Natural Ways to Stay Energized
Between work, school, social lives, and personal care, we all seem to be on the go 24/7 these days. Even right now as I’m typing this I realize that this is the first break I have taken to sit down since I woke up this morning… and I woke up 10 hours ago. Well, okay then.
Being on the go is EXHAUSTING. Not just physically, but mentally too! If you’re anything like me, you are thinking about all the things you have to do. Where you are headed next. What your schedule looks like a week from now and can you possibly fit in a coffee date with your best friend between work and that other friend’s birthday dinner?
While I am a huge advocate for self care and taking time to just be alone with yourself and rest, I know that isn’t always possible. In fact, I haven’t had that moment in over two weeks. Sometimes, we just find ourselves in a crazy period. We acknowledge that the next few days or weeks will be filled and rushed, but we also acknowledge that its temporary and that the well-deserved rest is right around the corner. Or… at least we TRY to do so.
But during these periods when taking a pause just isn’t plausible, how can we stay energized to move from one task to the next without drinking Red Bull until we bounce off the walls or without brewing cup after cup of coffee until Luke has to cut us off, just like he does with Lorelai (anyone, anyone?)?
In order to get you thinking about what works for you, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ways to stay energized when I’m on the go, sneaking in even a few that not only will energize you, but also will make you pause for a second to recoup- only because I care!
- Caffeine: So I am 100% not a coffee person. I never have been, and I don’t think I will ever be- I just can’t stand the taste! But I am 100% a tea person, especially when that tea comes in the form of a matcha latte (unsweetened, almond milk to be exact). While many people turn to coffee to stay energized, I have always found green tea (including matcha) to be that saving grace. And many of my friends that drink both coffee and matcha have found that matcha actually works better when their minds need to focus. In fact, green tea is known for its focusing properties. This was my go to study drink in college and is now my 10AM work drink when I find myself beginning to lull off. As always though, please don’t overdo it with the caffeine- the come downs are horrible and your body can begin to almost depend upon it for energy! I try to limit myself to one cup of caffeinated tea a day, at the most.
- Brisk Walks: Though taking one may seem like it will tire you more, I dare you to try taking a quick walk the next time you’re feeling slow and see how it helps. For me, taking walking breaks is a must. In the afternoon, right around 1 or 2 when that mid-day slump hits and it is too late to drink caffeine without staying up all night, I stand up and move my legs for 20 minutes or so. Then, I return to my desk feeling refreshed and ready to power through the remaining few hours. Brisk walks stretch your legs, get your heart rate up, change up your environment, and may even get your mind off of the tasks at hand. Obviously 20 minutes isn’t always possible, but even if it is just a five-minute walk around the office’s building to get your blood pumping, my guess is you’ll be feeling ready to go afterwards.
- Power Naps: Now these are definitely meant for those days when one) you are in an appropriate physical space to take a quick nap and two) you have the time. But more often than not you can find me taking a 20-minute power nap, even when I don’t think I have the time in my schedule to do so. During college, I came to realize how necessary these brief shut-eye moments were for me before an afternoon class. I would set my timer, throw on my eye mask, and hop in bed. When the timer went off- or even the many times I woke up naturally two to three minutes earlier-, I always felt ready to go. Sure, I had to blink a few times, wipe my eyes, but ten minutes later, I felt myself focusing better. Though these naps “took away” twenty minutes of my day, I found myself easily making up the time elsewhere with my new burst of energy. Whether in your dorm room or in your car in your office parking lot… give naptime a try!
- Snacks: Ahh where would I be without my midday snack? I have absolutely no clue. Just like the other tips I have mentioned so far, snacking is a must for me in the mid afternoon. Not only does it calm those hunger pangs I start to get, but I realize that my mind settles down and focuses afterwards. Of course, this depends a lot on the type of snack you’re eating: a candy bar isn’t going to energize you the same way a piece of whole grain toast with PB or a banana with trail mix will. If you choose snacks that you both enjoy and happen to be filled with a nutritious balance of carbs, protein, and fats, you will be ready to take on the day. If you want some ideas, try out these superfood muffins or even this tropical smoothie!
- Water: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Say it with me! Water is not only important for our bodies to function and do all the incredible things they do, but also for our focus. In fact, when you are dehydrated, your body has a harder time bringing oxygen to your brain, causing your heart to work harder to make up for this. No wonder why we are tired! So, help out your heart and drink up!
- Relocating: Honestly, a lot of our exhaustion comes from boredom. Do you ever find yourself nodding off simply because you can’t stand what you are working on? Yes? Me too! And of course this doesn’t become any easier when it is a task thrown in on a busy day. A great trick I have found to help me out of this slump is to relocate, change up my surroundings. I will move from my desk to an outdoor table (the sun and the breeze keep me alert), a common room where the tables are a bit less comfortable (hey- rigid equals awake), or even to a place where I can stand/walk around and work without anyone being annoyed. I particularly love this last option because I kill two birds with one stone- I fit in my afternoon walk and get work done all at the same time!
- Read Out Loud: So this tip is less for staying energized than for re-focusing on tasks at hand, but something that I have always found to help is reading whatever I am working on out loud. Whether it’s what I am typing, what I am editing, or even sometimes what I am brainstorming in my own mind, vocalizing these thoughts keep me focused on the task at hand and make it impossible for me to fall asleep!
Though these are my go to ways for staying refreshed and ready to go on the busiest of busy days, that doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds of other ways out there! What are your go-to ways for getting through long days? Any energizing tips for me to try out? Comment below!