You bound out of bed, ready to take charge of your day, only to find yourself wanting to do a face-plant on your desk at noon. Instead of enduring the lunchtime lethargy, give these 10 midday energy boosts a try.
1. Start your day with a drink – and keep drinking
Rise and shine with a tall cool glass of water. Your body can get dehydrated while you sleep, resulting in you feeling extra fatigued upon awakening. And if you start hydrating in the morning, you will be less likely to hit that midday slump. Aim to drink a glass of water every couple of hours.
2. Include protein and fiber in your morning meal
A donut and coffee combo is sure to send your midday energy levels plummeting – that instant energy from the sugar and caffeine is short-lived. However, studies show that eating a well-balanced breakfast will keep you full and energized throughout the morning so you aren't dragging at noon. For example, have an egg or sausage with whole grain pancakes or toast, or mix high-fiber cereal with yogurt.
3. Have some coffee with your milk
If you can't imagine your morning without coffee, skip the sugary, energy-sapping blended coffees and have a latte – half coffee and half milk. The caffeine will give you a lift and the milk will help sustain it. Straight coffee or coffee heavy on the sugar will also give you instant energy but then result in a crash an hour or two later. Keep in mind, however, coffee with milk is not a substitute for a well-balanced breakfast.
4. Nosh a mid-morning snack
If your high-energy morning causes you to quickly burn through your breakfast, have a light snack before your lunch hour. A small mid-morning meal will keep you from being exhausted and ravenous at noon and potentially overeating. Grab a handful of nuts and dried fruit, sip a satisfying smoothie, or nosh a few whole grain crackers spread with a protein-rich nut butter.
5. Fatten up your lunch – and other meals
Studies show that omega-3 fats help improve brain function and can keep you alert. In addition, adding healthy fats to your meals will keep you feeling full longer and help sustain your energy. Healthy fats include salmon, tuna, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil.
6. Consider mini-meals throughout the day
Instead of three substantial meals that are a few hours apart, eat five to six smaller meals every three hours or so. Small meals won't weigh you down like heavy meals, and eating more frequently will keep your energy level on an even keel.
7. Get moving
Jumpstart your midday energy with a workout. Use your lunch hour to go for a brisk walk, take a spin class, or do yoga. Exercise will get your blood and endorphins pumping, giving you the stamina to get through your afternoon.
8. Take a power nap
Napping is no substitute for a good night's sleep, but research suggests that a power nap – as little as 20 minutes but no more than 60 minutes – can replenish your mental and physical energy. Any longer than 60 minutes, and you are likely to wake up groggy and have trouble getting quality sleep at night.
9. Make time to meditate
Meditation is an easy and effective way to clear your mind and reduce tiresome mental and physical stress. The simple act of deep breathing can reoxygenate your mind and body while focusing on a relaxing word, phrase or mental picture can help you reclaim a sense of calm and control, key elements in regaining energy lost to duress.
10. Stay organized
Chronic disarray can drain your energy because every item out of place is a visual form of procrastination. Instead of letting your cluttered home or office suck the life out of your day, take a mere hour a day to organize one area of your home or your desk. Knowing what you have, being able to easily find it, and having a tidy space will give you a lift and eliminate the energy-sucking effect of clutter.