It happens to all of us: the midday slump. Maybe your sleep was less than restful last night or hours of staring at a computer screen has left you groggy. Whatever the reason behind your energy dip, you need a pick-me-up STAT.
Luckily, there are some things you can do. Whether you’re chronically low in energy or you just need a little boost every now and then, here are a few expert-approved tips to help you perk up.
1. Eat an energy-boosting snack
Stabilizing blood-sugar levels with small meals and frequent snacks will provide you with the fuel needed to boost energy. Dr. Katherine Chavez, of the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern, recommended small, frequent, protein-rich meals to boost energy.
“A quick protein snack would be nuts, seeds, hard-boiled eggs,” she noted. Other ideas include an apple or banana with an organic nut butter.
2. Get up and move for 30 seconds
If you’re looking for an energy boost during your workouts, add in quick cardio bursts after each set of strength training.
Megan Geiger, a trainer and group fitness instructor in Chicago, recommended 20- or 30-second cardio bursts in between strength exercises to bring up your heart rate and energy levels. Bonus: “Spiking your heart rate will give you a little adrenaline, which could help you to burn more fat and speed up your metabolism,” Geiger advised.
You can also use this trick during the work day. Get up from your desk for a short burst of jumping jacks or running in place when you feel yourself fading.
3. Take a minute to mentally reboot
One thing to keep in mind, in terms of energy, is that it’s not just about food and fitness. Jennifer Lea, a performance coach and global director of portfolio management and innovation at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, said that energy is multi-dimensional.
“It’s not just looking at your quantity of energy, but also the quality, focus and force of your energy,” Lea noted that over the course of the day, there needs to be periods of stress and recovery. The recovery periods are when we can renew our energy.
"We need to give ourselves permission to turn our minds off and shut down," said Lea. "Even if it’s just for 30 seconds with deep breathing.”
An example of a breathing exercise would be breathing in while counting to five, holding for five counts, and then breathing out for five counts and repeating the process.
4. Laugh at something
Watch a funny video on YouTube or call a friend who can always make you laugh. “Seek laughter every single day," advised Lea. "Something that makes you laugh and smile will help renew your emotional energy, especially if you’ve had a bad conversation with someone.”
If that doesn't work, remind yourself of what’s most important in your life. Lea said, “Think of three words that describe yourself and who you are, when you’re at your best. Those words will provide motivation to get up and get a snack, seek laughter and exercise."
5. Add a supplement
Finally, try out a vitamin B complex. According to Chavez, a lot of people are depleted in B vitamins, and since we don’t get as many B vitamins through our diet, a vitamin-B complex is something that many people can benefit from.
“B vitamins help with neurotransmitters and adrenal glands and are used in tons of biochemical pathways in your body. You should notice an increase in energy right away,” Chavez said. Talk to your doctor about whether a supplement would be right for you.