We all feel tired from time to time as modern life takes its toll on us. When that happens, many of us reach for the caffeine. But there are other, more effective ways to get over a midday slump or foggy morning.
Please note that if you are experiencing chronic exhaustion that doesn’t seem to improve even with sleep, you should consider talking to your doctor.
Reboot Your Brain
Sometimes, your brain just needs a break. Like an overworked computer processor, your mind can slow down–or grind to a halt–when it has too much to do.
One of the best ways to cope is by detoxing from sensory stimulation. First, turn off your digital devices, or at least put notifications on hold. If you have noise-cancelling headphones, put them on. If not, just try to find the quietest place where you can sit undisturbed for ten minutes. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let your thoughts pass like clouds through your mind.
Think of it as a power meditation session!
Eat More Protein and Fiber, Less Carbs
Let’s break out the science for a minute. Carbohydrates, especially simple ones like refined flour and sugar, will make your blood sugar spike and drop throughout the day. That, in turn, will impact your energy levels.
Protein, paired with fiber and healthy fat, is a longer-lasting, less volatile energy source. Your ultimate energy-boosting lunch would be grilled salmon and vegetables. However, any combo of veggies and protein will help keep your energy levels steady.
You might also be dehydrated, so make sure that you drink a big glass of water with your meal. If you have trouble remembering to drink enough, get a massive water bottle and put it near your workstation so that it stays top-of-mind throughout the day.
Caffeinate (the Right Way)
Not all caffeine is created equal! Sugary drinks may do more harm than good when it comes to regulating your energy levels. However, studies have shown that a cup of coffee or tea between 9-11 a.m. will give you the biggest benefits from caffeine.
Drinking caffeine much later in the day can make it hard to fall asleep. If you really need a boost during the mid-afternoon slump, try having a cup of coffee and then taking a 20-minute nap. You’ll wake up much more refreshed.
Get Just 5 Minutes
Can just five minutes of exercise make a difference? Surprisingly, yes! Going for a brisk walk or doing a few reps of bodyweight exercises will help increase blood flow. Plus, those sweet endorphins will flood your brain, making you feel more enthusiastic about the rest of your day.
If at all possible, exercise outside where the sunlight can help wake you up and produce some extra vitamin D. If you’re stuck indoors at a desk, chair yoga can help get you moving. You could also try isometric exercises, where you squeeze, hold, and release muscle groups such as your abs.
Remember to breathe deeply as you exercise–and grab that giant water bottle afterward.