We’ve all had days where we’ve felt burnt out and sometimes wanted to do nothing but stay in bed all day. Unfortunately, certain commitments like school and work don’t always make that possible, so we find ourselves looking for quick boosts of energy through things like coffee, energy drinks and protein bars. While these things are okay in moderation, there are also certain steps you can take to boost your energy in more natural ways as outlined by Dr. Ali Ghahary below.
If coffee is an absolute must for you, try to switch up the time that you drink coffee. Rather than brewing a pot and drinking it as soon as you get up in the morning, wait until you’re at work for that cup of joe. Science suggests that waiting an hour and half to two hours after waking up and then drinking coffee will actually have more of an effect. Cortisol levels, which is known as the “stress hormone” but also works as a rather potent stimulate, are highest in the mornings. Therefore, if you drink coffee as soon as you get up, you may actually be suppressing cortisol production and teaching your body to depend on caffeine. Learn more about the pros and cons of coffee here.
Following your morning shower, switch the water to cold for approximately 30 seconds. While this can feel like quite a shock to the system, the coldness will help you feel invigorated. Blood will also flow away from your body’s surface and towards your core, which will then get your circulation going. Cooler temperatures can also help release endorphins, which may also be beneficial in improving the mood.
Regular exercise can also improve your energy levels. Going for a walk for as little as 20 minutes each day can boost your energy by as much as 20% and decrease feelings of fatigue by as much as 65%. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise to reap the benefits, as low-impact fitness can be just as beneficial and have many other health benefits aside from giving you increased energy.
Depleted energy can also have a lot to do with your posture. The more slumped or slouched you sit, or the longer you’re sitting for, the more likely you are to feel slightly fatigued. Aside from boosting your energy, sitting up straight and maintaining good posture can also help to keep your bones and joints properly aligned, as well as reduce stress on the spine.
How you breathe can also play a role. To increase your energy, practice taking deep breaths in through the nose rather than your mouth, and focus on drawing in air first through your chest, then into your lower ribcage, and then your belly. Following these steps when breathing can stimulate blood and oxygen, which can “awaken” the brain and make you feel more alert.
If you’re sitting in a darkened room and relying on things like your computer or a television screen for light, it’s not uncommon to feel fatigued as a result. Without enough light for an extended period of time, you’re going to feel tired. If that’s the case, try to turn on a light if possible (or a desk lamp); or, even better, if it’s still daytime then go outside for a quick burst of natural light.
Staying on the subject of television, the things you watch can also potentially cause you to feel fatigued – especially if you’re watching something stressful (i.e. hearing a sad news story, or watching a horror film.) This can cause you to toss and turn and have an otherwise sleepless night, which will leave you feeling more fatigued and unrested the next day.