16 energy boosters that won’t leave you depleted

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by Lisa Byrne

Lisa is the bestselling author of Replenish and founder of WellGrounded Life. She's got a big-hearted vision of a world where moms are fully equipped to live calm, healthy, and vibrant lives. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three kids, and 110 pound yellow lab.

Do you feel exhausted at the end of your day? Do you need that first cup of coffee in the morning to “get going?” Do you experience dips in your energy mid-morning or mid-afternoon?

If your answer is yes, read on, because your body is telling you something important.

When our bodies are running well, we wake up refreshed. Our energy levels stay replenished throughout the day, and we have the same amount of energy at the end of the day as we do in the morning. We don’t need to rely on energy crutches — like a morning cup of coffee — to get through the day. Our systems are nourished with true forms of energy and are running in top condition.

But many of us rely on “energy loans” to get us through the day.

Caffeine, sugar and nicotine keep us running, but they do so at a high cost, and for only so long. These temporary lifts will always leave us depleted because they are like a bank loaning out money at high interest.

We use these “energy loans” to get us through our immediate energy needs, but end up straddled with the “debt” of exhaustion at the end of the day. When these crutches are used over a long period of time, the cycle spirals and our body never has a chance to catch up on sustainable energy or to restore and repair itself.

How do we stop this cycle and begin to nourish and care for our bodies so they are full of vibrant energy all day, throughout the day?

Here are 16 ways to begin to bring more energy into your day.

1. Choose nutrient-dense, real foods.

  • Choosing nutrient dense foods are essential for our energy because they give more to our bodies than they take to digest.
  • Start by increasing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

2. Balance your meals.

  • Our bodies need all the major nutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) to function properly.
  • Include some protein, healthy fats and whole-grain carbohydrates together in each meal.

3. Increase your fiber in the morning.


Photo by Sharon Mollerus

  • When we eat a fiber-rich breakfast we stay satisfied and energized for longer, breaking the need for that mid-morning sugary snack or cup of coffee.
  • Try oatmeal, granola or fresh fruits – especially berries, apples, or pears in the morning.
  • Consider eating a lunch-type meal in the morning. I often eat avocado on sprouted grain toast or a bean and veggie soup for breakfast.

4. Consume more raw foods.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables have all the enzymes and nutrients intact (cooking food destroys some of the energy-giving enzymes and nutrients). The life energy of these foods leaves us rejuvenated.
  • Add more raw produce to each of your meals by having a side of raw cut veggies or fresh fruit every time you eat.

5. Eat your greens.

  • Focus especially on the dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, broccoli rabe and swiss chard.
  • These vegetables are full of vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals (like chlorophyll) that improve circulation, purify the blood, and strengthen the immune system.
  • Associated with springtime, these vegetables increase vital energy and aid in detoxification.

6. Increase your physical activity.


Photo by Judith

  • Some daily movement is essential to healthy levels of energy.
  • Start by incorporating even 10 minutes of activity, like walking, yoga, or dance — preferably in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.

7. Reduce toxins.

  • Removing toxins requires a lot of energy and taxes the body. Manage your environment to reduce the toxic load on your body.
  • Begin by using non-toxic personal care products and household cleaners, and organic foods whenever possible.
  • Cleanse the air and water at your work and home with a purifier.

8. Oxygenate your body and mind.

  • Practice deep breathing techniques throughout the day to bring in more oxygen to your body and mind.
  • Try this simple breathing technique: Sit comfortably with your torso straight.  Breathe through your nose, inhale a deep breath for as many counts as is comfortable.  Now exhale slowly to double that count.  So if you inhaled for four counts, exhale to eight counts. Repeat for five minutes throughout your day, or when you begin to feel tired or stressed.

9. Take a cold shower.

  • Well, not exactly. At the end of your shower, change the temperature of the water to slightly cooler. You only need a slight decrease in temperature to get the benefit. The cooler water (after the warmth of the shower) will essentially close your pores and “massage” your nervous system.
  • When your nervous system is engaged and stimulated in this way, it is prompted to flush toxins and increase circulation- which brings more oxygen to your tissues. This translates to a healthy energy boost that leaves you feeling refreshed.

10. Twist and stretch.

  • Engaging and “massaging” any of your internal organs or systems will leave you invigorated – this is one of the many benefits of a full body massage.
  • Try this simple “Tom Tom” stretch to engage your lower organs and reduce stagnation: Stand up straight, knees soft and legs hip-width apart. Let your arms dangle softly by your side, hands in soft fists. Slowly twist your torso, looking right and then left. Allow your arms and hands to rotate freely and softly hit your lower back and lower stomach. Gain momentum and twist farther as your body loosens up to the degree it feels comfortable.
  • This is a wonderful stretch to do when you have been in one position too long, especially sitting at a computer.

11. Hydrate.

  • We all know there are many benefits to staying well hydrated, and retaining a high level of energy through our days is one of them.
  • Be careful to not only drink enough water throughout the day, but to also avoid the major dehydration culprits – caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

12. Get enough rest.


Photo by Agnese

  • Seems obvious enough – we will feel more energized if we have enough rest, but most people have a hard time getting enough restful sleep.
  • Your body must produce melatonin to sleep properly. Overstimulating our senses, especially with artificial light, can prevent this chemical from being made.
  • About an hour before you want to go to sleep, dim the lights, and shut off the TV and computer screen. Create a calm mood with candle light or soft music. Engage in calming activities like light reading or taking a bath.
  • Naps work! If you aren’t able to get the right amount of sleep at night, use midday power naps. Most people need between 60-90 minutes to feel fully refreshed, but even mini-naps can help recharge our batteries.

13. Use your sense of smell.

  • The power of scent is often under appreciated. Research shows the certain scents have a profound impact on our mental and emotional states.
  • Use pure essential oils of peppermint, orange or lemon to awaken all your senses. Put a couple drops in your palms, then cup your hands around your nose and breath deeply.

14. Listen to your body.

  • Sometimes the key to feeling energized is knowing when to slow down, stop, or say no. When we consistently overextend ourselves we burn out. It’s okay to have a mellow day, to take it slow and not push yourself. In fact, it is a sign of wisdom to know your limits and to honor them.

15. Reconsider draining relationships.

  • Some relationships that require a lot of energy are necessary, rewarding and important (I’m not tossing my two-year-old out the door any time soon), but some simply zap us of energy and bring negativity into our lives.
  • There may be relationships in your life that are exhausting and draining. When you identify a person that is draining, think of ways you can re-establish boundaries or transform the relationship to be more positive in your life.

16. Connect inwardly.


Photo by Patrick Kennedy

  • Our lives are increasingly interconnected with others, yet disconnected with ourselves. Through the people we live with, work with, interact with on our daily errands, and communicate with on the internet – we often spend most of our days with an outward focus. Cultivating an inward focus in order to know ourselves and our spirit is essential to feeling renewed and energized for the work of our days.
  • Take time daily to sit still with yourself, learn to hear your inner thoughts, come to know your spirit’s voice – its dreams, fears, longings, needs. Give your whole self the opportunity to grow and be cared for.

The next time you are feeling a lull in your day, try something from this list to help boost your energy. Or better yet, be proactive and begin to incorporate some of these techniques throughout your day to stay at the top of your game.

Do you struggle with low energy or energy dips? Do you rely on “energy crutches” to get through the day?  How do you stay energized from morning to night?

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Comments

  1. Great Tips!! I especially like #16 – connecting inwards which I do find a bit lacking in my personal life at the moment. Sometimes I get so caught up with work/kids that I lack the space/time to think about self.

    Dominique´s last blog post…Motivating your child through rewards

  2. This article is great! I really agree with the “10 mins of activity” tip – I’ve been trying to get more active and I do see a difference in not only in energy levels, but reliefs stress as well.

    Renee | Beauty Fool´s last blog post…Freida Pinto’s Academy Awards Makeup Look 2009

  3. Great tips! You are what you eat and you will always be rewarded for attention to your diet. My best rejeuvenation tip – a bath works for me everytime. Almost everyday after work, the #1 thing I do is head back for a 15 -20 minute bath. Perhaps its a mental thing; washing off the day’s stresses. Or perhaps it is a physical thing; soaping up and feeling refreshed. Then again perhaps its a spiritual thing; time alone away from the kids! Whatever it is, it works!

    mandy´s last blog post…Amy Butler Pattern and Fabric Giveaway!

  4. What a great list! I actually gave up caffeine a few years ago and even though I sometimes wish for that extra “kick” I really don’t miss it. It does help to do the things you’ve listed, especially the eating right and drinking water. I find that taking a little cat nap in the afternoon when I can helps too. :)

    Tabitha – From Single to Married´s last blog post…YOU CAN DO IT – Continuing Education

  5. Hi Lisa,
    This is a great list. I do most of what you suggest, now, but didn’t always. I would rely on my mid-morning coffee to get me through most days but now require it less and less. Approaching your day (and health) as an active participant is very empowering and essentially puts you in control of how you feel.

    I particularly like point 15 (reconsider draining relationships). I’ve done that and I now choose to surround myself with like minded, positive people. I’ve noticed that I’m happier for it and have a lot more energy. Negativity is incredibly draining so actively deciding not to enter these situations makes a huge difference. This is a very good post!

    Oh and how do I stay energized? Eat and drink well throughout the day and dance with my kids like nobody’s watching :)

  6. These are great tips. I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate these things into my daily activities, like trying to stretch my muscles while I watch my little ones run on the playground or downing a glass of water as I fix my little one a cup for herself. I’ve also been trying to get into bed and say good night soon enough to have some time to let my brain sit there and appreciate all the things that happened that day.

    I actually wrote about the encouragement I’ve found from the Bible about exercise today at: http://burningbushes.org/

  7. What great suggestions. I have been caffeine free ever since I found out I was pregnant with my first child, except for a couple lapses here and there. I must say going cold turkey with the caffeine was hard, which definitely convinced me it was a drug. I have unfortunately fallen off the wagon a bit here lately, just within the last couple of weeks, just one cup or so a day, but this gives me added incentive to phase it out again.

    Taylor at Household Management 101´s last blog post…Feb 24, Recommended Organization Sites

  8. As I read this I am drinking my first cup of coffee (out of what will be 2 – 3 more) of the day. It is THE crutch for me!

    These are great tips. I exercise everyday, but since I can only make it to the gym at night time I lose the benefit of letting my workout energize me for the day. I think if I drank more water, went to bed earlier, and paid more attention to my diet, I could get by on maybe just one cup a day ;)

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…6 Reasons Anti Racist Parenting is for Everybody

  9. exercise is big for me – especially swimming! I have a 5 week old & a 2 year old, so I’m not back into a great routine just yet and I miss it!

    jodi´s last blog post…Quick Pics

  10. Thanks for the tips! This Lazy Mom needs all the energy I can get! I know all these things, but seem to need to be reminded on occasion.

  11. Great article! We are huge water drinkers in our house, so I love #11, and am looking forward to implementing the others in our daily lives. Thanks!

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…a giveaway!

  12. Wonderful information! A great reminder for everyone. As a dietitian – I would give a big thumbs up re: the nutrition hints! (With an exception to the caffeine / dehydration – i.e. if you love coffee/tea & are a *regular* coffee/tea drinker (like me – ha!) studies show that caffeine in coffee/tea is *not* dehydrating & in moderation, has some health benefits.

    :-)

  13. Thank you so much for this post. I’ll be using it to make some long overdue changes in my life and health!

    Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home´s last blog post…Healthy Birthday Cake

  14. I’d say I’m on track with most of this. Except take a cold shower? Not sure I could do that! I have a hard enough time jumping in to our cold pool :) In the heat of summer! Great post!

    sandy´s last blog post…Peek and Learn! Building a Cold Frame!

  15. Hi Lisa,

    I love 13, 14 and 15. I do very well physically until something hits me on the emotional side. I become quite a wreck then. Learning to let go of draining relationships has been my biggest victory in my life perhaps! And I need to use my sense of smell more I guess – diapers and dogs have discouraged me so far ;)

    Maya´s last blog post…The One Hundred: A Guide to Pieces Every Happy and Balanced Soul Must Embrace: Simplicity

  16. Great tips. It was good for me to be reminded of things I already know I should be doing! I love your website and have incorporated many of your ideas and suggestions into my daily grind! Thanks!

  17. This is a great list! I have posted a link on my blog in hopes that people will come read this! Thanks!

    Becca´s last blog post…Oh Ipod, where have you been all my life?

  18. Awesome list!
    I find that scents can really influence my day. I have a diffuser at work and to reduce stress I put in Lavender oil, it’s a nice soft scent that doesn’t feel heavy. Exercising helps a lot! I would crash mid-day everyday, now that I’m training for the Avon Walk I’m noticing my energy levels changing. But fair warning, you have to be patient, I didn’t notice a difference until about 3 weeks of training.

  19. Fantastic list – I have to agree with every item. It’s so easy to forget any (and all!) of these items on a daily basis when you’re in the midst of your day, but a list like this keeps them all front and center in your mind. I think I’ll print it and pin it to my bulletin board!

    Moltomom´s last blog post…I Also Break His Toys For Kicks When He’s Not Looking

  20. This is very helpful! Thanks you for sharing!

    Tiffany-Z´s last blog post…max and his photoshoot.

  21. I am surprised, I don’t see Excedrin and Lattes on your list as a viable option. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. :)

    In all seriousness, thanks for the tips!

    Heather´s last blog post…Mmm, Spaghetti.

  22. I have a serious lack of energy in the afternoons. I am also pregnant with our 3rd, so a lot of that is completely understandable :) from the advice of a friend I purchased Vitamin B12 tablets from Target and take one a day. Anytime I forget to take this vitamin, I feel my body slowing down and desperately wanting a nap. As soon as I pop the pill, I’m good to go! My husband uses them as an energy boost as well — I’ll continue to use them post pregnancy.

    I also make sure that I get plenty of sleep and drink water throughout the day. A good energy booster lately for me has been to walk the dog in the very cold mornings (even if it’s just 5 minutes). That will definitely wake anyone up!

  23. I’m familiar with lots of those physical tips – but the draining relationships? Yes! That makes complete sense. So helpful.

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post…It’s a small favor that we ask

  24. I have begun exercising regularly, but it’s the coffee that’s killing me. LOVE.IT. TOO.MUCH! :)
    Thanks for the great reminders.

    Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam´s last blog post…Cooking with kids…it works for me

    • Hi Jen,
      Yes, coffee is a favorite for me. There is something so satisfying and rich about the drink, not much else can take its place. I just try to make sure that I am not relying on it for my energy needs…and also choose decaf most days, so I get the same feeling of indulgence without all that is associated with too much caffeine intake.

      Lisa Byrne´s last blog post…The Magic of Touch: A Gift For The One You Love

  25. So no more Red Bull’s for breakfast? It’s ok, I drink the sugar free kind!

  26. I really need to get more rest during the day (and more sleep at night). My biggest weakness is trying to do everything or do too much in the time that I’m awake. I also need to start going to be earlier.

    Carla´s last blog post…Eco Fashion: What is it?

  27. Great tips! I need to work on the get more sleep!

    Check out http://www.annakarli.com for some great tips on blogs. She is having a great blog war with her internet marketing guru of a husband – and winning!

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    Great tips! I need to work on the get more sleep!
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  30. Plenty of sleep and an aromatherapy massage really helps me when I get worn out

  31. avatar
    Lesley Squair says:

    Amazing. When God is trying to get your attention sometimes he does it in a very obvious way…and that was just minutes ago. After a 10 hour work day from home, financial bookkeeping for a client (with an upcoming deadline) and then 2hrs of work on an important immigration document for my baby-father…then thoughts about finishing up the dishes, getting tomorrow’s lunch ready….Well, I took the time to sit and have a laaatttteeee supper. Flipped to my FB page and immediately the SimpleMom link for this page popped up!

    I am generally a very healthy and health conscious person. However, I have a tendancy to “get thinking” that I really like the busy-ness of life. I did like working the long hours today and taking coffee/cigarette breaks and then back at it. BUT…I have had the flu every month since Christmas. So having these tips -shouted out- at me today was such a blessing. They are exactly what I need and have started re-encorporating in the past 3wks. But I need to become even more commited! I am looking forward to printing them and posting them on my fridge. Because ultimately more than a busy day(s)…which leave me eventually feeling fatigued and wired…is SERENITY, PEACE and GOODNESS. Thank-you!!

    • Lesley,
      Great point about almost getting “addicted” to our busyness..I think that can really happen to a lot of us…it’s so important to keep checking in and knowing when your life is full and when it is stuffed…major difference!

  32. Lisa, great list. I’m so glad to see such a thorough roster of healthy sources of energy!
    Caffeine actually interferes with the receptors in our brain that tells us that we’re tired and it consequently causes a rush of stress hormones since your body thinks that there’s an emergency since you’re not getting drowsy. It masks your body’s natural rhythms. As a former espresso machine owner who’s ditched caffeine entirely I can vouch that you can get more energy if you cut the caffeine out.

    Greens give you magnesium, which is a wonderful energy nutrient that 1/3 American adults lack. Part of over 300 metabolic processes!

    Exercise is my favorite. I do intense 15 min. when I get up and do it throughout my work day in spurts. You can get my exercise plan for fitting it in while you work at http://www.yourhealthyhomebiz.com

  33. Keep in mind that if you are good at doing these things and still have the dragging mornings and sleepless nights – check out your cortisol levels. Imbalanced adrenal glands can put the cortisol in your body at the wrong times and make your night feel like morning.

    • Absolutely! When we’ve tried to remedy our fatigue and it just won’t budge it’s important to look deeper and very often our endocrine system needs to be cared for in more foundational ways.

  34. Great post! I am working on all of these. My biggest flaw is not getting enough rest. With 3 boys, my most productive time of day is after they go to bed. ;0)

  35. Wow! Those are some great tips. I need to print this out…

    I’ve recently realized that I need to eat more often to keep my energy up. 5 small meals works SO much better for me than 3 big ones.

  36. I think the biggest issue with having such a busy schedule and taking care of 2 kids is balance. Getting a balanced diet is my biggest challenge. The importance to my kids getting that balance is what worries me the most. Our meal times are all over the place as well.

  37. So many of these I try to implement on a daily basis. I am working to eat a more healthy diet, full of real, fiber-rich foods. I am moving more, back to walking every morning. Also doing yoga to increase my flexibility.
    Connecting inwardly is another one I am working on as well, to quiet the noise that tends to go on in my mind at all times. It can be exhausting mentally. Meditation and deep breathing and slowing my mind helps with this.
    Great post Lisa!
    Bernice

  38. Absolutely, the raw foods are good for energy making your body work and raising your metabolism to burn raw foods is one of the best ways to boost energy. and I love the deep breathing suggestion. I use alternate nostril breathing at work and diaphragmatic breathing at work to help get energized at that 3pm slump time. These are all such good suggestions that I am sure can be integrated into everyone’s daily life. Great post!

  39. Love this list!

    One thing I want to mention is that a grain filled breakfast does the opposite for me. I need a high-protein, grain free breakfast to start my day. Grain makes me want to crawl back into bed.

    • So fantastic that you mention this! More than anything it is important to figure out what works for YOU- and experiment until your inner expert gives you the green light on a tip or technique. Love that you listened closely to your own body and found what nutritional needs work for you!

  40. Thanks for these tips. I will have to try the shower thing, though it’s the exact OPPOSITE of what I do now. I love to crank the heat for the last 10 seconds before I turn it off, but I can see how cooling at the end would be refreshing.

    I’ve also been thinking a lot about our breakfasts lately – actually trying to help get my 3-year old starting his day in a better way. I can’t function without some peanut butter or eggs to give me that protein boost at the start of the day, so it makes sense that he probably needs some of the same.

  41. Great list! I do most of these and a few others. A few others that help me… drinking very cold water, misting my face with water, getting outside for a few minutes and even brushing my teeth. I think it’s the minty taste that does it. :)

  42. Definitely needed to read this article. Such great practical ways of finding energy.

  43. Great tips!! Number 9 scared me for a minute, but I’m looking forward to trying it!

  44. Thanks for the post Lisa! I am currently in school, taking holistic nutrition and ironically I have been so busy with school and my kids, that I have been neglecting to practice what I am learning! Thanks for the kick in the pants! =)

  45. I definitely needed to read this today. With Spring here and Summer coming, I feel like I am dragging from Winter. This is a great post and I appreciate all the tips!

  46. Some fantastic advice here Lisa. Even doing a quarter of the things you suggest would dramatically improve one’s energy level. Many of these things I have not considered.

  47. Great list of recommendations for energy boosters. Some energy boosters for me are:
    – Green tea instead of coffee
    – Paradise Herbs Greens powder….I have really noticed a difference in all aspects of my health since I have started incorporating this into my diet. I blend it with Almond Milk, frozen blueberries, banana, and hemp seeds. Yum!
    – Vitamin C
    – H2o with lemon
    – NO SUGAR – or at least as little as possible:)

  48. If you want to look at it from an Asian standpoint green tea is much better than coffee in your system. To the Chinese coffee makes your adrenals “cold” and the color of your tongue a pale pink which means the adrenals are not working right. Now, green tea is an excellent energy booster, but if your really want to kick it up a bit then you can try adding once or twice a day just as little pinch of clove powder as clove brings a gentle heat to the adrenals and your tongue will get to be a nice deep red color which means you are getting blood flow thru the adrenals and kidneys and this will boost energy. (This is not medical advice in any form do the research to check the validity of these statements.) Just covering my 6! Seriously, look into this.

  49. Great post. We hadn’t thought of these! Thank you. I’m going to add them as gift ideas for homemakers in our guide! Great content! Looking forward to more!

    Brianna Olds
    CoolProducts.com Social Media Marketing Manager

  50. Lisa, I just found this from Simple Mom’s newsletter. Missed it the first time around.

    I do my one cup of coffee in the morning but I’m ok with that (smile)

    Loved your tips and love your natural, holistic focus.

  51. This whole site is amazing.. I have had slumps since my daughter was born 8 half years ago. My son was nearly 5. Now after being a sponsored athlete,, blamed that.. moved from south england to scotland to get away from bad things… its still here.. I recently was taken to hospital suffereing terrible headaches and chest pains.. later to be told, nothing wrong with me at all.. just totall burn out!!! doing extra hours at work for 8 weeks, finally got me..
    This site has helped me so much and I only found it 30 mins ago!!!
    Listening to my self.. stop being a people pleaser.. thats my priority !!!
    And prepare things ready for that 3pm slump!! thank you thank you thankyou !!!!xxx

  52. avatar
    Samantha Lewis says:

    Great post! I will bookmarked your site!

  53. Great tips! It is so difficult to keep energy up naturally, I can’t wait to incorporate some of these into my routine! Thanks.

  54. avatar
    Sandie Bushong says:

    Great tips and reminders! Most days I just go- go- and go, not giving any thought about me. I am going to force myself to accomplish these tips so that they will become a habit.

  55. This is an excellent list! Good nutrition, exercise and rest are obviously very important. But I think the things most of us forget about are the inward connection and reducing the stress factors as you mentioned. Those are real energy zappers.

  56. Well, I feel cheated. I found this searching for “how do I get energy” because I *have* no energy, and the answer is to be active? Duh – Active is what I want to be – how do I get the energy to do it? Seriously, folks – if you already have enough energy to be active, you really don’t need tips on how to get energy. Yer doin it right.

    Obviously this article isn’t meant for people who don’t already have energy so I guess I’m just trolling… but only because I feel as though I’ve been trolled. Stay well.

  57. These are some wonderful tips to overcome grogginess and feel refreshed. You could also try all-natural supplements to boost energy levels, focus, and immunity. I know of two great products. To learn more please visit http://silvelf.blogspot.com/2013/07/best-supplements-for-energy-and-focus.html

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