It’s 3:00 pm. You’re starting to feel sluggish, and your day is far from over. Your first thought may be to make a cup of coffee or crack open a can of soda for an energy boost, but there are downsides to drinking too much caffeine. Feeling jittery, uneasy, agitated, or anxious can all be signs that you’re on caffeine overload.
The good news is, a caffeinated beverage isn’t the only way to beat the afternoon slump. There are many simple activities that can easily be incorporated into your day to give you an instant energy boost whenever you need it.
1. Complete a Puzzle
Whether you’re into a classic crossword, Sudoku, or the extremely popular Wordle, shifting your focus to a different mental task can help bring you out of zombie mode. When you solve a puzzle, it stimulates the brain’s cognitive activity and helps provide a mental reset. This new energy can then be used to focus on a project or work around the house.
Plus, finishing a puzzle causes the brain to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and improves your memory, drive, and ability to concentrate.
2. Enjoy the Sunshine
Sitting inside your house or at a desk in an office all day can put a damper on your mood and your energy levels. It’s important to get outside into the sunshine at least once during your day. The sun naturally alerts the brain that it is time to be awake and can make you feel more alive. Spend 10 minutes in the sun to get refreshed and boost your mood, plus you’ll get the greatest benefit of sunlight, its activation of the body’s natural vitamin D synthesis. People who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to feel tired and fatigued.
Vitamin D is a common deficiency, as many people aren’t able to spend enough time outside for sufficient vitamin D synthesis year-round. Taking a vitamin D supplement can provide the body with the additional support it needs. Unlike some brands that use vitamin D derived from a fluid secreted by sheep’s glands, Smarter Vitamin D3 is made from a premium plant source and is formulated with vitamin K2 to help encourage the absorption of calcium into your bones.*
3. Take a Breather
When done correctly, the classic yoga technique called “Bellows Breath” can help you feel more alert, provide mental clarity, and give you the same invigorated feeling you get after a workout. This exercise aims to stimulate your diaphragm and can be quite noisy. Here’s how to do it:
- Rapidly inhale and exhale through your nose with your mouth closed.
- Breaths should be as short as possible in order to create quick movements in the diaphragm; try to complete three cycles per second.
- Follow this pattern for 10 to 15 seconds, take a break, and then repeat a few more times.
4. Have a Catnap
Naps aren’t just for kids! If you have tried napping but feel groggy and disoriented afterward, you’re probably sleeping too long. Sneak away and catch some zzz’s for 10 to 30 minutes to get a natural boost of energy instead of augmenting your exhaustion. While it might not seem like much, short naps can help improve your memory, mood, focus, and information retention.
5. Drink Water
When our bodies are dehydrated, we aren’t able to keep our muscles fueled and our mental alertness suffers. During a busy day, it can be difficult to remember to consistently drink water. Keep a water bottle near your desk or with you while you run errands so that you have easy access to continuous hydration. There are even some water bottles that show you how much water to drink throughout the day and cheer you on through each hour. Aim to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to maintain ideal hydration levels.
6. Walk it Out
When you start feeling drowsy, get up and get moving! A brisk walk around the office or down the block can increase the flow of oxygen throughout the body and stimulate hormones that elevate energy levels. Plus, walking has been shown to increase creativity and clear your mind when you’re stuck on a problem or task.
7. Laugh a Little
In the middle of a hectic day, laughter can truly be the best medicine! When you genuinely laugh at a funny video, a joke with a friend, or listen to a podcast from your favorite comedian, you take in more oxygen and the body releases happy hormones to boost your mood. Sometimes all we need is a bit of comic relief to help us power through the rest of the day.
8. Listen to Music
Think about your favorite song. It’s likely upbeat and makes you feel a certain happy feeling. When this song comes on, you can’t help but start tapping your foot or nodding your head to the beat. When that familiar groggy feeling begins to strike, turn on some of your favorite songs to instantly amp yourself up. Baseball players have a walk-up song to help them get in the zone. Choose something that will pitch you the energy you need to hit a home run in your own way.
9. Eat a Snack
Being intentional with your snack choices can help give you the fuel you need to keep going between meals. While chips and cookies from the vending machine are tempting, they aren’t doing you any favors. The ideal stimulating snacks are high in protein and fiber and low in sugar and carbs. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- An apple with nut butter
- Greek yogurt with chia seeds
- Cottage cheese
- Hummus and veggies
- Hard-boiled egg
10. Write Down Your Thoughts
We live in a highly stimulating world that can cause sensory overload. There are so many things that we need to think about and do to prepare for each day that it can be difficult to focus on our most important tasks. Writing in a journal may sound juvenile, but there are many benefits to getting your thoughts down on paper. When you write down your feelings or a list of everything that’s running through your brain that day, you can help focus your attention and inspire creativity. Spending just a few minutes a day journaling can help you reduce stress and boost your overall well-being.
When they’re feeling rundown midday, the last thing most people think to do is to slow down their mind further. However, the practice of meditation allows the body to truly rest while activating the mind.
Meditation is very simple. Close your eyes and take steady, deep breathes. While you’re breathing, focus on each breath you take. Do this for at least 5 minutes.
12. Take a Magnesium Supplement
Magnesium is necessary for energy production, but many people don’t get enough from their diet alone. Smarter Magnesium is formulated from natural seawater sources for exceptional potency.* Plus, AstraGin® is included for enhanced absorption.
13. Chew Gum
Gum isn’t just for minty fresh breath. Chewing gum, especially peppermint flavored, can help stimulate the nervous system and heighten your attentiveness. Additionally, chewing gum increases your heart rate and blood flow to the brain—giving you a natural mental wake-up call.
14. Talk to a Friend or Family Member
When you’re stressed out, your emotions can strain your energy levels. Take the time to call or text a friend or family member you trust to vent your frustrations when you’re starting to feel tired out. Getting rid of some of the tension you’re holding onto can help you feel more relaxed and less physically and emotionally drained. When you’ve let go of negative thoughts and emotions, you’re open to regaining positive energy that can help you get through the rest of your day.
15. Give Your Ears a Massage
You shouldn’t always believe what you hear but give this one a listen! Our ears do a lot for us, but they rarely get the tender loving care they deserve. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that there are meridians that flow through the body. If a meridian becomes blocked, it is believed to lead to imbalances. Although there isn’t significant scientific research on meridians, it has been suggested that massaging the outer rim of your ear where a meridian may be located could help stimulate its nerve endings to increase the flow of energy.
Tuck a few of these tips in your pocket and try one out next time you’re tempted to take an afternoon trip to the coffee maker or the vending machine!
- Griffin, R. 21 Ways to Boost Energy. WebMD. 2011.
- Wartenberg, Lisa and Spritzler, Franziska. Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. Healthline. 2022.
- Grady, Michael. Boost Your Energy with Bhastrika (Bellows Breath). Yoga International. 2022.
- Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. Everything You Need to Know About the Benefits of Napping. Healthline. 2019.
- Whiteman, Honor. Laughter may release 'feel good hormones' to promote social bonding. Medical News Today. 2017.
- Tartakovsky, Margarita. 6 Journaling Benefits and How to Start Right Now. Healthline. 2022.
- Mayer, Beth Ann. Does Your Body Have Energy Channels? Here’s What the Science Says. Heathline. 2021.