One of the most obvious pick me ups is a caffeine fix, whether you prefer yours from coffee, tea or energy drinks, it’s a sure way to give you a boost to get you through the day. Caffeine however may not be the best option for you, especially if you struggle to get through the afternoon but don’t want to risk still being wired by bedtime. So what other options are available to you?
Eat whole grain foods
Whilst it’s appealing to reach straight for something sweet to give an immediate boost, it is best to avoid the temptation. The immediate quick fix to your low energy levels quickly becomes a crash, leaving you feeling worse than before.
Eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains results in a slow, steady release in energy, avoiding the peaks and troughs of sugary hits. Try starting your day with oatmeal or switching to whole grain breads and pasta. Other complex carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up include green vegetables and potatoes.
Take regular breaks, and use them to go for a walk.
Avoid staying seated at your desk for prolonged periods. If you feel your energy levels start to slump, a quick and easy way to get the blood flowing and wake you up is to get moving. A short walk of around 10 minutes, especially if you’re able to get out in the fresh air, will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised, brushing the cobwebs away.
Regular walks are not only great to boost your energy levels, but may help your long term health. Sitting has recently been referred to as the “new smoking” as research has found that our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Whilst extra time spent exercising later in the day or week does not compensate for being seated all day, the effects can be minimised through regular short walks.
Drink a glass of water
One of the first symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. If you feel yourself starting to slump, a glass of water or two could quickly help. Not only will a cold glass of water feel invigorating, but rehydrating your system should relieve your sleepiness.
Eat small regular meals
Rather than waiting until mealtime to eat a large meal, try eating little and often. Eating regularly will help to keep your body topped up with energy to release. Try snacking on nuts, which are high in healthy fats, helping to boost your energy levels. Smaller meals also tend to help to evade the post-lunch slump.
Take a power nap
If possible, a nap of around 15-20 will give you the lift you’re looking for. While not always practical or possible, a nap may in fact be better than a cup of coffee for your alertness. Be aware, to avoid waking up feeling groggy, keep your naps to under 30 minutes!