Sitting in front of the computer and staring into the monitor for hours isn’t just mentally draining; it can negatively impact your energy level as well. You feel tired and sluggish, you find it hard to concentrate, and you may even be cranky and irritable too.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle and having a job that requires you to stay put at your desk for several hours a day can definitely cause your energy levels to dip sooner or later — and wreak havoc with your productivity.
Fortunately, you don’t need to turn to medications or chemical solutions in order to stay awake at work.
Here are 10 natural ways to keep your energy level up throughout the day:
1. Start your day right.
Get started on the right foot to avoid burning out faster later in the day. Don’t skip breakfast — it’s the most important meal of the day for good reason. And you don’t need to eat a heavy breakfast, either. A simple one that’s rich in protein and calcium (eggs, whole grains, oatmeal, high-fiber cereal, and fruit smoothies are yummy nutritious choices) is enough to kick-start your metabolism, fuel you, and maintain your energy at a steady level for the rest of the day.
2. Get a dose of sunshine.
Aside from giving you a healthy dose of vitamin D to strengthen the bones and your immune system, basking in the sun boosts serotonin levels to enhance your mood and help you sleep better at night. Another study also found that regular exposure to early sunlight helps regulate hormones — and hormonal imbalance can lead to feelings of fatigue.
3. Opt for healthy snacks.
A cup of coffee in the morning is a good way to give you a jolt of energy, but another cup in the middle of the afternoon? Not so much. The ensuing caffeine high you’ll experience will pretty soon be followed by a crash, which means you’ll end up more sluggish than ever.
For a natural energy boost, go with healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fruits. Avoid sweets and junk food that contain only empty calories and will cause you to crash once the sugar rush wears off. Go for protein-rich snacks that slowly release energy throughout the day, like peanut butter spread on apple slices, dark chocolate, or low-fat cheese with crackers, and equally healthy drinks like green tea. It contains caffeine but at a less powerful amount so you get that kick minus the crash. Plus, it’s loaded with antioxidants, which help combat stress and fatigue.
4. Take a shower.
Notice how you feel after taking a shower or bath — less stressed, rejuvenated, and energized. You feel lighter and more optimistic. Well, studies have proven that a shower or bath is great for improving one’s mood and aids in depression. The next time you feel stuck at a certain task, take a quick shower and make it a cold one — the cold temperature will give your system a good “shock,” thus increasing your oxygen intake and releasing a rush of blood through the body.
5. Energize with essential oils.
A whiff of energizing essential oils such as lemon, lime, peppermint, and grapefruit can rejuvenate the spirit and stimulate the senses. Couple it with some deep yoga breathing and you’ll soon be steadily plowing through your to-do list like the rock star you truly are!
6. Take a walk.
Starting to feel that your mental gears are slowing down? Take a break and go for a walk outdoors. The activity will work wonders in boosting blood circulation in the body and giving you a second wind. So get up from your desk, stretch your arms and legs, and your blood will be pumping in no time.
7. Decode your chronotype.
Morning people are known to be productive, but that doesn’t mean you have to be one. According to a sleep specialist and psychiatrist Dr. Michael Breus, people’s circadian rhythms and internal clocks can be categorized into four — dolphin, lion, bear, and wolf — so knowing your chronotype will help you utilize your energy wisely and work on demanding tasks at your most productive hours. What’s more, by finding out your chronotype, you can determine what time you should go to sleep and wake up, thereby lessening the risk of experiencing midday fatigue.
Here’s a quick guide on the four chronotypes:
Dolphin – These light sleepers have energy cycles that come in waves throughout the day. They usually wake up tired but become more alert toward the end of the day, from 3 to 9 P.M.
Lion – They’re eager to start to their day and wake up with lots of energy. Their peak performance is usually from 8 A.M. until noon. By evening, they’re exhausted and tend to fall asleep around 10 P.M.
Bear – This chronotype is hugely affected by sunrise and sunset. They need eight hours of sleep; otherwise, their productivity suffers. They’re most productive and focused mid-morning till mid-afternoon, around 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.
Wolf – These nocturnal creatures have a hard time waking up, and it takes them a few hours to feel totally awake. They’re most energetic late afternoon onward and work best at night. Wolves usually fall asleep by midnight or later.
8. Take a power nap.
According to sleep experts, a 10- to 20-minute power nap works wonders in giving you a quick boost of alertness and energy without messing up your circadian rhythm and sleep later at night. Power naps are also great for improving memory, cognitive skills, and creativity. However, the sound of the alarm can be jarring, so use a power nap app with a gentle wake-up cycle to avoid feeling groggy and disoriented after your short beauty sleep.
9. Stay hydrated.
Can’t spare the time to get up, go for a walk, take a shower, or have a power nap? Drink some water instead. Stress and fatigue can knock you off big-time if you’re dehydrated, so make sure to sip water throughout the day.
10. Listen to music.
Music can affect one’s mood. When you feel your energy dipping, it’s time to put on your headphones and listen to some perk-me-up music. Listen to upbeat, fast-paced tunes, which trigger the release of endorphins and dopamine, the feel-good hormones that rev you up. And while you’re at it, dance away to get the blood pumping!
The monotony of a desk job isn’t just boring; it’s also mentally, psychologically, and physically exhausting. And while you can’t do anything about the circumstances of your work, you CAN control your energy level and give yourself a boost anytime you need it. By eating healthy, sleeping right, and taking the proper breaks, you can refresh and reboot your energy — and keep going all day long.