If you find yourself feeling sluggish mid-afternoon, struggling to stay alert throughout the day, struggling with adrenal fatigue, or just plain exhausted, then it’s time for a change! Luckily, there are easy, affordable ways to banish tiredness and get a spring in your step once again — naturally. Skip the extra cups of coffee or “energy” drinks and try these 10 easy and inexpensive ways to boost your energy levels instead.
1. Vegetable Juice
Drinking fresh vegetable juice is a shock to your body — in a good way! Losing the fiber during juicing makes them easy for your body to absorb and digest. And because less work is required for your body to reap the nutritional benefits, you’ll notice an increase in energy. Additionally, drinking your veggies helps eliminate toxins from the body while also feeding your cells.
If you feel an illness coming on, vegetable juice is also a good way to stop it in its tracks and keep energy up before it dips. Pass over store-bought juices, which are often loaded with sugar, preservatives, and other unpronounceable ingredients — they’ll leave you feeling worse and more exhausted! Make your own instead, or if you need ideas, try some of my favorite vegetable juice recipes.
2. Better Quality Sleep
Spending your nights tossing and turning can definitely make you feel exhausted the next day. While you sleep, your body is restoring and repairing the day’s damage. Additionally, adenosine, a by-product of cell activity that’s produced by the body, is believed to be a favor in humans’ perception of being tired. Adenosine builds up during the day but, during sleep, our bodies clear it from our systems, helping us feel alert.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try some of my favorite tips:
Keep a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, including weekends. This will help regulate your internal body clock.
Eliminate caffeine after 3 p.m. — the effects can last up to 12 hours.
Write out what’s stressing you out or keeping you up at night before heading to bed.
3. Adaptogenic Herbs
When you’re feeling exhausted, fatigued or stressed, adaptogenic herbs can help. These healing plants balance and restore the body’s natural ability to handle stress by regulating the adrenal system, which is responsible for controlling the way hormones respond to stress. Adaptogens don’t target a specific body part; instead, they help your entire body gently cope with stress, anxiety, and, of course, fatigue.
Some of the best adaptogen herbs to boost your energy include: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, licorice root and ginseng.
Incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your daily routine will help you feel calmer, less exhausted, and more focused.
4. Reduce Carb Consumption
While they do provide your body with energy, foods heavy in carbohydrates can leave you feeling sluggish. The main culprit? Simple carbs, like those found in sugary drinks, cookies, and processed foods (think white bread and pasta), which burn through your body quickly. Though they provide a fast boost of energy, it’s quickly followed by a crash as your blood sugar spikes and then drops.
The solution? Stick to whole-grain, low-glycemic carbohydrates that take the body longer to digest and avoid the crash and burn effect. Nuts, legumes, sweet potatoes, oats, and brown rice are all low-glycemic carbohydrates that will provide the body with a steady supply of energy.
5. Eat Chia Seeds or Flax Seed
If your only experience with Chia seeds is the Chia pet, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. These magic little seeds will boost energy levels and provide your body with a lot of nutritional bang for the buck.
The ancient Mayans and Aztecs used to ingest Chia seeds to keep up energy and alertness among warriors during war. For us mere mortals, the essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) found in Chia seeds help regulate glands, fight adrenal fatigue, and combat inflammation, which keeps your body feeling fresh. Combined with high levels of protein and fiber, which keep blood sugar stable (no afternoon sugar crashes!), and it’s no wonder chia seeds are being heralded as a superfood.
6. Stay Hydrated with Water and Electrolytes
Did you know that one of the first signs of dehydration is feeling tired or exhausted? That’s right – not drinking enough water could be the reason your energy levels are lacking and you feel exhausted. Because our bodies are made up of mostly water, even small dips in H2O levels are enough to affect your metabolism.
Stay hydrated by making sure you’re drinking enough water and other fluids throughout the day. The Institute of Medicine suggests about 9 cups of fluids a day for women and 13 cups for men.
However a more accurate amount is take your body weight and divide it in half, then drink that many ounces per day, plus more if you workout, are really active, are pregnant, nursing, or are fighting an illness or disease.
If that sounds like a lot, remember that many foods, like fruits and vegetables, contain water as well.
If you have an intense workout, you might want to supplement water with a drink that helps replace the electrolytes your body is sweating out. Forget sports drinks loaded with high fructose corn syrup and additives. Opt for coconut water or water naturally flavored with lemon and honey instead.
7. B Vitamins
Also known as the “energy vitamin,” B12 is the most complex of all vitamins. It supports thyroid function and keeps blood cells happy and healthy. If you’re vitamin B12 deficient, one of the first signs can be lower energy levels.
Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, your body cannot store extra amounts of B12 and relies on getting the vitamin from the foods you eat or supplements. Try one of these top 10 vitamin B12 foods to restore your B12 levels when they’re depleted.
8. Herbal Teas
Coffee isn’t the only option when you need a pick-me-up. Sipping on an herbal tea can provide an all-natural temporary boost in energy levels without the risk of scary stimulants or processed ingredients.
Two wonderful options are green tea and rooibos tea. Green tea has many benefits to your body such as anti-aging and fighting free radicals. It is loaded with catechin, an antioxidant that helps fight damage in the body’s cell. If you’re looking for a wonderful green tea, I love matcha.
Rooibos tea is another type of tea that’ll fight fatigue. Made from South Africa’s red bush plant, this refreshing red tea is packed with antioxidants including aspalathin, an antioxidant that regulates the adrenal hormones, helping to reduce stress and keep energy levels high.
9. Peppermint Essential Oil
If you need an easy way to stimulate your mind and increase focus, peppermint oil might be what you’re looking for. Commonly used in aromatherapy, this refreshing essential oil increases oxygen to the brain, which heightens focus and stimulates the mind.
Try dabbing a few drops on your wrists when you find your energy lagging, add some to your shower to get an early morning energy boost, or add several drops to a steam diffuser to breathe in the benefits throughout the day.
10. Daily Exercise
Are you wiped out after a tough workout? Take solace in the fact that incorporating regular exercise into your routine will actually boost energy levels. Torching calories and engaging in physical activity sends oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells, helping your heart and lungs work more efficiently and boosting energy levels.
And remember, you don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits — moderate levels of your favorite fitness activity will reap energy benefits, too.