Gaining and maintaining high energy levels can be a challenge. Between work, a social life, relationships and more, it can seem like our time and energy are easily being sucked dry. Here are some of my favorite life hacks to boost those energy levels, no matter how busy or stressful life may be!
I’m pretty sure I love coffee more than Lorelai does on Gilmore Girls, but sometimes my body needs something even more than that to get me through the day. Sure, drinking that delicious cup of Nespresso every morning revs up my engine, but it isn’t exactly the healthiest option to keep my energy levels high and alive all day. Sometimes when it feels like everything is piling on top of one another, we need an extra way to stimulate our senses and get us moving and smiling again. With that, I’ve learned some great ways to boost my energy levels and get me through any and all activities with a positive attitude — ready to kick butt. Don’t worry, none of them involve cutting out coffee because that’s just not my cup of tea! Instead, these are simple yet highly effective practices to include in our daily/weekly routine.
Eat + Drink Healthy
What we eat either provides us with energy or takes it away from us, which can cause drowsiness and make us feel quite lazy. This is because digestion takes up a lot of energy, as our bodies redirect blood flow from different areas to assist in digesting food. However, our bodies are also amazing in that they are able to harness powerful energy from certain foods. To keep things alive and running, try snacking on raw foods (veggies, seeds, fruits), nuts, leafy greens, avocados and lean meats. These foods contain a ton of life force without the energy drain, as they are easy to digest and absorb.
One of my favorite ways to energize my body first thing in the morning is by drinking warm lemon water. It helps boost my metabolism, wake me up and give a great jumpstart to my day. It’s also perfect to soothe my throat and stomach. Another great option, and an excellent source of better-for-you caffeine and alternative to coffee, is green tea. Not only will it provide us with energy, but it’s filled with antioxidants and other fantastic health benefits.
Use Essential Oils
Scent is a very powerful sense: it has the strongest link to memories out of the rest of our senses. Certain aromas are even able to allow our brain to feel more alert. To stimulate the nervous system and reduce fatigue, use the following oils in a warm bath or diffuser: peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. These are highly recommended refreshing scents that will increase alertness as well as overall energy levels. Be sure to avoid calming scents such as chamomile, lavender and rose, as they promote sleepiness!
I’m not the best at sticking to a consistent exercise routine, but I know that when I do get my body up and moving, I feel incredible and very energized. You may be surprised at what a little bit of stretching and even walking around during the day can do to help keep you powered up! This is especially important if you have a desk job or other profession that doesn’t allow for a lot of walking/moving around. Take a quick cardio break to clear your head, energize your body, increase oxygen to your brain to help you better focus and make you feel better overall. Feel-good endorphins = feel good mind. This doesn’t mean we have to start running laps around your town — trust me, I’m not a runner at all. I do love pumping my heart through other forms of cardio, though, such as pilates, bike riding and dancing. Regardless of the form of exercise you choose, I promise you will feel more alive.
There are endless benefits to going outside and getting that good ol’ Vitamin D from the sunshine. Aside from my love of exploring and adventuring through the great outdoors, I definitely feel more awake and calm being outside. Help the body revitalize its energy by going for a walk, especially when it’s nice and sunny out. Mild sun exposure helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and produces serotonin. Furthermore, daylight has been proven through studies to boost our productivity and overall wellbeing. This is because light has been shown to impact our circadian rhythm; and because of this, a lack of light in our lives — even in our home and workspace — can have us feeling lethargic and affect our mood negatively, as our dopamine levels may be suppressed. So when nature allows it, try your best to take even short walks to help keep our energy levels high.
Try Yoga + Meditation
You don’t have to be a devout Yogi to benefit from all of its goodness. Yoga is known to be an incredible form of exercise that helps lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. You can stick to beginner routines, until you’re comfortable enough to really get your body stretching and moving. My favorite AM yoga practice can be found here on YouTube; it’s 10 minutes, very easy and really helps your body wake up first thing in the morning. I also really love the fun, energetic vibe Adriene gives off in “Yoga with Adriene.” You’ll be in a clear, free state of mind, further putting you, your body and mind at ease.
Meditation heavily uses your mind rather than your body. There are so many benefits of practicing meditation, and even more techniques to go along with them. The two main types you can focus on are the following:
- Meditation that disengages and calms down your mind. This is where you aren’t thinking about anything. Ideal for achieving a completely free and uncluttered mind.
- Meditation that engages and stretches your mind. With this form, you think about something in particular, and try to vividly imagine it. This is excellent for setting goals or trying to decide between something difficult you may be going through.
Yoga and meditation may not instantly increase our energy levels, but they will help put us in a more calm state, which ultimately allows our minds and bodies to attain energy more easily.
Take a Cat Nap
Taking a quick nap as needed is an excellent way to regain lost energy. Thankfully, we all know how to properly nap as that was one of the best parts of childhood! Next time you need to increase your energy levels, lay down for a 15–25 minute nap. Longer naps may result in entering deep sleep, which will make us drowsy and groggy. Keep in mind that sleep deprivation can lead to a great reduction in your overall productivity. Try your best to keep a consistent sleep schedule to always feel energetic and ready each morning.
Sleep Early, Wake Up Early
Speaking of sleep… did you know that one third of our lives are reserved for sleeping? That may sound like a heavy thought, but nature intended this for a reason: so our bodies and energetic fields can repair and recharge, thus being able to thrive during the other two thirds of our lives.
During the work week, I do my very best to hop in bed around 10:30pm, 11 at the latest. Our bodies need a few hours to release those lovely healing hormones to help revitalize us during the night, and be able to better jump-start the next day. If you’re thinking to yourself “But I’m a night person, I can’t sleep before midnight,” I promise that you can – you just need to adjust how you utilize your time during the day. You will be much more energized and productive if you sleep by the latest 11pm, and wake up early feeling refreshed.
Listen to Upbeat Music
It’s a no-brainer that pumping up good music instantly drives us into a great mood. Neuroscientists have even discovered that listening to music activates the brain’s pleasure center. Putting on some upbeat tunes while working can help relieve stress, keep you focused, distract you from fatigue, and have you feeling better overall. Furthermore, it can boost our energy, especially certain melodies including classical, as the 120 to 140 beats per minute will help you stay motivated.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
When you think of your closest circle of friends, can you confidently say that each one of them makes you feel alive and energetic? I’m not saying you all have to run around and do jumping jacks together, but it’s very important for your overall health to spend time with people who are positive, driven by life, uplifting, and are filled with energy.
Get rid of or avoid anyone toxic who may have a negative outlook on life or simply drains energy out of themselves and everyone around them. It’s fine to keep these people around if you are helping them better themselves, as needed, but don’t let them drag you down in the process. I have definitely been surrounded by many people in the past who ultimately sucked the energy out of me, making me feel very unmotivated and down. This can really take over our lives if we’re not aware of it right away, and fix it accordingly.
Just Do It
Not to sound like I’m advertising for Nike, but it’s no surprise that this is their slogan. It’s a tried-and-true method. When we stop procrastinating, we aren’t draining our energy over the fact that our to-do list is never-ending. It’s also just so satisfying being able to check items off of our lists, no matter how small or big. Baby steps are perfectly fine, too. Just do it.
The more of these methods you incorporate into your life, the more energy you’ll have. The more energy you have, the better you’ll feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the faster you’ll grow in all areas of your life, making you happy all around.