5 Hacks for a High-Energy Workday
Deadlines. Meetings. Your boss breathing over your shoulder. You've got so much to do, but you feel exhausted. What do you do when tiredness hits? If you're like most people, you reach for the coffee or a snack for a quick boost of energy.
The problem is that the more you load your body with caffeine and sugar, the harder you crash when it wears off. The good news is there are plenty of healthy ways to boost your energy levels without needing to constantly reach for the caffeine.
1. Modify Your Morning Shower
Being highly energetic at works starts with your morning shower. Everybody enjoys a warm shower, but the bad news is that a warm shower has the opposite effect of energizing you. As you step out of the warm shower and into a cooler room, the sudden drop in body temperature signals to your body that it's time for bed. Your heart rate and digestion start to slow down, which make feel sleepy.
Instead, if you really want to energize yourself, stand under a blast of cold water for thirty seconds. You might want to let out a scream, which is fine if it helps. Alternate to warm water for thirty seconds, then cold for another thirty. This will get your blood flowing and really wake you up. Although it may not feel very pleasurable, your newfound sense of morning energy will speak for itself.
2. Eat with Energy in Mind
Eating breakfast has a significant effect on your energy levels throughout the day. Skipping breakfast hurts people's ability to concentrate - at least until lunch. Eating something in the morning is vital, but what you eat is just as important.
Starting your day with bagels and coffee may be tempting, but high-carb, sugary foods lead to energy crashes later on. Early in the morning, energy levels are low from the day before and cortisol (stress) levels are high. Cereal and protein have been shown to reduce cortisol and keep energy levels steady throughout the day. Try porridge, eggs, peanut butter, bacon or ham for breakfast, topping up energy levels throughout the day with fruit or nuts instead of energy bars. If you only have access to junk food at work, take time to plan snacks by bringing food from home.
3. Exercise Over Lunch
When you're low on energy, exercise can help energize you again. Studies have shown employees who exercise on their lunch breaks are more productive, energetic, and less stressed. You might not have a gym at work, but the important thing is to get moving. Take a walk around the block, stretch a bit, or do some push-ups.
Be smart and slowly ease your body into this new routine. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day if your lunch break allows.
4. Stay Hydrated
You've knocked back three coffees already, but you feel exhausted and unfocused. Most people don't know the signs of dehydration, so they don't look for them.
The water cooler is more than the place to catch office gossip; it's what might make the difference between a productive day and a wasted one. Try drinking at least two liters of water a day and see the difference it makes. (Check out this review for 3 of the best water filter pitchers.)
Set reminders so you remember to drink. Keep an empty bottle on your desk where you can see it. Stick up post-its, set 'water' reminders on your phone, or keep some water on your desk and sip while you work.
5. Give Your Brain a Break
You have ten deadlines to meet, and you're nowhere near finishing. You feel as if your brain isn't working, but you keep going. Before you know it, you've missed all your breaks and still haven't finished your work.
It may be tempting to skip breaks and power through the tiredness, especially when you have deadlines, but research shows that focusing on one task for too long eats up energy reserves and destroys focus.
Employees who take regular breaks to do something non-work related, like talking to people or taking a walk, are more productive. If you have scheduled breaks, take them. If not, set an alarm every hour or so, and take 10 minutes to shift your mind away from work. Imagine you are stopping your brain from overheating, and return to your task with renewed energy.
About the Author
Akash is a peak-performance coach who has trained over 120,000 people worldwide. His latest book, The 7 Things Resilient People Do Differently, teaches people how to develop resilience, persevere through adversity and quickly bounce back from disappointment. You can grab his bestselling 1 hour online course "How Successful People Think Differently" for free here ($20 value). When he is not busy writing about himself in third person, Akash can be found lifting heavy weights at the gym while listening to Taylor Swift.
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