by Tracey Pollack
If you’re one of the many people who crave that morning cup of coffee, that mid-day can of soda or over-the-counter stimulants for all-day energy, you may think that you need caffeine to get that much-needed boost and buzz. It’s no secret that caffeine can perk you up, but it can also bring you down and make you feel jittery, jumpy, nervous, restless, irritable and anxious. Plus, you’ll need more and more caffeine over time to get the same feel-good fix. Luckily, there are natural ways to boost your energy without the jolt and jar of caffeine. So rather than reach for caffeine by the cupful, canful or capsule, pick some of these caffeine-free pick-me-ups.
Feel Good in the Great Outdoors
One way to get more get-up-and-go is to just get up and go outdoors. Research has shown that spending just 20 minutes outdoors surrounded by nature can leave you feeling more energized. Along with boosting your energy level, nature can give your creativity, focus, performance and health a much-needed boost!
Eat for Energy
The way you eat affects the way you feel, so choose foods that keep you going and keep you full. Fill up your belly and your plate with a mix of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Complex carbs like veggies, fruits, whole grains and beans give you all-day energy to burn. Protein like lean meats, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs and tofu keep your energy up and your blood sugar level balanced. And finally, healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut and expeller cold-pressed oils will make you feel full and satisfied.
Refresh with Water
When you start feeling drained and drowsy during the day, swap that fancy latte or can of sugary soda for a refreshing glass of water. If your body is low on fluids, you’ll soon be lagging and dragging from fatigue. But drinking water will naturally boost your energy without the need for caffeine. By keeping your body hydrated, you’ll avoid the dehydration that can affect your concentration, mood and performance. Pick up a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day to easily remind yourself to keep choosing and chugging water.
Put a Pep in Your Step
Step away from the caffeine by simply going for a walk. It may seem that exercise would make you tired, but it will actually wake you up and leave you feeling energized. Along with stretching your legs, a walk can clear your mind, soothe your nerves and improve your mood by triggering your brain to release “feel good” chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. There’s no need to walk for hours because just strolling around the block a couple of times can really step up your energy.
Wake Up to Power Naps
While it may sound counterintuitive to lie down when you want to wake up, you shouldn’t sleep on the energizing benefits of a short nap. Studies have shown that short naps can improve your alertness, memory, mood and overall energy. All you need is 20 to 30 minutes of quality sleep. Brief naps can be restorative and refreshing, but longer ones can leave you foggy, groggy and wide awake all night. If you’re short on time, even a 10-minute catnap can go a long way toward boosting your energy.
Avoid the sudden spike and eventual slump of that caffeine fix with these all-natural alternatives for energy to burn.