Zzzzzz. That’s the sound of your brain when the 2 p.m. slump hits. No one is immune: entrepreneurs, stay-at-home moms, traveling salespeople — everyone hits that midday wall. So what do you do? Before you reach for the pot of coffee, know that there are natural ways to boost energy. Even better? They’re scientifically-backed.
When you find yourself wondering how to boost your energy when you’re tired, use the below list as a guide to help you fight fatigue, no matter when it strikes.
7 Natural Ways to Boost Energy When You Hit a Midday Slump
Here’s how to increase your energy and motivation when you hit a low point.
You know we love meditation around here. And justifiably so—science supports it as a way to reduce anxiety, chronic pain, stress, and more. But that’s not all. Recent research found that participants who did 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation performed better on executive function tests than a control group who read for the same amount of time. What’s more? They also reported energy increases.
If you can’t squeeze in 25 minutes, or that just sounds like a lifetime, try shorter sessions of five to 10 minutes. Consider it a recharge for your brain. You can even get this energy boost right at your desk. Just pop on some headphones and breathe. If you’re not comfortable in your office, go outside or even in your car for complete quiet.
Not sure where to start? There are several free meditation resources on Youtube. Simply search “meditation for energy” and find one that works for you. Or take a look at one of our meditation apps or meditation podcasts for more recommendations.
2. Get moving
Exercise is one of the best natural ways to boost energy, according to heaps of research. For example, one study that analyzed results from over 6,800 people found that those who exercised regularly felt less tired and had more energy than those who didn’t exercise. And those results were found across 90 percent of the studies and on populations of healthy people, cancer patients, those with chronic illness, and more.
“…it may be that lacing up your tennis shoes and getting out and doing some physical activity every morning can provide that spark of energy that people are looking for,” the study’s author, Tim Puetz, told Science News Daily.
Even better news? You don’t have to run a marathon to take advantage of its blood-pumping and fatigue-fighting powers. Research shows that even short bursts of exercise can up your energy. Try going for a brisk walk a few times a day or squeeze in 15 minutes of HIIT at lunch. When that exhaustion hits, run the stairs for five minutes or bust out some desk squats.
3. Sing a song
Sure, belting it out in the car is enjoyable, especially on rough commutes. But it turns out that singing can actually affect your mood and stress levels, ultimately restoring energy.
Researchers found that participants who sang in a choir reported being in better moods and had a better immune system response than individuals who merely listened to the music. Luckily for us, mood boosts and energy boosts tend to go hand in hand.
While we’re not giving you permission to bust out an opera concerto in the middle of your cubicle, there’s nothing wrong with some car karaoke, shower singing, or following along with your favorite song on a lunchtime walk. You might just find yourself feeling better — and more energized — in the process.
4. Eat breakfast
Love it or hate it: Eating breakfast in the morning is a science-backed way to keep your body functioning at its peak.
A recent research project called The Big Breakfast Study analyzed the results of studies investigating the chronobiology of eating and concluded that eating in the a.m. can help with weight control and also immune function. Other research suggests that breakfast can increase energy levels, cognitive funcion, and your mood. In other words, you want to eat breakfast.
Let’s be honest: No one has time to make a big breakfast every day. Luckily for you, you don’t have to. Keep quick and healthy breakfasts that include protein and fiber on hand. Think things like Greek yogurt, rolled oats, fruit, eggs, and nuts. To make it even easier, consider meal prepping. Hard boil a dozen eggs on Sundays, make a quiche you can eat throughout the week, or pre-cut fruit to grab and go in the morning.
Just a little prep will go a long way to keeping your energy up throughout the week.
5. Embrace the power nap
There’s nothing wrong with shutting yourself down for a bit. Everything needs to be recharged in order to function properly – including you. Doing so is why power naps make our list of natural ways to boost energy.
Research shows that a daytime nap of about 20 minutes helps with alertness and the National Sleep Foundation suggests the same. Any longer can throw off your nighttime sleep patterns, but a quick 10 to 20-minute power nap can boost your energy and get you back to work.
If you work from home, you can easily take a quick nap. Just be sure to set your alarm. If you work in an office, however, catching a few z’s is trickier. If your office hasn’t jumped on the nap pod bandwagon with the likes of Google and Huffington Post, consider dozing off in your car on a break.
6. Drink water
Dehydration, even at its mildest state, can affect your brain and your body, according to much research. And that’s no good for energy levels. To keep you alert and focused all day, drink water. A lot of it.
A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should be drinking 80 ounces of water per day. It seems like a lot, but your body will thank you. And remember, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times and remember to fill it throughout your day. Use a habit tracker, like the one in Panda Planner, to check off every time you refill your bottle.
7. Hit the mat
As in the yoga mat.
The health benefits of yoga have been touted for centuries, but recent research suggests that doing just a few yoga poses throughout the day can increase your energy levels and even your self-esteem. And you don’t have to opt for a 90-minute mat session either. The study found that just two minutes of yoga poses was enough to boost self-reported energy among participants. Two. Minutes.
To try it, take a break from work to do a few simple poses, like Downward Dog or Warrior II at your desk. Or try our energizing yoga routine or morning yoga poses to power-up your altertness even more.
To sum it all up…
In short, these natural ways to boost energy can add the spark you need to thrive in your day. Or at least make it through without downing a whole pot of coffee. And some days, that’s just fine. So get out there, get moving, stay mindful, and keep hydrated for energy kicks that last all day.
Your turn: Have you tried any of these natural ways to boost energy? Let us know what works for you in the comments below.
For more ways to get bendy, try our yoga video for lower back pain.
Author: Kelly Heitz
Kelly Heitz is a freelance writer and social media guru. When she’s not scrolling through her Instagram feed, you can find her outside—usually hiking, painting, or patio drinking.