Daylight Savings Time is officially over as of early Sunday morning, and we’re going to be commuting home in darkness for the foreseeable future. Fun. Coupled with these grim realities is our desire to stay bundled up inside with warm sweaters, mugs of tea and some of our favourite fall TV. We don’t know if you can feel it too, but our energy is currently at less-than-ideal levels, especially for such a busy time of year.
So what to do? Sure, coffee is an instant pick-me-up, but drinking too much of it doesn’t measure up there on the “being healthy” scale. Thankfully, there are many ways to naturally increase your energy, and we’ve rounded up a bunch of them.
Eat an apple
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The verdict is still out on that one, but we do know that apples contain plenty of natural sugars and carbohydrates to give your blood sugar that slow-and-steady burn it needs to feel more alert and awake. So the next time you find yourself reaching for a sugary snack, have an apple with some nut butter or greek yogurt instead.
Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. OK, so you don’t need to be Elle Woods to know that hitting the gym for 20 to 30 minutes a day increases your circulation (and those aforementioned endorphins). But the result is a fresher, more alert you. Even if it’s just a brisk 20-minute walk, your body will thank you.
This time of year, we’re our own worst enemies because even going outside can seem like a chore. But a little fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for our energy levels. Aim for at least 10 minutes a day, and be sure to wear the proper protective clothing.
Drink really, really, really cold water
If warm drinks settle you down, cold drinks punch you up. The cold triggers your adrenaline and sends the blood flowing to the brain. Plus it’s good for your metabolism, as drinking ice water burns more calories than drinking H2O at room temperature.
Get a playlist
There’s a reason professional athletes have their very own pump-up songs. Listening to high-energy music and your favourite jams can really get you going — especially before a big meeting or on your way to what you already know will be a stress-filled day at the office.
Chew on some gum
Popping a stick of mint-flavoured gum in your mouth when you’re feeling sluggish has been proven to help wake up the body. Not only does the act of chewing stimulate the autonomic nervous system and get your heart pumping faster (therefore increasing blood flow to the brain), but the mint flavour stimulates your nerves like cold water on the face.
Give your ears a massage
Totally weird, but it could be totally worth it. Apparently ears are like a gateway to your body’s energy pathways. When you gently massage them for 10 to 30 seconds, they’re free and clear to allow that energy to flow freely and reinvigorate your body.
Smell the roses
Actually, don’t smell the roses, but smell the citrus, peppermint or jasmine. These scents have been proven as an effective way to perk up your senses. Simply dab some essential oil on your pressure points, or dip some in a cotton ball and take a good old whiff.
Phone a friend
Call your mom, your bestie or anyone else who tends to pick up your mood. Spending even five minutes chatting with someone you’re close to is a great way to reconnect with the busy world around you, while giving you a healthy dose of soul food. (Yes, people still use the phone to talk.)
Learn something new
Part of that 3 p.m. crash comes from the repetition of our daily work grind. Typically when that wall hits, we check emails, Facebook, or do other menial tasks that don’t require much thinking. Rather than fall into that routine trap, try and teach yourself something new instead. That way you’ll fire up the brain, and feel fresher than a mint-flavoured Lifesaver in a matter of minutes.
Much like drinking warm water tires us out, so does wearing too many layers of clothing. Adjust the thermostat so that it’s a couple of degrees cooler, or take off some layers. We promise you’ll feel more alert and ready to face whatever comes your way, rather than wanting to crawl under the covers and take a good long nap.