Do you often have slumps in the afternoon where your energy drops and it feels difficult to focus on basic tasks? Do you sometimes have every intention of going to the gym after work but feel so unmotivated and tired after a long day, you just cannot? Do you absolutely fall into bed exhausted most nights, or have trouble fully waking up even hours after your alarm goes off? Do you not feel like a normal human being without a third cup of coffee? These are trick questions, because we all suffer from lack of energy sometimes, and at least the occasional lack of motivation from being just plain tired (unless you’re one of those superhuman, always energetic people, in which case, no need to read on, but let me know how in the world you do it!).
But you can, and deserve to, feel your best and be at the top of your game, whether you’re chasing down toddlers or running afternoon meetings. Here are some tips and tricks to boost your energy all day long (that don’t include a third cup of coffee).
Take a B12 Vitamin.
B12 is basically known as the energy vitamin. Not only does it help fight osteoporosis and mascular degeneration, but it’s crucial for your energy throughout the day, and general wellness, by supporting cellular energy levels and production.
Fun fact: the most common cause of fatigue is dehydration. If you’re not hydrated enough, blood volume can drop, and your body has to work harder in order to bring oxygen and nutrients to cells, making you tired. If you feel fatigue coming on, it might be a sign that you’re not hydrated, so be sure to start chugging a big glass of H2O, but also make it a goal to hydrate throughout the day to ward off mental fogginess and fatigue altogether. Bonus fact: a glass of ice cold water during a particular energy slump or an important event, like a meeting, helps you stay more alert, focused, and awake.
It may sound like an insignificant part of your day, but getting dressed is clinically proven to be exhausting when you have too many choices to pick from or are not sure of what to wear (and we’ve all had the “I have nothing to wear!” moment — for some of us, it’s a daily reoccurrence). In a study from 2008, students from University of Minnesota that had more options to choose from when getting dressed were more likely to procrastinate and lose stamina throughout the entire day.
Try to limit yourself to no more than 10 options or build a go-to a uniform. In these options, include pieces that make you feel confident and motivated — a blazer, a pair of (comfy) heels, or bold earrings. Besides just developing your #signaturestyle, an item of clothing that you feel great in is proven to keep you motivated and confident throughout the day.
Sure, when you’re in your mid-afternoon slump, the last thing you want to do is make it to that post-work yoga class or take a walk around the block. But moving around (especially if you’re stationary at a desk all day) is crucial for your well-being. In fact, move as much as possible throughout the day, even if it is just walking across the street to grab lunch or down the hallway for a cup of coffee. Or just stretching a few times throughout the day can keep blood flow circulating. Moving around not only is good for you (and gets in your Fitbit steps!), but also keeps your body energized.
Try Essential Oils.
Essential oils do it all, don’t they? They help indigestion, beat breakouts, and they also can give you energy. Peppermint and tangerine oil energize you, while nutmeg oil fights fatigue and can help you focus. Diffuse, sniff from a bottle or scented cloth, or put on your pulse points for an extra jolt whenever you need it. If essential oils are not your thing, chew on peppermint or spearmint gum for a similar energizing jolt.
Just 15-20 minutes of sunshine and (sunscreen-protected) sun exposure awakens your body and gives you more energy. You can kill two birds with one stone by going on an afternoon walk for a little movement and sunlight, or, if you can, make some calls or answer some emails outside, like on a park bench, rather than in your office. You could also eat your lunch outside, or walk a little extra on your commute than you normally would. However it works for you to get in some sunlight, it might help you feel more energized than even that afternoon energy bar would.
Yes, a lot of people meditate in order to relax, but there’s a reason the most successful CEOs and celebs start their day off with meditation, rather than end it — centering your mind and calming your senses actually gives you stamina and energy for your entire day. It can be helpful as part of a morning or routine, or during an afternoon where you’re feeling fatigue set in, as a way to reset your mind with a quick meditation.
Apps like Headspace or HappyNotPerfect offer guided meditations for any amount of time (even some for just 3-5 minutes!), or you can just take a few deep breaths with some breathing exercises that will help you become more centered and ready to go on with your day.
Eat for energy.
…which does NOT mean to reach for just any “energy” bar. Many contain as many grams of sugar as a candy bar, and result in intense sugar crashes. The goal is to combine healthy and clean proteins with complex carbs, a healthy fat, and lots of veggies. That’s an easy eat-clean formula, but to take a step further for extra energy, focus on foods with lots of iron like beans and lentils, eggs, dark leafy greens, or cashews, and high in antioxidants like blueberries, green tea, and sweet potatoes. This also means eliminating refined white carbs and sugar (a crash just waiting to happen!), and eating smaller meals more regularly, instead of three huge meals.
Snack on an apple.
Ever heard “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well an apple a day also keeps grogginess and fatigue away. Picking up an apple for an afternoon snack might specifically have energy benefits. It’s full of vitamin C, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, which stabilizes blood sugar, and some sources say eating an apple might even give you more energy than coffee (*gasp!*).
This article was originally posted on The Everygirl on July 26, 2018.