Quick Energy Boosts to Get You Through the Workday
After eating lunch, it’s now around 2:00 p.m., and all you want to do is nap under your desk. There are still hours left in the workday, yet you feel completely drained of energy and in need of a major pick-me-up. This mid-afternoon burnout is something everyone experiences.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to stop it, though. When you need a quick energy boost, try some of these life hacks to get back up and running for the rest of your day.
Go for a Walk
One of the best ways to get a quick burst of energy is by going for a walk, especially outside. This low impact activity doesn’t cost anything, and you won’t have to change out of your work clothes.
Drink Something Cold
When your energy reserves are running low, it might be time to drink an ice-cold beverage. Drinking something cold can give your body a chilling burst of energy. You’ll wake up a little more with every sip. Temperature is the key to success here.
Enjoy Something Funny
As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. When you start to dream about that nap under your desk, laughing can be a great way to wake yourself up and give yourself a boost of energy.
Call a Friend
When you start dozing off in the middle of the afternoon, sometimes all you need is a little pick-me-up from a friend. Before you reach for an energy drink, reach for the phone instead. Give someone you haven’t talked to in a while a quick phone call.
When your energy levels are getting low, consider trying rosemary. This herbal remedy is not only commonly used in cooking, but also for its energy-boosting properties. Rosemary can help boost alertness and mental activity.
When you’re really struggling with energy in the afternoon, a quick set of push-ups may be all you need. Start in the plank position and do a few sets. If it feels too daunting, you can change your positioning to better accommodate your strength. Even just a few minutes can increase the flow of oxygen to your heart and endorphins to your brain.
Go for a Run
Nothing feels quite as good as a quick jog outside. When you go for a run or engage in other cardiovascular exercise, your body releases endorphins and cortisol. Both of these hormones help make you feel more alert, giving you the energy needed to get through the day.
Read a Book
When you’re starting to lose focus at work, a project that should last 30 minutes may take you the entire afternoon. Instead of just forcing yourself to keep going, take a break with a book. You don’t need hours away to get a nice boost of energy.
If you’re feeling sluggish, some easy, low-impact physical activity can be really helpful. Schedule a little time on your calendar every day to head to a quiet place in the office or outside. Take a few minutes to stretch and focus on your breathing. Stretches can include reaching your arms over your head, touching your toes or even some light yoga.
Lift Weights at Your Desk
If you don’t have time to go to the gym, a small set of weights at your desk can have the same benefits. When you feel yourself getting tired, grab the weights and do a quick set of exercises.
Eat a Healthy Snack
When you start to feel sluggish, sometimes all your body needs is a snack. The next time you’re feeling low, consider grabbing some fruit, nuts or veggies. These foods can all help give you energy without the crash later. Stay away from carbs like bread that can drag you down later in the day.
Reach for a Smoothie
Sometimes all you need to stay awake something refreshing and full of healthy vitamins and minerals. A smoothie full of energizing fruit is a great option for this. You can add protein, extra boosts of vitamin C or shots of wheatgrass to see through the afternoon. Enjoy it chilled for an extra kick.
Talk to a Coworker
When you need a little break during the day, take a few minutes to chat with a coworker. You can chat about your weekend or music or books you’re reading. Just make sure you stay away from work talk if that’s what was lulling you to sleep in the first place.
Go to a Park
If you’re struggling to concentrate or focus, try to get outside to a park. If you don’t have a park within walking distance, go for a short drive or walk anywhere with some green space. A nice stroll through nature can help your mood and energy levels.
Go Upside Down
If you have a space where you can be alone, lying upside down may be just the jolt you need to get your energy levels up. If you don’t have an office, consider visiting an empty conference room or even your car.
Walk a Few Hallway Laps
When green spaces aren’t available, a good old fashioned lap around the office might still help with afternoon fatigue. An office stroll can also be useful when you don’t have time to leave the building or the weather is bad.
Hit the Gym
When you have more time on your hands, you can get a huge boost of energy by hitting the gym. Even just a 20 minute trip can do far more than some quick pushups in your cubicle. Your body will also release those mood-pumping endorphins, and you’ll feel amazing.
Plan Your Weekend
When it’s 3:00 on a Tuesday, the weekend can seem like a lifetime away. If you need a little pick me up, start planning your weekend early. This will give you a nice mental break from work and something to look forward to as the week goes on.
Listen to Music
Good music makes you want to sing along or get up and dance. If you can, do both of those things — you'll get a great burst of energy. If you’re worried about your boss sitting across from you, go with headphones instead.
Give Yourself Some Acupressure
You can actually perform acupressure on yourself. There are five trigger points on the human body that you can access to jumpstart brain activity, even without needles. Just use your hands.
When you’re feeling stressed, overtired and unfocused, you might just need some zen time. Go to a quiet place in your office or outside where you can block out everything and reflect. You can listen to a meditation podcast, music, or just your own thoughts.
If you’re feeling bogged down and uninspired by a certain project, it might be helpful to simply switch things up. There’s no point in wasting time staring at your screen. You’re not accomplishing anything, and you’re probably just getting frustrated.
Clean Out Your Email
When you don’t have the mental capacity to focus on real work, you can still be productive by using that time to clean out your inbox. This task is low energy but frequently pushed aside in favor of other tasks, so now is the perfect time to do it.
Run an Errand
On a similar note, if you’re tired but still want to check something off your to-do list, consider picking a quick errand to run. Doing so can give you a nice mental break from whatever’s wearing you down while still getting important work accomplished.
Do Something for Someone Else
When you’re feeling worn out, giving back to someone else can be a nice way to give yourself positive feelings to lift your spirits while making the office or your own life better as a whole.
Prioritize Your To-Do List
Not everything on your to-do list is of equal importance. While some projects need to be taken care of right away, others don’t need immediate attention. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a to-do list that is too long, start over with a new one.
Get a Desk Plant
There’s something soothing about a little green plant on your desk. If you are feeling blue or stressed out, a plant can be a good distraction. You can also take time to prune or water your plant whenever you need a break.
Drink Green Tea
If you’re looking for a boost of energy from something other than coffee, green tea might be just what you need. Green tea can be served hot or cold, and you can make it fairly quickly at the office. If you need to get away for a bit, walk over to your local coffee shop and grab some.
Clean Your Desk
A cluttered desk can sometimes cause feelings of stress and overstimulation, making it hard to focus. Papers, trash and piles of work can cause anxiety. By contrast, a clean, fresh environment can leave you feeling more organized and at peace.
Rest Your Eyes
As grandpa used to say, sometimes you aren't sleeping, you're just resting your eyes. Screen time fatigue is a real thing. If you’ve been staring at the screen too long, it might be time to take a few minutes to unplug.