We’ve all been victim to the sudden 2PM energy crash at work, where you went from being in the zone for this extra-important project to being completely incapable of spending another minute in the office. Most of us, at this point, go for our fourth cup of coffee or energy bar to get our focus back, but what other options do we have?
Here a five, entirely natural and good-for-you ways to boost your energy throughout your busy day.
1. Walk It Out
If you have a friend with a FitBit, you’ll know that walking enough daily will vastly change your health. But what does it do for you mentally?
Well it’s been proven that morning exercise is a contributor to energy, but if you happen to miss that morning’s trip to the gym, there’s good news. Walking, even a little bit, every hour of the day has the same effect on your energy levels and can even stave off fatigue, which exercise won’t.
What’s even more interesting is the study also showed that small intervals of movement during the day can also help you with food cravings and balance your mood, making you literally a healthier and happier you.
The best method? Avoid burnout at all by making it a goal to take 250 steps (3-5 minutes of walking) every hour. Whether it’s to grab a quick snack or go to the bathroom, push yourself to get up and moving.
Don’t think just because you exercised this morning that you can sit still the rest of the day! Small steps can mean huge results.
2. Apple A Day Keeps Fatigue At Bay
Like so many other people, you might be realizing the damaging effects that caffeine might be having on your body over time. And if you’re like me, you still need something to keep you awake through the day.
Well, it seems that a proper diet might be just what you need.
Turns out having certain foods in your diet isn’t just good for your physical health but can have huge impacts on your mental health too. Certain foods produce chemicals in our brain that affects our moods throughout the day.
One really special fruit is an apple, among foods that can boost and sustain your energy throughout the day. Apples contain a variety of healthy vitamins, but more importantly, contain a great balance of fiber, natural sugars, and carbs. These things make them great at filling you up for longer and giving you a kick of energy that your body needs.
Overall, look for foods that are filling and contain healthy sugars for an energy boost.
3. Take In the Sun
You might feel the affects of a nice day on your mood, but did you know there’s actually a scientific reason why the sun makes you feel better?
Vitamin D, which you can get in foods or by exposure to UVB light from the sun, is extremely important in improving sleep and staving off fatigue. One case study of a woman with consistent daytime fatigue found that after integrating Vitamin D supplements into her diet, she slept through the night and felt more energized the next day.
Though long exposures to sun can be draining from dehydration and heat, small amounts can give you that kick of Vitamin D that you need. During the spring and summer months, make sure to have your lunch out of office so you can soak up the sun and get that extra bit of energy throughout the rest of the day.
Not sunny enough? Try looking to integrate Vitamin D into your diet more to see if that lifts your spirits more throughout the day.
4. Stretch It Out
So even if your back isn’t sore, you may want to start thinking about stretching more at your desk. Beyond just easing your muscles, stretching throughout your work day can actually have an amazing affect on your brain.
When you stretch, you get the blood flowing in your body. This sends oxygen through your bloodstream and to your brain, helping it to work faster and harder. This in turn lifts your mood and makes you feel more energized and focused.
This phenomenon is probably the most natural way to get that extra boost of energy without having to take much time away from whatever your project you have on the go.
Once you’re feeling a little flat on energy, try a couple at-desk stretches! The simplest one is probably one you already do, where you twist in your chair to stretch your back. Another is to stretch your chest area, by clasping your hands behind your back and pushing your chest forward.
If you’re really committed, hamstring and calf stretches can do wonders for your mood as they bring together movement and stretching.
5. Laugh It Off
This might be the most unusual of the list, but bare with me here.
Think of the last time you really laughed, like tears to your eyes, achy belly kind of laugh. Now think about how you felt for hours after that. Did your mood stay up? Did you feel happier throughout the day?
This is one of the many benefits that laughter has for your body and mind.
First, laughter is a natural muscle relaxant, and similar to stretching, can help blood flow easier and therefore increase your energy for up to 45 minutes. It also generates endorphins, the enemy of the stress hormone, which will make you feel happier and more at ease for the rest of the day.
But does that mean you have to force yourself to laugh at 2PM every day? Well, you can, but there are other options. Try taking a short break to watch a funny video – if your office allows it – or chat with a colleague. If you’re the boss or have a loose workplace, see if you can integrate humour in the office! Things like Christmas decoration battles or who can cough the loudest may seem disruptive, but can actually be beneficial to everyone’s productivity.
Do you get the 2PM lull during the work day? What’s your favourite energy boosting activity? Let us know in the comments!