When you’re feeling sluggish, it might be tempting to take a nap or spend time relaxing. But sometimes, taking a leisurely break isn’t an option. Fortunately, we have six simple steps that may help you get the energy boost you need.
- Stay hydrated. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. If you’re feeling lethargic, a glass of water might help perk you up. Other beverages, such as unsweetened juice, milk, and tea, can also replenish your fluids. For the healthiest choices, avoid drinks with added sweeteners and high amounts of caffeine, including sport drinks, energy drinks, and decadent coffee-based beverages.
- Eat a nutritious snack. When your blood sugar levels dip, it can leave you feeling cranky and sluggish. Instead of sugar-laden treats, reach for a snack with complex carbohydrates and protein. For example, a banana with peanut butter or a few whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese can help fuel you through to your next meal.
- Go for a walk. Regular exercise can help increase your energy levels and ward off fatigue. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, a brisk walk around the block might help invigorate you. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that participants reported increased levels of energy when they took either a thirty-minute walk in the morning or six five-minute walks throughout the day.
- Stretch. If you’re feeling run down or frazzled, gentle stretching or yoga might help refresh you. For example, some people find the bridge pose energizing. Start by lying on your back, with your arms down at your sides, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Slowly exhale, while pressing your arms and feet against the floor and lifting your buttocks up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for four to eight breaths before gently lowering your body back to the ground.
- Take deep breaths. A few minutes of meditative breathing may help improve your mood and sharpen your focus, when you’re feeling drained or swamped. Get into a comfortable seated position on the ground or in a chair. Close your eyes and consciously relax your arms and shoulders. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of six. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of six. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breathing.
- Step away. Boredom and fatigue can feel a lot alike. Frustration and stress can also be very taxing. If you’ve been focusing on a tedious or difficult task for a long stretch of time, consider taking a breather. Physically step away from what you’ve been doing and set a timer for five to fifteen minutes. You can use this time to water your plants, make yourself a cup of tea, or try one of the other energy-boosting strategies above.
When your energy starts to flag, these simple strategies may help give you a lift. Following an overall healthy lifestyle is also important for feeling your best. Try to eat a well-balanced diet, get regular exercise, sleep for seven to nine hours per day, and make time for people and activities that you enjoy. If you feel regularly tired for no apparent reason, make an appointment with your doctor. Your healthcare provider may be able to determine why you’re feeling fatigued. Taking steps to become as healthy as possible can, in turn, help you lead a more energized life.