Drop The Red Bull: 10 Healthy, Quick-Fix Energy Boosts!
For as long as there have been humans, we've been trying to find ways to have more energy. Chia seeds supposedly provided stamina and energy to the Aztecs and Mayans as far back as 3,500BC. Of course, coffee and tea have also been enjoyed throughout the world as an energy boost.
Jump to Now: The Energy Industry is buzzing and overflowing with energy drinks, energy water, supplements, energy gums, energy beef jerky (Perky Jerky, anyone?!) Most of the ingredients in these products are harmful, unnatural, and actually cause a depletion of energy after the initial surge. No thanks!
In both my professional and personal life, I hear about "Adderall" way too often being used as an energy boost to create more focus, attention, wakefulness or just to downright make someone more "alive" at a party or after a long day of work. The highly habit forming drug has become one of the fastest growing prescription medications to be abused. (Of course Adderall can be useful for people suffering from diagnosable disorders, such as ADHD and can be effective and safe under supervised usage.)
In 2010, more than 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall and in 2012, the government had to approve a higher amount of commercially manufactured amphetamine to be legalized due to the increasing demand.
Needless to say, chasing energy is bigger than ever, but, thankfully so is the trend of being well and healthy. Being well is about moderation, balance and is a constant challenge—a journey to work on daily.
Energy and true increase in brain activity, concentration and mood, comes from a change in lifestyle, a mindful exploration of what you consume, experience, think and feel and then coming up with an active, balanced plan to recreate and live by. Having said that, there are HEALTHY quick fixes you can try if immediate gratification is still more your thing:
10 Healthy Quick-Fix Energy Boosts:
1. Get lit.
From the sun, that is! Make sure you take breaks throughout the day to get outside, the natural sunlight reduces stress hormones, lowers blood pressure and increases serotonin levels which lifts mood and energy! If you know you get tired around 3:30, take a short walk outside or sit under the sun for few minutes everyday and you will train your body to boost through the afternoon lull.
2. Get wet.
Drink more water! (this is the one I have the most trouble with) Dehydration causes fatigue, and if you don’t drink enough water consistently you can feel sluggish all the time! Don't stop at just drinking it, take a break from your desk and splash cold water on your face: Cool water stimulates circulation and metabolism and definitely wakes you up!
3. Get oxygen.
Learning how to take breaks throughout the day to breathe deeply can help boost energy almost immediately! Start with an intentional practice of breathing every afternoon when you feel most tired, breathe deeply in for 5 counts, hold for 2 counts and out again for 5 counts…do 5 reps!
4. Get beats.
Studies have shown that listening to about an hour of upbeat music that you find stimulating every day, can reduce fatigue and increase dopamine. Another study at the University of Wisconsin shows that just hearing a familiar voice with whom you identify as supportive releases hormones that increase mood, decrease stress and improve good energy!
5. Get green.
Drink a green juice (for example: juiced kale, lettuce, green apple, ginger, lemon and garlic). Or go for green tea and green kiwis! These are all super healthy foods that immediately increase energy in a “healthy energy drink” way! Any one of these or all can be great afternoon pick me ups!
6. Get up.
Simply stand up for more hours of the day. Global studies have found that we generally sit for an average of 7.7 hours a day—this can be very negative for personal health. Just simply standing up every couple hours can increase your energy and overall health. I have recently seen many offices providing standing desk options for employees.
7. Get good vibes.
Studies show that the more you surround yourself with high energy, positive people, the more you will be able to generate high energy and positivity! Make more choices to spend time with happy, energetic people!
8. Just chew.
The act of chewing stimulates brain functioning and chewing on something citrus or tangy like citrus flavored gum, eating an orange or grapefruit will give you an immediate boost.
9. Make a mix.
Snack on a mix of raw nuts, chia seeds, goji berries and dark chocolate—each proven on their own to have high energy-boosting content.
10. Get a whiff.
Many studies have shown that smelling peppermint, cinnamon or something with citrus, such as orange or lemon scents can perk up energy levels. Add a dab of scented oil onto the inside of your wrist as you do your breathing reps!