1. Take a deep breath
Giving your energy level a quick boost can be as easy as taking a deep breath. Woodson Merrell, MD, author of Power Up, suggests the following: Inhale quietly and slowly, allowing your abdomen to rise, to the count of 4, pause holding the air lightly to the count of 4, exhale slowly, allowing your abdomen to contract, to the count of 6. Repeat four times. The simple act of slow, deep breathing can be incredibly energizing—and relaxing.
2. Get a little exercise
When you’re already feeling tired, working out is probably the last thing on your mind. But exercise may be just what you need to recharge, according to Beth Mansfield, a clinical exercise physiologist and registered dietitian in Ottawa. Any amount of physical activity—even a 10-minute walk—will increase blood flow to all parts of your body, making you feel more energetic.
3. Drink more water
When your energy level drops, you may be tempted to run to the nearest coffee shop and refuel. But you might just need a glass of water. Lack of fluids can make you feel fatigued, so make sure you’re drinking about 1 mL of fluid for every calorie you eat, says Mansfield. That means if you consume a 2,000 calorie diet, you need about eight cups of fluids per day to stay hydrated and energized. Tired of plain old water? You can also hydrate with milk, tea and wet foods, such as yogurt and soups.
4. Talk to your doctor
Do you generally get enough sleep, but still end up feeling sluggish most days? It may be time to see your doctor. Certain medical conditions, such as iron-deficiency anemia and hypothyroidism can make you feel more fatigued. A simple blood test can determine if you have a medical condition that’s affecting your energy levels—you may need an iron supplement or thyroid medication.
5. Take a time out
If you feel like your morning has been dragging along, try a quick, quiet exercise to center yourself. Meditating can re-energize you by relaxing your mind and body, says Toronto mind-body therapist Louise Gabrielle. In the middle of the day, spend five minutes doing a conscious relaxation exercise: lie on the ground with your calves and feet up on the seat of a chair, your arms at your sides and your head on a pillow. Focus your mind’s attention on each body part, inviting your whole body to relax. “When your legs are raised up, it’s very good for regenerating the body,” Gabrielle advises.
6. Stop and smell the peppermint
For a quick pick-me-up, put two drops of peppermint oil on a tissue or handkerchief, hold it to your nose, and breathe deeply. If you have more time, try adding two drops of the oil to bathwater along with four drops of rosemary oil for an invigorating soak.
7. Have a spinach salad for lunch
Eating spinach once a day is an old-time remedy for relieving fatigue (we all know what it did for Popeye). You can’t go wrong with an energizing lunch of spinach salad, topped with other nutritious fresh vegetables. Spinach contains potassium as well as many B vitamins, all of which are important to energy metabolism.
8. Try a ginseng supplement
Ginseng is an age-old cure for that run-down feeling. Look for a supplement containing at least four percent ginsenosides, and take two 100-milligram capsules daily. This herbal remedy will help stimulate your nervous system and protect your body from the effects of stress. (However, it’s off-limits if you have high blood pressure.)
9. Eat more throughout the day
Feeling tired may just be your body’s way of telling you that it needs more fuel—in the form of food. Eat a healthy breakfast, along with several small meals (around 300 calories) and healthy snacks throughout the day. That’s better than eating two or three large meals and will keep your blood sugar levels steady, preventing your energy from plunging.
10. Enjoy a homemade energy bar
Forget about that can of sugary Red Bull—if you’re feeling sluggish, opt for a healthy, homemade energy bar instead.