Alternative Ways to Get an Energy Boost Other Than Your Morning Coffee

By Jake Schroeder
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It’s no surprise that Americans love coffee. The drink is one of those morning staples that many of us just can’t live without. When you need a little something other than coffee, however, there are different ways to get an energy boost without heavily caffeinating.

If you’re looking to kickstart your day without the caffeine, we’ve rounded up some healthy alternatives to your morning cup of Joe, from going for a walk to reading a magazine.

Go for a Walk

Walking is a great way to start your morning off. Not only are you getting outside, but you’re also getting in some much-needed exercise. The morning air will wake you up and help you get your steps in. Even if it’s cooler out, walking can provide an invigorating wake-up call.

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If you're able to, walk to work whenever you can. Research from Harvard Medical School shows that walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 31%, and it cuts the risk of dying by 32%. You can realize these benefits by walking just five and a half miles per week.


Meditation is an excellent way to ease into your morning. Just 10 minutes of meditating can add peaceful zen to your routine. One of the best things about meditating is that you can do it for free from anywhere. You can watch some videos on how to meditate online or download some free meditation podcasts.

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Meditating when you wake up gives you a few peaceful moments before the start of your day to center yourself. You can use this time to think about what you have going on, set some intentions or reflect on things you’re thankful for.

Do a Home Yoga Session

If you need a quick pick-me-up that doesn’t involve caffeine, yoga might be for you. Not only can you do yoga in your home, but almost anyone can do many of the basic poses. Regardless of your physical abilities, you can find a quick morning yoga routine pretty easily online.

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Once you’ve found a few positions that are right for you, get out your yoga mat and hit the floor. A short morning yoga routine may be all you need to get a quick energy boost. After a few minutes, you’ll feel energized, refreshed and ready to tackle the day.


Go for a Run

Sometimes, a walk doesn’t cut it in the morning. Before you reach for a double shot of espresso, get out your running shoes. A short morning jog can wake you up better than any cup of coffee. Running is not only a great way to give your mind a mood boost, but it provides other physical and mental health benefits too.

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Cardiovascular exercise is great for your ticker and your mental health. Even a small amount of cardio from a short run can trigger your body to release mood-boosting endorphins. This is a natural way of getting a pick-me-up.

Walk Your Dog

When it comes to your morning routine, don’t forget your four-legged friend. Fido needs his morning exercise, too. Do yourselves a favor and go for a walk before you hit the coffee pot.

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Not only will the morning air wake you up, but it also provides you with some much-needed time with your best friend. Take a ball or other toy with you if your pal is into that. A little fetch is a fun twist to any walk. Your dog gets some sniffs in, and you get some steps in. That’s a win-win for both of you.

Water Your Plants or Garden

Whether you have a lush garden or a little houseplant collection, use the morning to get back to nature. In the morning, get to the yard and tend to your garden. Pick weeds, water the plants or deadhead your flowers. The time in the sun will feel amazing.

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If it’s the middle of winter or you don’t have outdoor plants, apply the same principles indoors. You can tend to your houseplants by giving them some water or tending to your herb garden. The smell of fresh herbs may be just as refreshing as a pot of coffee.


Read the News

There are some days when it’s impossible to get out of bed. Instead of hitting the snooze button, catch up on what’s going on in the world. You can stay in bed for an extra few minutes and read the headlines on your phone without even getting dressed.

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If a paper is your thing, get a newspaper out and read the headlines for the day. You may come to love the smell of fresh ink just as much as that of coffee beans. If you’re really too tired to read or think, there’s always the morning news on TV to wake you up.

Take a Cold Shower

Taking a shower may seem like the obvious thing to do in the morning, but taking a cold shower is a whole new twist. Even if it’s just for the first couple of minutes, you’ll immediately feel that refreshing, cool wake-up hit your face.

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We’re not talking about an ice bath or 15 minutes in a cold shower. All you really need is the first couple of minutes when you initially get in the shower to feel the effects. Just leave the water on cold for a minute or two and then shower with hot water like you usually do.

Do a Puzzle

Sometimes you just need something to look forward to in the morning. If that used to be your hot cup of coffee, stave off withdrawal symptoms with a brain game. Take a look at a simple puzzle that you can do over a few days.

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Start by setting up your puzzle on a table out of the way. Each morning, spend 10 or 15 minutes knocking out a few pieces. You might even find yourself so hooked that you’ll need to set the alarm so you aren’t late for work. You can do a few pieces before bed, too.


Call Your Mom

Mom misses you. When you first wake up, you usually aren’t thrown into a conference call. Early morning is the perfect time to call your mom. This may become a tradition she looks forward to on most days.

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If Mom isn’t available, you can apply this to another family member or friend. Give someone you love a shout before the day gets too busy and you forget. A call from you will be a pleasant surprise. You can even make a list of five people to call each week. It’ll feel really good to catch up before the day begins.

Make Breakfast

Too often, the most important meal of the day starts and ends at coffee. Coffee isn’t breakfast. Take a few minutes to make yourself a real breakfast. You should even go as far as sitting down to eat it. Make some for the whole family while you're at it.

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If you’re worried about time or calories, making breakfast doesn’t have to involve a French toast casserole and bacon. A bowl of cereal, yogurt, fruit or granola are all quick breakfasts to prepare that provide you with a healthy boost of energy to jump-start your day.

Read a Book

There’s something about cozying up with a book in the morning that can make your day seem like you’re on vacation. Even if it’s just a quick 10-minute session, reading will have you feeling accomplished. A good page-turner may also stop you from hitting snooze.

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Having a good book to wake up to can motivate you to get started with your day. Instead of downing coffee, you can dive into a good book that you just can’t put down. You’ll be able to get a ton of books read just doing a few minutes a day.


Make a To-Do List

While making a to-do list may sound like a mundane way to start your morning, you’ll be surprised at how much more organized you feel. Starting your day off with a to-do list will help get you organized and prepared for the day ahead. You can come into work all ready to rock.

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Getting your to-do list done will help you mentally prepare for those early morning meetings or better help you tackle all of the other things you have floating through your mind. From soccer practice for your daughter to your husband’s dentist appointment, write it down first thing.

Plan a Date Night

Start your day by planning something fun. We all need excitement now and then to get us out of bed. It can often be hard to make time for your spouse or significant other. Use the time you’d be drowning in coffee to plan a fun date night.

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Start the morning by jotting down a fun experience for you both and what you need to actually do it. Maybe you need to buy tickets to something online, or you need to make a dinner reservation. You can do that and text a babysitter all within a quick 10-minute morning session.

Make a Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious way to start your morning. With many flavor combinations and fruit options, you can have a different smoothie recipe each day. All of those fruits, vitamins and antioxidants will get you feeling revitalized.

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For a great smoothie, try a combination of coconut or almond milk with a splash of water and orange juice mixed with your favorite fruits. Throw in a little peanut butter for protein or avocado for some healthy fats. Flaxseeds, honey and oats are also tasty mix-ins. You can make the smoothie the night before if you're pressed for time.



Journaling is a peaceful way to ease into your morning. You can keep a journal by your bedside so it’s the first thing you do each day. Use it for writing down your intentions or recalling a memory. Anything you want to reflect on can go into your journal.

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If journaling isn’t for you, you can use this time to write in a planner. Jot down things you need to remember, to-do lists or important dates on your calendar. Your planner or journal can be like a mini-meeting you hold with yourself first thing each day.

Drink Orange Juice

Orange juice is a great coffee alternative. A fresh cup of orange juice gives you a boost, and it’s packed with nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and potassium. Orange juice is also full of antioxidants and has been shown to decrease inflammation.

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A glass of orange juice every morning may be just what you need to combat germs. If you live in an area where cold and flu season runs rampant, pour glasses for your whole family every morning to try and keep those winter illnesses at bay.

Drink a Glass of Cold Water

Drink more water. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we’re supposed to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Instead of reaching for the coffee pot, get out some ice cubes and drink down a glass of water first thing in the morning instead.

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The human body is made up of 60% water. And it actually loses about 60% of its water overnight. This is why you may feel extra-thirsty when you first wake up. It’s also why it’s really crucial to help your body function properly by staying hydrated.


Do Jumping Jacks

Remember those old-fashioned jumping jacks from gym class? Turns out they’re a great form of exercise. Because jumping jacks work your entire body, they’re great first thing in the morning. The combination of jumping and lifting your arms up helps every part of you feel invigorated.

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When you first wake up, get out of bed and move to a clear space. Turn on your favorite song and knock out a few reps of jumping jacks. Between the music and the jumping action, you’ll feel a quick burst of energy to get yourself going strong.


First thing in the morning, your body is usually stiff from sleep. Instead of ignoring your aches and pains and grabbing a cup of coffee, start your day with some stretches. Stretching can help ease your joint pain, relax your muscles and get the blood moving in your body.

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Just a quick 10-minute stretching session can help you get more relaxed and ready. Not only will you feel great mentally but your body will thank you as well. A short stretching session does a lot more for your muscles and lungs than a cup of coffee.

Make a Cup of Tea

Sometimes, having a cup of hot liquid is all we need to feel the effects of coffee in the morning. If you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, an herbal tea makes for a great substitute. You’ll still get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you sip a hot beverage first thing.

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Herbal tea has a ton of healthy antioxidants. With several flavors to choose from, you can mix it up each morning. Some herbal tea favorites include chamomile, peppermint and lemon and ginger blends. Each of these flavors has a different health benefit to consider, too.


Drink Kombucha

Kombucha is made using tea as a fermentation medium. You get the benefits of caffeine combined with L-theanine but without the coffee jitters. If you’re worried about the amount of caffeine, kombucha actually contains less caffeine than a cup of tea. This is an excellent option for people looking to cut back on their caffeine intake.

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Kombucha is full of probiotic bacteria, which are great for digestive health. You’ll also enjoy the pop of fizziness that wakes you up in the morning. Kombucha is a fun drink with which to start your day — without completely giving up caffeine cold turkey.

Make a Cup of Golden Milk

While many people think of golden milk as something to drink at night, it can also be a good coffee alternative. Golden milk is a traditional Indian drink made with ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and turmeric. Try it warm with a touch of honey and vanilla.

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Turmeric is hailed for its anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatory foods help with pain, inflammation and heart health. Turmeric has also been shown to improve mental health, boost your mood and improve your memory. Just add a little dash in your golden milk, and you’ll have a healthy coffee alternative in the morning.

Go for a Bike Ride

While there’s no question that running is a great cardiovascular exercise, it isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a lower-impact way to start your day, bike riding may be for you. Instead of heading to your local coffee drive-thru, go for a bike ride.

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It’s even better if you can bike to work. Biking to work can save you money, and it’s also a great way to fit in some physical activity. You don’t have to bike like you’re in a race. A slow ride on a cool morning is easy in your work clothes.


Try an Adult Coloring Book

Who says coloring is for kids? Adult coloring books have picked up in popularity. You can likely find an adult coloring book in any theme you want. Coloring is a relaxing way to start your day. All you need are a few colored pencils and the coloring book of your choice.

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Do something mindless and easy as a way to mentally prepare for a stressful day. Coloring is a nice way to get your creative juices flowing. From choosing the colors to seeing what your creation ends up looking like, you’ll feel like a real Picasso before the sun even comes up.

Make Your Lunch

Instead of spending precious time in line at the coffee shop, use a few minutes of your morning to make your own lunch. You’ll save money and save yourself some unnecessary calories. Chances are, if you’re packing your own lunch, you’re probably putting together a healthier meal than fast food.

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If you make your own lunch first thing in the morning, this will really set the tone for the rest of the day. You’ll start out your day feeling accomplished and like you’ve really nailed this whole adulting thing. Way to go, grown-up!

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

You’ve probably heard about the recent apple cider vinegar craze. Apple cider vinegar can be an excellent replacement for your morning cup of coffee. It’s made from fermented apples, and while it’s not caffeinated, it contains a healthful compound called acetic acid.

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This combination has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and give you a nice boost of energy. It’s best to dilute it with a big swig of water. Apple cider vinegar can be pretty acidic, and that can be rough on your teeth. Remember, they don’t say an apple a day keeps the doctor away for nothing.


Read a Magazine

When was the last time you actually picked up a magazine? If it’s been a while, grab a few next time you’re at the grocery store. A magazine can be a fun way to start out your day. If you’re on a health kick, choose a magazine that’s fitness- or health-centered. You can find some new recipes or learn new workout moves.

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If you just want some pure guilty pleasures, pick a magazine that’s all about celebrities, fashion or sports. If nothing else, these page-turners will give you some fun fodder for the water cooler later at work.

Consider Self Care

While "self care" can be a pretty broad term, you can think of it as any little routine or regimen that helps you take care of yourself. Instead of chugging a cup of coffee, do a little something for yourself in the morning.

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Quick self-care routines might include putting on a face mask, wearing a hair conditioning treatment or even just spending a little more time on grooming. Painting your nails or adding essential oils to your shower can count, too. Take an extra 10 minutes in the morning to feel like a new you.

Climb Some Stairs

If you need a quick boost, opt for taking the stairs in the morning. Whether it’s walking the stairs in your home or climbing the stairs in your apartment building, it’s a great cardiovascular workout that doesn’t require any money or equipment.

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If you don’t have access to stairs at home, spend a couple of minutes taking the stairs at the train station or your office. Bring some extra clothes if you work in a skyscraper, though. Better yet, climb the stairs somewhere new and adventurous. No, taking the stairs to a new coffee shop doesn’t count.