7 Everyday Ways to Feel More Energized

Ever feel like you’re having your own personal energy crisis? Like you just can’t quite figure out how to boost your energy to get through the day?

We get it. Life is busy. With work, kids, family, tending to the house, and volunteer or other commitments, you may find energy in short supply.

And as much as you try to get enough sleep, sometimes, the hours don’t add up. That’s when you find yourself trudging through an eternal afternoon, wondering how to get more energy.

We’ve pulled together seven tips, hacks, and surprisingly simple things you can do to increase natural energy. Some of these natural energy boosters may require some planning ahead. But others require no equipment or trips to the grocery store.

1. Exercise (Yes, Really)

Forcing your body to move more when you feel most fatigued can seem counterintuitive. But that’s exactly the right time to do it.

Research has shown that exercise is beneficial for mitochondrial health. Mitochondria are organelles — special compartments in our cells — that convert energy from food into adenosine triphospate (ATP), which are the packets of energy our body uses. Think of mitochondria as miniature generators: They create the energy that fuels your cells, which, in turn, fuels your body. They use both glucose and oxygen to do this.

So, as you exercise, you breathe more. This increased breathing gets more oxygen circulating inside your body, which makes you feel more alert. It also helps the mitochondria keep making more energy.

It’s a win-win.

Unsurprisingly, a 2022 Frontiers in Psychology study found that people who regularly did moderate exercise:

  • Felt less fatigued.
  • Felt more energetic.
  • Felt more vital.

We also know from other research that exercise can benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Regular exercise is your best friend when it comes to increasing energy levels in general. But to wake up in the moment, try these things:

  • Do exercises in your desk chair (like leg lifts, shoulder shrugs, and stretches).
  • Run up and down a set of stairs (just make sure you have the right footwear).
  • Take a 10-minute fitness class online (there are plenty of paid and free apps that offer classes).
  • Take a walk around the block. (Bonus points if it’s cold because frigid air can wake you up. Also, sunlight can help you feel more alert.)

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2. Take a Microbreak

We know what you’re thinking: You just told me to exercise! Now you’re saying to take a break when I’m tired?

But sometimes, two things are true at once. Exercise can boost mood and energy but so can a well-timed, five-minute (or less) pause. This isn’t the same as a nap (though some people swear by naps to help with energy).

To take your break, find a place where you can sit or lie undisturbed at home or at work. Turn off notifications or silence your phone. And breathe — big, full, deep breaths.

If listening to music relaxes you, do that. Or enjoy some silence if that’s what you need. Some people may also enjoy sitting in child’s pose for their microbreak.

Taking short breaks a few times a day can help give you a small boost to keep going.

3. Drink Water (Avoid Alcohol)

Did you know that dehydration can cause fatigue? Though there are many energy drinks and powders you can mix into water, you don’t always need them.

Thirst can sneak up on you. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already on your way to dehydration. Drink water as soon as you feel thirsty and keep a water bottle with you.

Here’s what isn’t helpful to drink when you feel tired: alcohol. In fact, drinking alcohol can increase feelings of fatigue. Drinking alcohol can also interfere with your sleep.

4. Chew Gum

Psychology researchers broke people into two groups to study a nine-minute lesson. One group chewed gum, and the other didn’t. Then they tested everyone on what they studied.

The people who chewed gum did better on the test than the non-chewers. They also reported feeling more alert after the test.

Does this mean you should go out and buy gum in bulk? Not necessarily. But perhaps it’s worth a try as a quick pick-me-up.

5. Sing a Song

We know from research on group singing that singing together with others helps forge emotional bonds. But singing all by yourself has its benefits, too.

First of all, singing increases breathing. This extra oxygen helps deliver more oxygenated blood all over your body. That alone can help increase alertness.

When you sing, your brain also releases endorphins and oxytocin. These are your body’s “feel good” chemicals. And it does feel good to belt it out — cathartic, even.

So when the sleepiness hits, break into song.

6. Try Aromatherapy

There’s a reason that people used to use smelling salts to rouse someone. You don’t have to try anything that drastic, though. You can use essential oils — either breathing them or rubbing them on your skin.

Peppermint (or any type of mint smell) may increase alertness. Researchers have actually tested combinations of aromas to see which help boost energy.

A 2022 Elsevier study focused on women who’d had COVID. It found that a specific blend helped increase energy in these women. The blend contained:

  • Clove bud
  • Frankincense
  • Orange
  • Thyme

Ultimately, you have to find an aroma you enjoy. Experiment with essential oils, diffusers, candles, and wax melts.

7. Stock Your Pantry with Energizing Foods

When your energy dips, reaching for a bag of chips or a sugary drink can prove tempting. But with some planning, you can reach for healthier alternatives.

To avoid a sugar rush (followed by a crash), pair lean protein with complex carbs. This helps to slow down how your body absorbs sugar.

For example, try whole-grain pita chips and hummus. Or whole-grain crackers with a piece of cheese.

Notice when your energy dip happens during the day. For many people, adding some protein early in the day can help even out energy. Good protein options to add to breakfast include nuts and nut butter, eggs, yogurt, or avocado slices.

Other foods that may offer a natural energy boost include:

  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate
  • Popcorn
  • Oranges
  • Tart cherries

Health. How to Get Energy Without Caffeine: 15 Tips. Link

The New York Times. A New Year’s Energy Boost. Link

The Effect of Chronic Exercise on Energy and Fatigue States: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials Link

Exercise therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome Link

Child's Post Link

Chewing gum while studying: Effects on alertness and test performance Link

Singing and social bonding: changes in connectivity and pain threshold as a function of group size Link

Aromatherapy blend of thyme, orange, clove bud, and frankincense boosts energy levels in post-COVID-19 female patients: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial Link

How To Get Energy Without Caffeine: 15 Tips Link

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