Run out of steam before the day is even halfway done? Need an espresso on the hour, every hour? It sounds like you might be in an energy deficit!
These 22 natural tips will give you that well needed boost, without the post-coffee jitters. Try them and see!
1. Work Out
When you’re zapped of energy, the last thing you want to do is get off the sofa and pound the pavement. But studies show it may be one of the best ways to boost flagging energy levels naturally.
A piece of research carried out in 2012 at the University of Georgia found that sedentary but healthy adults who exercised lightly for just 20 minutes three days a week reported a 20% increase in their energy levels and a 65% decrease in their fatigue levels.
Head out into the fresh air for a light jog, a brisk walk or a quick bike-ride and you’ll soon be full of beans.
2. Diffuse Essential Oils
Not only do essential oils have potent therapeutic properties when it comes to stress and anxiety, skin conditions like eczema, hormonal imbalance, aches and pains, migraines and so much more, but choosing the right oil can even put added pep in your step!
Or, to make an extra effective energizing combination, check out these boosting blends.
3. Swish Some Oil
It’s hard to believe that the bizarre practice of swishing oil, usually coconut oil, in your mouth every day can lead to greater energy levels, but that’s precisely what proponents of oil pulling say it does!
This likely happens because oil pulling is an effective immune system booster which removes harmful microbes from the mouth before they can do any damage, thus allowing the body to direct its energy away from defending and repairing and put it to other use.
Once you start following this ancient Ayurvedic ritual, you should notice a difference in just two weeks – to your energy levels, your skin and your oral hygiene. Learn more about the benefits and process of oil pulling here.
4. Invest in a Himalayan Salt Lamp
These softly glowing lights cleanse the air, reduce allergy symptoms, neutralize electromagnetic radiation, improve mood, lead to a better quality of sleep and treat seasonal affective disorder – which all aid in lifting energy.
5. Give Your Liver a Break
If your liver isn’t functioning to the best of its abilities, it can cause you a whole host of problems – one of which is chronic tiredness, which occurs because your body is working harder to try to remove excess toxins.
6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This one is a no-brainer … if you’re lacking in energy, make sure you are getting enough sleep so your body has adequate time to restore and rejuvenate itself during the night.
Unfortunately, not everyone can nod off as soon as their head touches the pillow – the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that around 60 million people in the US suffer from occasional or long-term sleep problems.
7. Take a Nap
If you’re feeling sleep deprived, a quick 15 or 20 minute power nap in the afternoon may be all you need to reset your system and get a burst of alertness.
Studies show that a 20 minute snooze is good for general alertness and motor learning skills; a 30 to 60 minute nap helps with decision-making skills; while 60 to 90 minutes of sleep is important for making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.
8. Cut Out Sugar
A sugary donut or a chocolate bar are exactly what most of us reach for when we hit the 3pm slump. But we’re actually doing our bodies more harm than good.
Because these foods break down so quickly, our blood sugar levels rise rapidly leading the brain to quit producing orexin, the neuropeptide responsible for feeling alert. Blood glucose falls again almost as fast, leaving us exhausted and irritable…and craving more sugar.
In fact, a study of rats found that those fed a low-fat diet, high in sugar and refined flour, were more obese and less willing to work for a reward (i.e. lazier), then rats fed a balanced diet.
Avoid sweet treats (and these 25 sources of hidden sugar) and fill up on healthy alternatives to avoid those energy highs and lows.
While water doesn’t have any calories, and therefore doesn’t provide energy, it does facilitate all the energy reactions in the body – meaning dehydration could be the cause of that fatigue you can’t seem to shake.
So how much should you drink? Now that the ‘8 glasses a day’ rule is thought to be without scientific basis, a more reliable method to measure your hydration levels is by the color of your urine. A light color means you’re getting enough water to meet your needs.
10. Swap Coffee for Green Tea
Coffee is another go-to when we’re drained of energy, but it can lead to headaches, jitters, anxiety and more.
Try swapping your latte for a healing cup of Matcha green tea. It also contains caffeine (although less than coffee) which will give you an immediate boost. What’s more, when enjoyed regularly, powerful antioxidants in the tea, called catechins, have been shown in studies to prevent fatigue.
11. No More Night-Caps
Alcohol is high in sugar and can cause stress, anxiety and depression – so it’s not surprising to hear that booze is a major energy drain.
It also leads to a disrupted sleep which, in turn, causes daytime drowsiness and general lethargy.
A review of 27 studies found that, while a nightcap may help people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the deep state of sleep needed for bodily restoration.
12. Eat For Energy
Food is the body’s fuel, so naturally eating will provide more energy. But certain foods are better than others at providing healthy and sustained bouts of vigor.
Make sure to enjoy enough complex carbs – which at least one study says leads to more energy and mental clarity. These include whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, lentils and beans.
When it comes to snacks, nuts and seeds are little powerhouses. Rich in protein, fiber and fat, good options include the mighty chia seed, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts. Why not whip up a DIY trail-mix by adding in some goji berries, shown to increase feelings of wellbeing and energy levels?
Round all this out with some lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables and you’ll be giving your body the top-class fuel it needs to power through the day.
13. Supercharge Your Drinks
Energy can come in liquid form too. Forget about those sugar-filled, overpriced energy drinks though and concentrate on refreshments made with more wholesome ingredients.
14. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Those 31 million Americans who skip breakfast every day are at higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and poor immunity.
They’re also more likely to be zapped of energy and crave sugary foods. After all, expecting your body to run on empty from dinnertime through to lunchtime the following day is a recipe for disaster.
By starting off with one of these delicious and healthy breakfast recipes, you’ll be helping your body get the key nutrients needed to fuel itself throughout the day.
15. Become a Grazer
Overeating at meals can cause sleepiness, as your body needs to direct its energy to digesting the food you’ve just eaten, leaving you lethargic.
By enjoying smaller meals interspersed with healthy snacks – or grazing – you can still meet all your nutritional needs without the ensuing exhaustion.
16. Soak Up the Sun
The sun reduces levels of the chemical melatonin in the body – which induces sleepiness.
Having less melatonin means you have more get-up-and-go…just one of the reasons why we sleep less but feel more energetic during the summer months.
We also get vitamin D from the sun, a lack of which causes disrupted sleep, thyroid problems, frequent infections, anxiety and anemia – all of which lead to fatigue or poor levels of energy.
17. Breathe Deeply
Sometimes, all it takes to invigorate and motivate is a few deep breaths! Deep breathing improves the oxygen flow in the blood, giving you more energy and keeping you alert.
Try it and see for yourself!
Put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take in short, deep breaths through the nose, filling the abdomen. Inhale quickly and deeply as you count to four, then pause, and quickly exhale through your mouth.
Do eight to ten quick, deep breaths per minute for three minutes at a time (but stop if you feel dizzy or lightheaded).
18. Know your Acupressure Points
While acupuncture is a known-energy booster which removes blockages that hinder the flow of vital energy, called Qi, along the body’s meridian pathways, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
For a more cost-effective, needle-free, DIY alternative, give acupressure a go. Research has shown that, if the right techniques are used, this therapy can stimulate and energize.
Apply these five acupressure points for instant energy.
Scientists believe that yawning helps to cool the brain, stopping it from overheating, which can lessen alertness.
When we’re tired or bored our core brain temperatures rise – meaning letting out that yawn is one way to counteract these effects!
20. Have a Laugh
According to Dr. Travis Stork, laughing is one of the easiest ways to boost energy, not to mention mood.
When we have a fit of giggles, the muscles in our face and body stretch out, the pulse quickens, blood pressure rises, and breathing increases, sending more oxygen to the brain. Pretty similar to what happens when we exercise – so it’s no surprise that the mental effects are the same!
21. Stop Stressing
Stress is one of the main causes of mental fatigue which is defined as an inability to concentrate. But it also has knock-on physical effects too.
For example, stress leads to poor sleep and compromised immunity. Those who are stressed may binge on sugar, or skip meals. They may find they don’t have the time or will to exercise, and may relieve their worries with a glass or two of wine at night. All of these actions lead to fatigue.
Combat stress through meditation, exercise, a healthy diet and by diffusing these calming essential oils throughout the day.
22. Get a Check-Up
Finally, if you can’t pin your energy slump on anything concrete, a trip to the doctor is in order.
Many medical conditions, like thyroid problems or hormonal imbalance can lead to a lack of get-up-and-go. So too can deficiencies in magnesium, iron, and vitamins B12 and D. By finding the root cause of your tiredness, you can take the relevant steps to combat it.