In the search for energy-boosters, all kinds of supplements crop up, often added to so-called ‘energy drinks’ so you can wolf them down on the go. But there’s little to no scientific evidence that energy boosters like ginseng and guarana actually work. Instead, Harvard Medical School tells us that there are a bunch of things we can do to raise our energy levels naturally. Here are five of the most effective:
Exercise has two advantages: firstly, when we exercise, our bodies release healthy amounts of the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which make us feel energised. Even a short, brisk walk at lunchtime can sharpen you up for the rest of the day. Secondly, exercising during the day almost guarantees you’ll sleep more soundly at night. It’s a win-win.
Lighten your load
All of us are susceptible to feeling fatigued when we’re overworked – which can be caused by professional, family or social obligations. Write a list of the tasks you’ve got on and decide which ones are must-dos, and which ones aren’t important. If your overwork is mostly professional, consider asking for extra help.
Be smart with caffeine
Hooray! Caffeine does help increase alertness, so having a cuppa joe in the morning can sharpen your mind. But be careful – in order for caffeine to work well, it has be consumed at the right times. Drinking coffee after 2pm can affect the quality of your sleep, so use it as a morning pick-up only.
Eat for energy
Avoid overeating. Smaller, more frequent snacks and meals are better than overfeeding yourself just a few times a day. Eating low-GI foods – food whose sugars are absorbed slowly – can help provide even energy across the day. Fitfood meals are packed with low-GI foods: whole grains, high-fibre vegetables, nuts and healthy oils. They’re also portion-controlled, so you eat the right amount to avoid unhealthy weight gain or big energy spikes and troughs.
Have fun with friends
There are some great reasons to line up board game nights with your buddies or arrange a regular morning meet-up. Laughter is a proven stress-reliever and it’s been shown to boost energy, and talking to people can make you feel more awake and less stressed. Studies have also shown that people who are less social generally aren’t as happy and don’t sleep as well as people who are interacting with others regularly.