If you’re looking to solve your afternoon energy-slump without the caffeine, there could a solution as simple as:
- Keep it moving
- Fuel your body
- Make it a habit
Here, we’ll be discussing three common reasons why you may feel groggy in the morning or stagnant in the afternoon. You may be surprised to find the solution simpler than you think.
Keep it moving
One of the quickest ways to boost your energy naturally is to simply get up and move. But don’t worry if hitting the gym first thing in the morning doesn’t suit you — according to recent findings, just 10 minutes of casual movement (you don’t even have to break a sweat) can be enough to boost your focus and get you ready for the day. (1)
Whether 10 minutes of yoga, walking, or cycling piques your interest, there are countless simple exercises you could do to get your body moving in the morning — you don’t even have to go outside for most of them.
By far one of the perkiest exercise you could do is the simple jumping jack, which has the added benefit of boosting your energy by getting your heart rate up and endorphins flowing in as few as 10 repetitions.
Fuel your body
It makes sense that fuelling your body right would make it run better for longer, which is why it is so important to make sure you’re choosing nutritious nutritious meals, especially when you feel your energy dipping.
We all know that we’re likely not eating enough leafy greens, colourful vegetables or fresh fruits, so those are the obvious nutritious choices to make — however, there are other options that can give you more “bang for your buck,” per se.
Here are some quick options for adding an energy boost to your meals, especially if you’re on-the-go or at work.
- Bananas - excellent source of potassium, carbohydrates and vitamin B6 for a burst of energy
- Brown rice - easy to pack for lunch and less processed than white rice, therefore retaining nutritional fibre, vitamins and minerals, beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels
- Sweet potatoes - full of vitamin A, as well as complex carbs that provide your body with a steady supply of energy, add these to a salad or oven bake to bulk up your lunchtime
- Undenatured whey - a natural form of whey protein that’s free from harmful or unnecessary additives, that will also give you the benefits of vitamins and minerals along with a complete protein
- Undenatured whey provides cystine, glutamate and glycine, the necessary precursors for your body to make its most important antioxidant, glutathione, involved in everything from immune defence to energy production to brain function
As for energy-smart snacking to keep you on track at your desk, try replacing those sugary treats with these nutritious options:
- Crunchy veggies like carrots, snap-peas or radishes can help fight cravings and give you a boost of essential nutrients and antioxidants
- Dark chocolate can provide a sweet fix with an energy-boosting, anti-inflammatory perk
However, if you still need a warm cup of something to perk you up, look to herbal teas for a coffee replacement with surprising health benefits.
- Ginseng teas: increase overall health, support of white blood cells, shorten the common cold
- Ginger teas: aid and calm digestion (2)
- Lemon balm teas: shown to stimulate brain function, increase focus (3)
There are countless flavours to suit any mood, and they’re naturally caffeine-free!
Make it a habit
You may have heard it before, but one of the most effective ways to clear your brain fog and make sure you’re prepared for the day ahead is developing a daily (and nightly) routine that keeps you feeling energised, and that incorporates the points we’ve already talked about.
The first step in your “energy routine” is sleep — if your body doesn’t have the time to restore the energy it has spent on cell functions during the previous day, you won’t be functioning optimally. Poor sleep leaves you feeling sluggish, and can lead you to making poor choices throughout the day, including what you choose to fuel your body with.
If you feel like you’re waking unsatisfied with you night’s sleep, try creating a routine for yourself before you go to bed. Eat dinner well before, unplug yourself from electronics, have a cup of soothing chamomile tea, and do something that puts your mind at ease — maybe read a book, do a crossword, or write about your day. How you go to sleep largely dictates how you start the next day. (4)
What’s the takeaway?
The quick answer: start your day with exercise and some protein, pack a nutritious lunch and do some jumping jacks when you’re feeling run-down.
The long answer, however, isn’t even that much longer, and it could allow you to beat your daily energy-lows before they even appear. It’s as simple as:
Keep it moving. Fuel your body. Make it a habit.