Years ago, as a young mother of two children under the age of three, I wished I could bottle up my children’s energy for myself or, better yet, sell it! All I wanted was for my kids to get worn out and sleep and ME to have the endless amounts of energy to done everything that I needed to get done.
That’s when I turned to caffeine to start getting me through the day. My caffeine of choice- soda and energy drinks. So bad for you in every way, but they got me through the day.
Most adults, especially parents, can relate to resorting to a caffeine fix to get them through the day- soda, energy drinks, coffee, tea- we survive on that stuff! Why are kids the ones who get the energizer bunny level of energy when adults have so much more to get done? Totally not fair!
There are ways to get natural energy without resorting to caffeine overload. These tips and tricks will teach you how to boost your energy levels naturally. You still may not have the energy of a toddler, but it might be just the boost you need to make it through the day.
First, being tired and feeling like you must have caffeine to make it through the day can be sign of deficiency or medical condition. You should be visiting your doctor yearly and doing regular labs, which should catch any medical conditions like diabetes, anemia, and thyroid problems.
Second, being tired is very much a part of adult life. How we choose to deal with being tired can lead to addiction to caffeine and health problems if it is not addressed. The less caffeine you rely on to get you through your day, the better it will be for you in the long run.
I’m not saying caffeine is completely bad- there are some good benefits if taken in moderation. For me, a little caffeine in the morning helps keep my migraines at bay. However, caffeine can be very addictive and, when your body adapts to the caffeine, leave you needing larger and larger amounts of caffeine to feel energized.
Not to mention that the caffeine withdrawals are similar to what drug addicts experience- ask anyone who has tried to go from drinking large amounts to not drinking any caffeine for a week or two.
Exercise- Move it!
Moving your body gets your blood flowing, increases the oxygen level in your blood and releases hormones that help you feel good and gives you energy.
I’m not talking about a full-blown workout, I’m talking a quick boost to get you going and help you feel energized. A full-blown workout can leave you even more exhausted. Not moving your body enough can leave you tired too.
Try these quick activities to boost energy:
- 5-10 minute brisk walk outside
- 20 jumping jacks, squats or push-ups
- 5-10 minutes of yoga – do three rounds of Sun Salutation Flow to completely stretch & energize your body
- Turn on music and dance for a song or two
When you start your day with movement it can help you stay energized all day. When you start to feel run down, like that 2 pm crash after lunch when you’re ready for a nap, move your body to snap yourself out of it!
Nutrition- Eat Every 2-4 hours
Sometimes fatigue is caused by the rise and fall of blood sugar levels as well as lack of proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals. When you eat smaller meals, spread through-out the day, you help keep the sugar levels in your blood more even and might just avoid the 2 PM crash all together.
Here are a couple of food related tips:
- Avoid foods with processed or added sugars- cookies, donuts, cupcakes, candy. They cause you to crash and feel more tired after eating them.
- Eat protein with every meal. Protein provides your body needed energy
- Eat crunchy foods like carrots, celery, and apples. The sound of the crunch and the act of chewing helps wake you up.
- Eat whole grains which release energy slowly as it is broken down
- Snack on nuts, healthy fats and healthy oils.
- Eat foods that are high in B12 and Vitamin C, like citrus fruits.
Fatigue is one of the symptoms of dehydration. I live in Arizona where it is hot most of the year and you can’t drink enough water. I try to drink water throughout the day. When I’m tired, I drink even more. See the chart for recommended daily water intake by weight.
There are people out there who don’t care for plain water- that’s OK. There are ways to get around that to make sure that you get enough liquids to keep you properly hydrated. Bonus- being properly hydrated should cause you to have to run to the bathroom more which takes us back to exercise!
When you’re tired, try these to get hydrated:
- Drink ice-cold water- it is like splashing cold water on your face, without the mess
- Drink flavored seltzer water- check your packaging before you buy to ensure there is no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Bubbly flavored water should be zero calories and zero grams of sugar. Frys has store brand seltzer waters in various flavors that are naturally flavored and caffeine free
- Eat watery fruits and veggies like cucumbers, tomato, grapes, watermelon, and apples
Peppermint & Rosemary
There are certain smells that can perk up your brain and help wake you up which is great when you don’t want to do a few minutes of exercise or don’t need more added calories to your diet.
Peppermint is one of the most highly recommended and readily available scents. Spearmint works just as well. The minty scent (and taste) can stimulate your brain, help you focus, freshen your breathe and is a pleasant scent for most people.
My mom had a patch of mint that grew in our front yard when I was a kid. She would occasionally open all the windows and then send us kids outside to run through the mint to smash up the leaves and make it smell amazing inside the house. She probably didn’t realize the smell energized us even more- she was trying to wear us out!
Peppermint can be find in most grocery and general stores near the candles as an essential oil. You can use it in a diffuser to energize by breathing it in. You can dab it on your wrist or put a dab on the roof of your mouth (caution, it tastes bad but will also help get rid of a headache).
Peppermint can also be found in products you use every day like gum, toothpaste, lip gloss, and lotion. Just make sure you DON’T use something that leaves a long-lasting scent within a couple of hours of bed or it could keep you awake when you are trying to sleep.
If you have a green thumb, peppermint is also a great plant to have around your house- inside and out. Not only will it give you a boost of energy but if can help repel ants, spiders, and mosquitos. Another benefit of the plant is that you can add the leaves to your breakfast smoothie, cooking, tea or water for a boost of flavor and energy. It is perfectly safe to eat.
Rosemary is another herb that can invigorate your mind, fight exhaustion, and improve your ability to remember things just by smelling it. It also makes a great addition to food and can be easily found in the spice section of every grocery store as well as in the candle aisle with the essential oils. Rosemary has a more earthy, almost woody scent that is not as widely appreciated.
Use rosemary by crushing the dried spice and breathing in the smell, dabbing it on your wrist or put some in an oil diffuser. You can also purchase rosemary in plant form and keep it on your desk. Just ruffle the leaves a little and breathe the scent in.
Here are a few other quick tips that you can try to boost your energy:
- Get outside for 30 minutes a day to soak up the sun. Not only will this help you feel energized, it also boosts your mood.
- Don’t watch TV or surf the internet in bed, it can prevent you from getting enough sleep which makes you more tired for the next several days.
- Meditation can also help boost your energy when practiced regularly. When you are new to meditation it can cause the reverse effect by making you sleepy, but after a few practice sessions you can enjoy the benefits without feeling drowse.
Do you have any other energy boosting tips that work for you? Which of the above work best for you to help wake you up instead of reaching for another cup of coffee or soda?