How do you make it through your morning or past the afternoon slump? Numerous cups of coffee? Energy drinks? Sugary snacks? These strategies all work temporarily, but at what cost? Sure, you get quick burst of energy from a caffeine or sugar high but before you know it, you’ve crashed and find yourself reaching again for another quick fix, creating a vicious cycle. The cycle leads to more and more dependence on caffeine and sugar, and traveling down that road leads to weight gain, poor sleep, a nervous system in constant overdrive, and eventual adrenal burnout. Here are a few tips on how to stay energized and focused throughout your day.
1. Eat a Solid Breakfast - Your brain is your most nutrient sensitive organ so you’ve got to give it fuel if you want to be mentally alert and focused. Start your day off right with eating a balanced breakfast. Since we all have different nutritional needs, there isn’t a one-size-fits all perfect breakfast to suggest, but eat something that keeps you going until lunch. If your breakfast leaves you hungry an hour after you ate it, then you probably needed to eat more protein with it.
2. Stay Hydrated – If you’re feeling a little tired while working, the first thing to consider is hydration. The body needs water to function optimally so make sure you are drinking enough. Don’t expect to stay hydrated with coffee or energy drinks; keep fresh water handy, and energize it with lemon, lime, cucumber, or any fruit or veggie of your choice. The quick walk to the water cooler can boost your energy too, which brings me to number 3…
3. Take a Break - Taking short breaks can make you happier and more productive at work. They keep you from getting bored and allow you to retain information and make connections. If you forget to take breaks, schedule them in your day. Put a sticky note on your computer screen that says “Stop, Look Away” to help save your eyesight and set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move around.
4. Eat Raw – We get energy from both raw and cooked foods, but for many, cooked foods are more likely to make you feel a little sleepy after eating them. If you’ve got a post lunch meeting that you’re worried about staying awake for, try a salad for lunch that has ample protein and fat to keep you going. A meal higher in cooked foods is great for dinner, when the day is winding down and you are preparing for sleep.
5. Green Tea – If you feel the need for a lift, try green tea. It generally has less caffeine that a cup of coffee as well as the amino acid l-theanine, which gives you a calm, focused type of energy that isn’t jittery. It can also help with concentration, mood, anxiety/stress relief and creativity.
6. Eat a Snack - I find many people don’t eat enough to properly fuel themselves. A snack might be what you need to restore your energy. Eat nutrient rich whole foods for energy, not anything over-processed or sugary. Fruit and nuts, veggies and hummus, or yogurt and trail mix make good snacks.
7. Move – If you can hide in the privacy of your office or cube (or even if you can’t), try doing 3-6 slow, deep breathing squats for a chi-building exercise. Start by standing in a comfortable position, inhale and reach your arms out and up over your head. Exhale slowly as you squat, sweeping your arms around and down toward the floor, ending in a full squat with your arms folded in front of you. Inhale as you come back up to standing, unfolding your arms and reaching out and over your head to your original starting position. Continue these with the pace of your breath.
Are you ready to break the cycle of energy spikes and crashes? Contact me today to learn how 'Eating in Harmony with Your Metabolism' can double your energy and improve you mood and focus.