining allergies and headaches. Add a plant, though, and those threats could diminish.
Laughter's a proven stress-buster, but studies suggest laughing can boost energy levels, too. (Feel free to use this as permission to go on YouTube for the next 30 minutes.)
8. Open the curtains.
Environmental cues play a huge role in the body's energy grooves (a.k.a. circadian rhythms), and sunlight can also help alleviate seasonal affective disorder. But there's no need to invest in a light therapy box if there's a sunny window available.
9. Keep that mouth moving.
Instead of nodding off during an endless meeting, eat a small piece of candy or pop a piece of gum. One study found chewing gum can increase alertness and improve mood. So grab a stick of gum or some trail mix.
10. Think fast.
It may not sound so easy when those eyelids are drooping, but making the brain work a little quicker may help the body follow suit! Thinking faster (i.e. reading at a quicker pace, brainstorming in a group, or learning a new concept) made one group of study subjects feel more energized.
11. Take a cold shower.
It's all about the polar bear swim. Researchers have even suggested a three-minute long cold shower could be enough to counteract some of the effects of chronic fatigue.
12. Take a few deep breaths.
Nope, it's not just the key to resisting the urge to scream at that stupid driver. Deep yoga breathing from the diaphragm gets blood pumping, which also may boost energy all day long.
Whether at the gym or just dealing with the daily grind, it can be hard to remember to drink enough water. But even mild dehydration can cause sleepiness, so try chugging a glass or two when fatigue strikes. Or, better yet, stay hydrated all day long!
14. Flick a switch.
Circadian rhythms can have a big impact on how alert we feel, but one study found feeling more awake (at any time of day) can be as easy is flipping on some lights.
15. Turn up the volume.
Don't just turn on to tunes to chill out. Listening to music and tapping those toes significantly increased college kids' alertness in one study.
16. And sing along.
Even Dummies know singing requires breath control. Belt it for a full song, and there's plenty of extra oxygen pumping to feel energized as well as the adrenaline of taking it to the (karaoke) stage. Plus, one study showed singing significantly increased energy levels among college students (more than just listening quietly to tunes).
17. Do something interesting.
Plan to do the most engaging or interesting task of the day during the sleepiest time of day (typically around 3 p.m.). One study found that being interested in a task makes it significantly easier to stay awake (despite an energy lull).
18. Adjust the temperature.
Being too cold may cause the body's temperature to drop, which tells it "time to sleep!" Throw on a sweater or turn up the heat to fight off that drowsy feeling.
19. Choose the window seat.
Consistently dozing off in class or meetings? Move closer to a window. The daylight, fresh air, or even simply a natural view can all help boost alertness. On the flipside, a frantic street view may make it harder to focus.
20. Be social.
Studies have found people who are less social are generally less happy and don't sleep as well. And compared to sedentary or quiet office work, chatting it up made study subjects feel more awake.
21. Seek some lemon-aid.
Sniffing certain scents (a.k.a. aromatherapy) is rumored to have all kinds of mood benefits, but lemon oil is one of the only essential oils with proven support. Lemon is considered a stimulating scent, and one study showed it improved subjects' moods.
22. See red.
Studies have shown the color red is associated with winning and self-confidence. Try looking at some red or violet hues (or wearing them) to feel more awake.
23. Straighten up.
Slouching over the computer could cause fatigue earlier in the day. Sit up straight, though—that's shoulders back, eyes dead ahead, and lower back slightly arched—to feel more energized and possibly even get a boost of self-confidence.
24. Leave the desk.
Chowing down in front of the computer makes overeating even more likely. But getting away from the desk at lunchtime could help re-energize and refocus, too. Whether it's a quick walk or a long lunch, take some time to wake up away from the glowing screen. Those emails can wait a few minutes. Really.
25. Resting VS Sitting
This one is my favorite. An object in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. In other words, keep it moving! Stay in motion. Never allow yourself to get comfortable. Your body will indeed get more tired from the energy expenditure, but you will be surprised at how much energy your body actually has. Especially if you are a little over weight. You have extra energy just sitting there, waiting to be tapped into. So why not push your body into tapping into these untapped wells of potential energy. Burn some calories while you tap into your second wind!