It's 2 p.m. and you are feeling tired and sluggish (again). You walk toward the kitchen to make yet another pot of coffee in hopes that it gives you that buzz of energy that you need to get through the rest of the afternoon. Maybe you're running on auto pilot, and this has become a daily habit.
Caffeine doesn't work the same way for everyone. While it can make some people feel more tired or jittery, if your body has become dependent on caffeine, you'll eventually need higher amounts to feel the effects. Furthermore, that 2 p.m. cup of coffee may be what's keeping you up later at night, leading to more sluggish feelings the next day, making for an endless cycle of caffeine dependence.
Fortunately, there are other ways to get more energy that provide great alternatives to relying on coffee, and better yet, many of these behaviors and habits are good for your overall health, too.
Here are some of our favorite coffee-free, energy-boosting tips, so you can take on the rest of your afternoons, feeling energized and cognitively alert.
Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.
1. Get A Short Workout In
Movement and exercise is linked to an increase in the "feel-good" brain chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, which can help boost mood. Getting a mini-workout in can also increase your heart rate and in turn, get more energy flowing through your body.
Even a short workout can produce benefits throughout the day as your body feels refreshed and alert after activity, whether it's a short 15-minute stroll outside, or a mini weight pumping ab workout session. Short on time? David Rosales, an NSCA certified personal trainer, recommends simply taking a quick break to do 20 reps of one exercise, such as 20 squats, push-ups or jumping jacks.
2. Get Outside
Fresh sunlight can awaken receptors in the brain and help improve your mood and energy levels. If you can't get outside, even opening the windows can help.
"Modern buildings are made very airtight, and if you feel the afternoon slump, it may be caused by too low oxygen levels, which can impact energy," points out Gert Mikkal, M.D.
3. Have a Nutritious Snack
Oftentimes, low energy can be a sign of hunger from the body. Whether it is feeling tired or experiencing some brain fog, having a carbohydrate and protein-rich snack can help improve energy and keep blood sugar stable.
Some examples include fruit with cheese or nut butter, plain greek yogurt with granola, a nut or trail mix, or even crunchy veggies with a dipping sauce.
4. Hydrate with Something Cold
When our body is underhydrated or even dehydrated, we may suffer from a dry mouth and dry skin, our blood volume decreases, our energy dips and our concentration and mood suffers. Being just mildly dehydrated can lead to feelings of lethargy. Make water more exciting by adding fresh fruit or herbs or a Hydration** + Collagen stick pack to unlock effective* hydration, or stay hydrated with some delicious Collagen Water™, which also ups your daily collagen intake with every sip.
5. Make A Smoothie
A cold smoothie can be two-fold. It provides cold hydration and a healthy, nutritious snack to help boost energy levels. The Energy** Collagen Smoothie Mix combines collagen with energizing ingredients like matcha tea powder and L-theanine, as well as a small amount of caffeine.
6. Listen to Pump-Up Music
Music can impact mood and energy in a myriad of ways. Choose something fun and upbeat for a natural "pep in your step" and to increase your mood and energy levels.
If you have never linked breathwork to how you feel, it could be something to consider.
"Breathwork meditations can help with energy levels by increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the body," says Abby Hersam, holistic health practitioner and yoga teacher.
8. Put Something on Your Schedule to Look Forward To
Having something to look forward to later in the day can be a natural source of energy to power you through the afternoon. Whether it is dinner or appetizers with friends, a trip to the playground with your kids, or family game night, having something to mentally look forward to can keep your brain engaged and give it an endpoint to look forward to.
*Please visit vitalproteins.com/effectivehydration for more information.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary. Various studies have suggested benefits following daily consumption of collagen for several months. Refer to product labels andvitalproteins.com for recommended serving sizes and for more information.