A cup of coffee a day can be good for you, boosting energy and even helping to stimulate your metabolism.
One cup usually isn’t enough for a whole day though, and too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery and unable to focus.
It can be hard keeping up with your work when you’re feeling tired, and sugary foods and energy drinks just leave you feeling groggier when they wear off.
The best solution is to try some of the many natural, healthy ways to fight midday exhaustion.
Get your Blood Pumping
You’re most likely spending a large part of your day sitting and working at your desk without much variation. This relaxed, steady state can lull your body and mind into relaxation and make it even harder to stay awake.
Whenever you’re feeling especially tired, start by taking a few minutes to get up out of your chair and get your blood pumping by doing some simple, easy workouts. Exercises like jumping jacks, push-ups, or even some light, full-body stretches will help you wake up.
Just getting up and moving a little bit will help to keep you alert throughout the day.
Smell is one of our most powerful senses, and we can use it for everything from recalling powerful memories to staying awake during a long, tiring day.
Bright, strong scents like eucalyptus and peppermint can be a great pick-me-up in place of that second cup of coffee. Try getting a few essential oils to keep around, but use them only when you’re feeling tired or else you risk getting used to the scent.
The smell of fresh herbs like rosemary can also be useful in staying alert.
Drink Green Tea
If you’ve tried other methods already and still find that you need caffeine to make it through the day, green tea is a great alternative to coffee.
Green tea contains a smaller dose of caffeine when compared to coffee, but it might be the perfect amount to help give you that energy boost without the extra sugar or the jittering that can come along with coffee.
Green tea also has no calories, is a great source of antioxidants and alkaloids, and contains vitamins like A, D, B and B5. It’s also quick and easy to brew.
Smoothies packed with healthy, high energy ingredients like almond milk and protein powder can give your body the energy it needs to keep going. They also have the benefit of being cold and refreshing, so you’ll feel more alert from the first sip.
You can make your smoothies using whatever fruits you like, or you can even make them using vegetables like spinach or avocados for a super healthy variation.
Snacking is a good way to stay awake, but candy and heavy, starchy foods like potato chips will just make you more tired. Foods high in protein are the fuel your body needs to provide consistent, lasting power throughout a long day.
Try snacking on a mix of lightly salted nuts with raisins or dried apricots to give you a boost while staying healthy.
Listen to Something Engaging
It can be easy to zone out when you’re very focused on one single task. By providing a little background noise, you’ll be giving yourself some much needed variation and helping to keep your brain active.
Listening to podcasts or audiobooks can be a great way to stay awake. The conversational nature of these things requires more concentration, making for a more engaging and energizing experience.
If your work requires more focus from you, though, listening to music is another good option. Listen to any of your favorite songs that get you energized, but instead of cranking the volume up, listen to them quietly so your brain stays active and works to pay attention.
Turn up the Lights and Open the Windows
Dark, dreary offices will immediately put you in the mood to go to sleep instead of doing any work. Open the blinds or turn on all the lights to help stay alert and convince your brain that it’s the middle of the day and not time for sleep yet.
Fresh air can be another great way to perk up your senses, so open a window if you can.
Consider a Short Nap
If you’ve tried everything else and you just can’t shake that feeling of lethargy, consider taking a short nap during your lunch break.
The key to productive napping is to set an alarm and sleep for only 15 to 20 minutes. This time frame gives you the perfect amount of rest so you’ll wake up feeling more alert and revitalized.
If you sleep longer, you’ll not only take more time out of the day, but you’ll have a higher chance of waking up during your deep sleep cycle and end up even groggier.