So, it’s summer now, it’s hot outside, and you probably don’t feel like doing much more than lying on the couch, in the AC, while watching movies and playing video games, right? Um, wrong! You need to be active and productive! Here are some natural ways to boost your energy without drinking coffee.
1. Take a cold shower
It’s all about the polar bear swim. Researchers have even suggested a three-minute long cold shower could be enough to counteract some of the effects of chronic fatigue.
2. Hit the candy bowl
Sure chocolate’s got caffeine, but that’s not the only reason it offers a quick pick-me-up. Flavonoids found in cocoa have been shown to boost cognitive skills and improve mood.
3. Do something interesting
Plan to do the most engaging or interesting task of the day during the sleepiest time of day (typically around 3 p.m.). One study found that being interested in a task makes it significantly easier to stay awake (despite an energy lull).
4. Leave the desk
Chowing down in front of the computer makes overeating even more likely But getting away from the desk at lunchtime could help reenergize and refocus, too. Whether it’s a quick walk or a long lunch, take some time to wake up away from the glowing screen. Those emails can wait a few minutes. Really.
5. Straighten up
Slouching over the computer could cause fatigue earlier in the day. Sit up straight, though—that’s shoulders back, eyes dead ahead, and lower back slightly arched—to feel more energized and possibly even get a boost of self-confidence.
6. Blast some music and sing along
Even dummies know singing requires breath control. Belt it for a full song, and there’s plenty of extra oxygen pumping to feel energized as well as the adrenaline of taking it to the (karaoke) stage. Plus, one study showed singing significantly increased energy levels among college students (more than just listening quietly to tunes).
7. Be social
Studies have found people who are less social are generally less happy and don’t sleep as well. And compared to sedentary or quiet office work, chatting it up made study subjects feel more awake.
8. Think fast
It may not sound so easy when those eyelids are drooping, but making the brain work a little quicker may help the body follow suit! Thinking faster (i.e. reading at a quicker pace, brainstorming in a group, or learning a new concept) made one group of study subjects feel more energized.
9. Open the curtains
Environmental cues play a huge role in the body’s energy grooves (a.k.a. circadian rhythms), and sunlight can also help alleviate seasonal affective disorder. But there’s no need to invest in a light therapy box if there’s a sunny window available.
10. Stretch it out
Just a few desk stretches may be enough, but studies have suggested a little yoga could fight depression and anxiety or other stress-related disorders.
11. Add some greens
In a stuffy office, a houseplant can help filter out pollutants like volatile organic compounds (or VOCs for short) and ozone . And those chemicals can have both long and short-term effects, including energy-draining allergies and headaches . Add a plant, though, and those threats could diminish.
12. Reach for complex carbs
Wondering what to eat to fuel up? Complex carbs (like whole grains) are a good bet. The dose of glucose they provide serves as food for the brain, and one study found a meal of complex carbs made subjects feel more energized . Studies have also found low-carb dieters to be moodier than those who do eat carbs.
13. Go outside
Head into the great outdoors—even if some woods aren’t nearby, a green park will do. Just 20 minutes outdoors is enough to feel more alive. How’s that for an energy boost?
14. Power nap
Avoid the temptation to pull a Rip Van Winkle, and take a quick midday power nap instead. Studies show the optimal amount of sleep is 10 to 20 minutes to get through the day without throwing off the night’s sleep.
15. Work out midday
When that mid-afternoon urge to doze rolls around, hit the gym instead of the sack. Studies suggest working out can actually increase productivity enough to counteract that time away from the office.