When you're low on energy, you might lack the motivation to reach your goals or tend to your responsibilities. Whether it's a chronic issue or an occasional moment of fatigue, there are ways to boost your energy so you can power through the rest of your to-do list.
1. Step Outside
If you deprive yourself of sunlight, you might suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. Additionally, sunlight inhibits the production of melatonin — a hormone that makes you sleepy — in your brain. Stepping outside for an hour can increase vitamin D production and stave off melatonin so you don't feel as fatigued. Take a walk, throw a ball for the dog, or chase your kids around the yard to take advantage of the sun's rays.
2. Chew Gum
A 2012 UK study demonstrated that gum chewing can make you feel more energetic and alert. If you're struggling to get through the afternoon, grab a stick of gum and chew it until it's lost its flavor. Mint is the best choice if you want to give yourself a boost of energy, though a spicy flavor like cinnamon might also prove beneficial. If you don't have access to gum, a cup of mint tea could provide the same impact, and the tea comes with the added benefit of caffeine.
3. Drink a Cup of Coffee
Speaking of caffeine, it's one of the fastest ways to increase your energy temporarily. Don't drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages too late in the evening because you'll have trouble sleeping, which can lead to further energy problems. However, if you're unable to get going in the morning, caffeine offers a quick and tasty solution.
4. Stretch or Exercise
Physical activity might seem counter-intuitive — exercise would seem to exhaust you — but it actually has the opposite effect. Exercise might make your muscles tired, but it makes you more mentally alert. It can also give you a burst of energy right after you finish, which you can use to tackle your next project. As long as you exercise early in the day, it will have the added benefit of helping you sleep better at night.
5. Do a Puzzle
You don't actually have to put together a 1,000-piece image of a Van Gogh painting, but mental stimulation is known to boost energy levels. Crossword puzzles, for instance, might offer a convenient solution. You can also learn something new, play a game of solitaire, or finally solve that Rubik's Cube that's still hiding in a box in the attic. Engage your brain in new ways to gain energy.
6. Make an Emotional Connection
Positive emotions, such as love and gratitude, can help bring you out of an energy-free slump. Pull out a photo album of your family members or send a quick I-love-you text to your spouse. When you engage your deepest emotions, your brain "wakes up" and helps you function with more energy.
7. Get Excited
You can also try thinking about an upcoming event, project, or experience about which you're excited. It could be a concert, an anniversary, a family vacation, or a creative craft you can't wait to try. Let yourself dwell on your excitement, which might bring you out of your slump.
8. Listen to Music
There are several reasons why people listen to music while they work out. It distracts you from physical pain and helps you establish an ambitious pace, but it can also give you energy. The rhythm and harmony can actually encourage movement and brain activity, both of which make you feel more awake. Grab your MP3 player or CD collection and indulge in a few minutes of music.
9. Boost Your Metabolism
A faster metabolism often correlates to higher energy levels. You can take an NSF- and GMP-certified supplement like CLA 1250 to aid in this process, especially if you're trying to lose weight. Increasing your fiber intake and eating fiber-rich foods can also help you get your metabolism in gear.
10. Get Hydrated
While a cup of joe might perk you up temporarily, hydration is key to keeping your body functioning at peak levels. Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and refill it several times a day. Stop to take a sip every 15 minutes or so you don't dehydrate, which can make you feel sluggish and mentally foggy.
11. Take a Nap
Power naps get a bad rap, but they can actually boost your energy levels. Long naps might make you feel more tired than before you went to sleep, but short bursts of sleep — 30 minutes or less — can help you get through the rest of the day. Find a comfortable place to lie down and don't forget to set an alarm so you don't over-sleep.
12. Grab a Handful of Almonds
Nuts, such as almonds, are high in magnesium, which is responsible for breaking down glucose and turning it into energy. Many people suffer from magnesium deficiency — just like vitamin D deficiency — but a slight change in your diet can remedy this problem. Nuts are a healthy source of protein and other vitamins and minerals, too.
13. Cope With Emotions
Certain negative emotions, such as anger and frustration, can drain your energy faster than any physical activity. If you're burdened with negative thoughts, consider writing them down in a journal. Allow yourself to acknowledge them, then let them go. You can also talk with a trusted friend or even seek therapy with a professional if you're often plagued with these types of thoughts.
14. Change Your Patterns
If you're stuck in a rut, consider shifting your routine to make your day less predictable. A routine can be comforting, but it can also become boring. Make a subtle — or major — change to engage your mind and boost your energy levels.
15. Get Out of Your Chair
Maybe you don't have time to take a jog or engage in a stretching session. Just standing up from your chair can give you more energy, especially if you've been sitting at your desk for a long time. If possible, stretch your arms above your head and lift your heals off the floor. The combination of the movement and the stretching can help you feel more energized.
16. Grab a Smoothie
Smoothies are packed with nutritious ingredients that can help wake up your brain and leave you feeling energized. Green smoothies — those made with vegetables as well as fruits — offer the most benefits. A daily smoothie will help you meet your nutritional needs, which will translate into higher energy levels on a daily basis.
17. Get a Massage
If you're with friends or a significant other, ask for a quick massage. The pressure will stimulate your body's nerve endings, giving you energy. Even if you're by yourself, you can benefit from this practice. Rub the backs of your ears, your temples, or your ear lobes for a quick shot of invigoration.
18. Switch Your Breakfast Food
High-fiber foods, such as oatmeal and wheat-based cereals, can give you more energy throughout the day. Unlike simple sugars, fiber-rich foods take a long time to digest. This means they give you energy slowly, but for a longer period of time. This tip is great for people who find themselves crashing in the early afternoon.
19. Take a Deep Breath
A lack of oxygen can leave you feeling sluggish. To increase your energy levels, take a few minutes to simply breathe deeply. The infusion of oxygen will make you feel more alert and energized. Deep breathing during exercise, stretching, or yoga can also prove beneficial.
20. Get Social
Loneliness and a lack of stimulation can make you feel tired and distracted. If you find yourself dragging during the day, call a friend and arrange to meet for coffee. Conversation, laughter, and activity all combine to give you more energy. Hanging out with a group of friends can provide an even greater boost, especially in the evenings when you start thinking about the comfort of your bed.
While activities with friends can lift your spirits and your energy levels, choose your pals wisely. A friend who complains too much or generates unnecessary drama can actually create a drain on your energy. If you're feeling low, call a positive, high-energy friend who won't drag you down.
21. Ditch the After-Dinner Drink
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can lower your energy levels. If you enjoy a glass of wine during or after dinner every night, consider eliminating that staple from your diet. Instead, drink water or green juice to make sure you're ready to tackle the world the next day.
22. Have a Laugh
Even if you don't have any friends within calling range, you can induce a laugh. Watch a funny YouTube video, read a comic strip, or recall a funny memory. Laughter engages the parts of the brain responsible for energy and motivation; plus, if you're feeling depression in addition to fatigue, laughter can cancel out negative thoughts.
Whether it's a lifestyle or habit change or a quick solution on a fatigue-ridden day, the above tips should help you feel more energetic and better prepared to face your day.