Are your eyelids sagging as the afternoon wears on? When low energy drags you down, don’t look to a candy bar, cup of coffee, or energy drink for a lift. The sugar and caffeine might give you an immediate pick-me-up, but after that quick high wears off, you’ll crash and feel even more drained
What you need: a lasting solution to keep sluggishness at bay. Here are 10 fatigue fighters that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
1. Eat your breakfast. People who eat breakfast every morning report less fatigue and stress than people who skip it. High-fiber foods, like hot oatmeal, stick with you longer than a sweet roll or pastry. As the day wears on, they’ll prevent you from getting hungry (hunger can lead to low energy).
2. Do a downward dog. Some studies have found that yoga, which uses various postures and deep breathing for exercise and meditation, can be an excellent fatigue fighter.
3. Belt out your favorite tune. Singing gives you a kind of emotional high while it reduces levels of stress hormones in your body. So grab a hairbrush, put on your favorite song, and sing away. If you’re at work and don’t want to face your co-workers’ puzzled stares, you might want to save your vocal stylings for the car.
4. Have a drink of water. Dehydration can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. You don’t necessarily have to follow the “eight glasses a day” rule, but you do want to drink enough water to keep your body well hydrated. You can tell you’re well hydrated when you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is light-colored. Try to get to the fridge or water cooler for a refill every few hours. The walk there will also help you wake up.
5. Go nuts. Eat a handful of almonds and peanuts, which are high in magnesium and folate (folic acid). These nutrients are essential for energy and cell production. A lack of these nutrients in your system can leave you feeling weary.
6. Grab a cinnamon stick. Research finds that just a whiff of this scented spice can reduce fatigue and make you feel more alert. No cinnamon handy? Grab a mint from your bag. Peppermint’s sweet aroma is another fatigue fighter.
7. Get moving. Exercise is a natural energy booster, because whenever you do it, oxygen-rich blood surges through your body to your heart, muscles, and brain. Regularly squeezing a workout into your day — even if you can spare only 10 minutes at a time — will help keep your energy levels at their peak. Move around every chance you get, even if it’s just to pace in circles while you’re on the phone.
8. Let the sunshine in. Research confirms that just a few minutes of walking outside on a warm, clear day enhances mood, memory, and the ability to absorb new information. Going outside can even improve your self-esteem. If you absolutely can’t get out, at least open the shades.
9. Have a bite. Your brain needs fuel to function at its best. When your blood sugar level drops, your mind will start running on fumes and will feel fuzzy as a result. So if your head is starting to droop, eat a snack that will give you enough energy to take you through the rest of the afternoon. Snacks that combine protein with slow-burning carbs — like banana slices with peanut butter, or granola with fresh berries — are best for maintaining your blood sugar levels over the long term.
10. Hang out with upbeat friends. Emotions are surprisingly contagious. People who are constantly negative and down can sap your energy, while those who are always up and excited can give you a real lift.