How do you energize without energy drinks high in added sugars and caffeine? When it’s 2:30 p.m. and you are so tired that you could easily imagine yourself falling asleep on your computer keyboard, you need something that will perk you up without the negative side effects. Instead of reaching for an energy drink, give the following ideas a try.
Take a walk
“A simple five- or 10-minute walk can really energize a person,” says Dr. Deborah Rohm Young, chair of the American Heart Association’s Physical Activity Subcommittee.
She recommends walking up and down a few flights of stairs in your office building or getting outside and briskly doing a lap around the parking lot.
Try a homemade smoothie
Fresh fruit offers healthy sugars perfect for a mid-day snack. Before you head out to work for the day, make yourself a quick fruit smoothie to take with you and keep in your thermos or in the office refrigerator.
Try blending ½ cup frozen fruit with no added sugars, ½ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugars and ½ cup fat free milk. Or enjoy this Basic Berry Smoothie recipe also from the American Heart Association:
Basic Berry Smoothie
Makes 2 cups; 1 cup per serving
Tip: To freeze bananas, first peel the banana, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
1 cup frozen berries, such as blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
1 small frozen banana, broken into pieces
½ cup nonfat, sugar free vanilla yogurt
¼ cup orange juice
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Note: you can add some ice cubes if you like a little crunch!
Drink something cold
Give yourself the same effect of jumping into a cold pool by picking up a refreshing, cooling drink. It could be an ice water with lemon or lime, Rohm Young says.
She guards against reaching for a cup of coffee when you feel tired as it can be a quick fix and not last long.
“Positive social interaction can take someone’s mind off the things that are draining their energy,” says Rohm Young.
Try scheduling a walk with a friend one night a week. Make sure to choose a friend who has a positive attitude on life.
“Talking with someone who is depressed or always complaining can make the interaction not as positive,” she says. “If you are going to talk with someone who looks at the glass as half-empty instead of half-full, think about it before you go and have conversation topics in mind so you can drive the conversation in a positive direction.”
Breathe and stretch
It can be easy to get exhausted when sitting at a desk all day. Change things up by taking a few long, deep breaths and then doing light stretches, Rohm Young advises.
“Try gently rolling your neck side to side and stretching your arms up to the sky and down again,” she says. “Those simple movements can really help perk you right up.”
Remember, stay hydrated
Drinking water throughout the day helps your body stay hydrated. However, this can seem like a challenge if you aren’t a big fan. Here’s how to crave more water:
- Carry a refillable water bottle or have a permanent glass at your office desk.
- Add slices of oranges, lemons or even cucumbers for an added boost of flavor.
- Try seltzers or sparking water with a splash of 100 percent fruit juice.