Updated: Oct 29, 2022
The #1 question I have been asked since starting my blog is how to have more energy during the day, especially at work. There's nothing wrong with having a cup of coffee to get yourself going in the morning, but if you rely heavily on caffeine to get through your day, it can be tough. And even then, sometimes you are wired from the coffee but you are not actually tuned in/focused on your work. Also, keep in mind that coffee raises cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and our bodies naturally produce cortisol in the mornings. So, if you are feeling anxious after a cup of coffee, that's why!
Here's my checklist of lifestyle habits that help to keep my energy up through out the day. I hardly drink coffee anymore (I used to drink 2-3 cups per day), and if I do, I only need one cup of coffee maximum. By following the below I don't get the energy crashes I used to get during the day!
Having energy during the day starts the night before. If you aren't getting at least 7 hours of QUALITY sleep each night, you are messing up your body's natural rhythms and not giving it a chance to heal and restore properly. If your health were a house, sleep would be the foundation. Read my blog post on sleep for tips on getting your best night's sleep if you struggle with this!
Dehydration causes a myriad of problems, one of those being lethargy. By the time you are thirsty, it's too late. Focus on getting half your body weight in ounces MINIMUM, but really try to go for more than that. I aim for 80-100 oz per day. If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen my posts about my lemon water in the morning- not only is this a great way to heal your gut and kick-start your metabolism; it also kick-starts your hydration! I aim for 24 oz of room-temperature lemon water right when I wake up. That's already 1/4 of my water for the day.
If you're not used to drinking this much water each day, it will be tough at first. You will feel like you are drowning yourself, and you will probably visit the bathroom much more often than before. But it's worth it for the stable energy, I promise.
3. Cut Out Sugar and Processed Foods
This should be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often this goes overlooked. Simply put, if you are eating junk, you will feel like junk. Sugar causes major spikes/crashes in your energy levels, and I'm not just talking about sweets. There's added sugar in most processed foods- like bread, crackers, and even foods that you wouldn't think need sugar! Focus on whole, plant-based foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats for stable energy. Eating foods that are low on the glycemic index will also ensure stable energy.
4. Eat Breakfast! In Fact... Keep Eating Throughout the Day
Again, a no-brainer for some people, but I am constantly surprised at how many people skip breakfast or lunch because they are busy or not hungry. Personally, my energy levels are best when I eat 5 small meals per day, spaced out about 2-3 hours from each other. You don't need to do 5 meals, but definitely don't skip meals...you are skipping fuel!
A healthy meal to "break your fast" in the morning will also make or break your energy levels. I'm not talking about a sugar-laden muffin from Starbucks. I'm talking about healthy fats, lean proteins and plenty of vitamins and minerals to nourish your body. There are plenty of healthy breakfast options out there, but I believe nothing beats a green protein smoothie in the morning- getting your greens in early sets you up for a healthy, happy day! Try my favorite Vegan Chocolate Cherry Maca Smoothie.
5. Get Moving
An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion! This applies to humans, too- keep yourself moving to continue creating energy. This is especially important if you sit at a desk- you need to get up every hour (minimum) and get that blood pumping in your body! I have a standing desk, and I still walk around my office as MUCH as possible to keep my energy up. Instead of sending an email, maybe just walk over to that person's desk and chat with them. Get up and walk around the building instead of eating your lunch at your desk. Get moving!
Regular exercise is key, too- it circulates more oxygen throughout your body, which guarantees a good night's sleep.
Start your day with movement to help wake you up. This is easy for me because I have a dog, so I have to walk him first thing every morning. Try a brisk walk, or a gentle yoga flow to get your body moving and help you wake up- 10 minutes will do the trick!
Shallow breathing prevents your body from getting enough oxygen. A simple breathing exercise can do wonders for your energy and focus. Try sitting cross-legged or upright in a chair, and breath deeply into your belly. Breathe in slowly, counting to 4, then breathe out counting to 4. Do these for a few minutes and you'll have substantially more energy.
Here's the food/drinks that I supplement in my diet to create more focus and energy throughout the day.
Medicinal Mushrooms (these have been a game-changer for me!)
Lion's Mane (caffeine-free and helps with focus- great if you have ADD or ADHD but don't want to take pills)
Chaga (caffeine-free and naturally energizing, also cancer-preventing)
Magnesium (I'm not a fan of vitamins, but magnesium is the one thing I do supplement. I use a spray-on version because it's better absorbed by the body)
Green Tea/Matcha- I drink a matcha latte every morning instead of coffee- puts me in a great mood and helps me focus.
Maca Root Powder- Maca is great for balancing hormones and also for natural, sustained energy. I like to put it in my breakfast smoothie a few times per week.
Greens Supplement- Most of us don't get enough greens throughout the day, so supplementing them is a good idea. I add Detox Organics to my smoothies and other recipes and it's DELICIOUS-plus the ingredients list is 100% clean and organic. Try it here and use code HALEY15 for 15% off!
Apples- it is said that eating one apple gives you the same energy (naturally) as one cup of coffee. Try soaking sliced apples in your water for a refreshing and energizing drink!
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