Energy is something that I think at least 95% of us feel we need more of on a regular basis, and we definitely go to some extreme measures to get what we feel we need. Caffeine is the drug of choice for so many of us (myself included) and while the morning cup of coffee is essential, it isn’t long before we are downing 3+ cups just to get us through the workday. Then there’s energy drinks, caffeinated sodas, and even caffeinated gum and foods. Not that I’m personally complaining about the existence of any of these things (well, except maybe soda, but that was never my thing), but thanks to the daily availability and consumption of caffeine in our lives we are starting to become dependant on the stuff to keep ourselves going. This got me thinking…
There has got to be a better way! I will never give up the morning ritual of my hot cup of Joe, but when 2 pm rolls around and I’m itching for a boost, I don’t want to have to depend on coffee to get me through. I decided to start messing around with other options. Recently, I heard Rachel Hollis say something about how our energy needs to be created, and I realized she was right, so the next time I started to fade, I started to brainstorm alternative options, and I came up with some great ones and have started implementing them into my daily practices. Now, does this mean I no longer reach for a little caffeine boost sometimes? No. I’m only human which means I’m not perfect, however, I have been loving using alternate options only to discover they work just as well as (and sometimes better than) and afternoon cup of coffee. Here are a few of my favorite ways to boost my energy sans- caffeine.
1. Get Pumped Dance Party
The music lover in me might be biased, but there is something so energizing about turning on one of your favorite energizing songs and dancing around for a bit. Sometimes it’s just bopping around while standing up ( have to get a break from sitting!) and some days it turns into a legit, jumping around, fully choreographed, chasing Gracie around the house dance party. After just a song or two, I notice I start to feel re-energized and a little more clear-headed all at the same time. Below is my current “Get Pumped” playlist. Don’t judge! You’ve got to find the songs that work for you!
2. Eat For Energy
Not only does our caffeine habit actually end up messing with us as we come down from the high, but we aren’t necessarily all that great at feeding ourselves in an attempt at long-term energy either. In a world of sugar-laden pastries with coffee (typed very ironically because I’m at a coffee house typing this after just having treated myself to a latte and doughnut because I decided to work remotely) and added sugar in basically everything, we don’t exactly try to eat with sustained energy in mind. Changing up your diet can significantly increase your energy levels by simply using food as it was meant to be used: as fuel.
3. Take a (Short) Nap
While adding a nap to your day has the potential to be a slippery slope, if you do it properly a nap can be a great way to boost your energy levels in the mid-afternoon. The key to an energizing nap is to only have it last 20-30 minutes. You want to avoid allowing your body to fall into a complete sleep cycle because you then risk waking up feeling groggy and worse than you did before you fell asleep. If you’re someone who doesn’t listen to their alarm clocks and is at risk for turning a 20 minute nap into a 2 hour rest, perhaps the napping technique isn’t for you, but if you can just shut down for 20 minutes and then hop right back to it, then give a nap a try.
This will come as a surprise to no one, but moving your body and spending energy will actually result in you having more energy. I workout daily to lose weight, yes it’s true, but more than that I have really noticed how much better I feel when I workout. While many days I workout in the morning, on heavy workload days I will choose to workout around 3 or 4 pm so it can act as a mental break that reenergizes my body and mind so I can get back to work when I get home. If you don’t have the time for a legit trip to the gym, why not try simply going for a 20-minute walk. Getting some sunshine and being outside is also an energy booster.
5. Use Your Nose
Scent can be a very powerful thing and specific scents can trigger different emotions. I’ve found that there are some scents that can instantly perk me up and make me feel more energized. I have a rather large collection of essential oils, so I will sometimes pop one of these scents in a diffuser or to be more efficient, I will simply sit for a minute or two and sniff them straight out of the bottle. The most energizing scents to me are peppermint, lemon and/or orange, and cinnamon. Just a quick break and cracking open one of these essential oil bottles really helps clear and reset my brain and give me a little more energy.
Do you have any tips for how to boost your energy and beat that afternoon slump that doesn’t involve a big old cup of caffeine or sugar? Leave a comment with your top tip!