11 All-Natural, Instant Energy Boosters
Tap Your Thymus
"Your thymus is located at center top of your chest, below the collar bone, between your breasts. When tapped it triggers the production of T-cells, boosts energy, relieves stress, and increases strength and vitality," says Marian Buck-Murray, a nutrition coach and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner in Maplewood, New Jersey.
For an instant boost of energy, Buck-Murray recommends tapping your thymus with your fingertips for 20 seconds, while slowly and deeply breathing in and out.
Get Some Sun
It's not surprising you feel tired when you're stuck inside a cold office with fluorescent lighting. Sneak outside to soak up some sunshine for 15 to 20 minutes.
"Sunlight energizes and elevates mood," says Dr. Lorraine Maita, a board certified internist and author of Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier
in Short Hills, New Jersey.
Sip Some Green Tea
If coffee is your go-to solution for the afternoon slump, try swapping out your cup of Joe for green tea. "Green tea has small amounts of caffeine, and there are many noted studies that demonstrate that EGCG, the active compound in green tea, facilitates weight loss," says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, who specializes in integrative medicine in Miami Beach, Florida.
So in addition to boosting energy level, you might burn some extra calories! A study by Japanese researchers found that participants who consumed 690mg of catechins from green tea daily had significantly lower body mass indexes and smaller waist measurements than those in a control group. Green tea in the afternoon is also less likely to interfere with your sleep schedule since it has less caffeine than coffee per ounce.
Are you reading this slumped over your computer, feeling tired at the moment? Perk up by standing up, says Moshe Lewis M.D., chief of the department of physical medicine and rehab at the California Pacific Medical Center, St. Luke's Campus, in Redwood City, California.
"Never sit too long. Vessels have a natural tendency to constrict during periods of inactivity, zapping you of energy and making you feel tired—even if you are not sleep deprived."
Standing up and walking around even just for a few minutes is enough to jump start your heart and muscles. Plus, it can help you be more productive once you sit down at your desk again, Dr. Lewis says.
Give Your Brain a Mini-Vacation
Next time you're fighting off the urge to doze off at your desk, try blinking more often, suggests Dr. Douglas N. Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet. "When reading, watching television, viewing the computer, or otherwise engaged, blink 10 to 20 times per minute, rather than staring at the screen or page without blinking at all. Your brain takes a mini-vacation with each blink."
Drink a Green Monster
Think you can't live without your morning coffee? Trade it for this nutrient-packed drink once and you'll change your mind.
"I usually have [this] for breakfast and then don't need to have coffee," says Joanna Chodorowska, a nutrition and triathlon coach in North Whales, Pennsylvania.
Here's how to make it: In a juicer, combine 2-4 leaves of kale, 2-4 leaves of romaine lettuce, 1 inch ginger root, half a lemon (with the seeds removed), one apple (cored), and a clove of garlic (optional for cleansing and boosting immune system).
Chodorowska says you can use this as a base and add other dark greens, carrots, celery, beets, or even an orange or pear instead of the apple to make your own signature energy drink.
Don't have a juicer? This creamy blend is just as effective at boosting energy (and tastes like an indulgent dessert!) and only requires a blender.
Socialize with High-Energy Friends
Surround yourself with people who help motivate and uplift you to revitalize your body and mind. "Associate with high-energy friends. Their energy and enthusiasm will soon enough rub off on you," Dr. Graham says.
"Learning how to inhale completely and how to exhale completely is one of the best energizers," says Dr. Laurel Clark, president of the School of Metaphysics in Windyville, Missouri.
Next time you need a quick pick-me-up, try this simple exercise from Dr. Clark: Sit with your spine straight, eyes closed. Focus your attention on your breath, and slowly inhale to a count of 6. Hold your breath to a count of 3 and tense all of the muscles in your body. Exhale for a count of 6, completely releasing all of the breath, relaxing the muscles as you do so. Hold the breath out to a count of 3. Repeat this slow rhythmic count—inhaling, hold and tense, exhaling and relax, hold the breath out.
"After a while, you can cease tensing and relaxing the muscles and just focus on the slow rhythmic breath," Dr. Clark says.
Sit Up Straight
"Shifting your posture can immediately give you more energy," says Dana Davis, a certified yoga teacher and Balance Posture Method instructor at Sonoma Body Balance, in Petaluma, California. We typically sit or stand with our shoulders, neck, and head shifted forward, which can affect the arteries that bring blood to our brain, Davis says.
"When [the arteries] are bent out of shape, that can restrict the blood flow to the brain. Our misaligned posture also wastes a lot of energy, as the muscles have to take over work that the bones would normally do in a healthy person."
Davis recommends a healthy, naturally aligned posture to help reduce long-term fatigue and stress. For help finding the most energizing posture, watch Davis's quick tutorial on sitting posture.
Eat an Apple
It's tempting to turn to sugar (hello, chocolate!) when your energy dips, but eating high-sugar foods will make your fatigue worse in the long run. Make a habit of keeping apples on hand—at home and at work.
"A simple apple is a great energy-boosting, mid-afternoon snack. Full of vitamin C, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, an apple can deliver a boost of energy and stabilize blood sugar," says Peggy Kotsopoulos, a registered holistic nutritionist and author of Must Have Been Something I Ate
What's more, new research from Florida State University says apple antioxidants and pectin (the sticky part of fruit used to make all-fruit jams and jellies) can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol (think L is for lousy) and fight inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and disease.
Drink Some Water
"The most common cause of fatigue is dehydration," Kotsopoulos says. Why? "If there is not enough fluid in your body, blood volume can drop; as a result, your body (and heart) must work harder in order to supply your cells with oxygen and nutrients."
Dehydration can cause everything from mental fogginess, impaired short-term memory, dizziness, and fatigue, she says. Be sure to hydrate all day long but especially when you start to feel fatigue coming on to help combat low energy.