1. Step away from the coffee: it might give you a quick hit of energy, but it will also probably disturb your sleep tonight. Leave the coffee alone after about 2pm, and instead eat an apple. It sounds silly but the physical action involved in biting, chewing and digesting an apple will help you to wake up and feel more alert.
2. Try aromatherapy. Citrus scents such as those found in our Be Happy balm can really help to give you a little energy boost. If you’re at work and really need to be with it, the rosemary in our Focus balm is great for encouraging alertness.
4. Get up and move around. If you’re sitting at a desk all day of course you will begin to feel lethargic. Get up and move around, and find a way to really get your blood pumping; that might be walking up a couple of flights of stairs to visit a colleague, or popping into the toilets to jump up and down a few times before heading back to your desk.
5. Have a lunchtime nap. If you really feel pooped, a lunchtime nap may do the trick. Book a meeting room at work and try this clever trick: drink a strong, black coffee before sitting down, and hold your house keys in your hand. You should be able to doze for a few minutes, and if you fall asleep too deeply you’ll drop your keys which will wake you up. The caffeine in the coffee takes twenty minutes to hit your system, so when you wake up you should feel much more alert. This is not something to do every day though; save it for those days when you really need to be with it for an important meeting.
7. Try Accupressure. Use the tip of your index finger to apply pressure between your upper lip and your nose for up to one minute. You might look a bit strange sitting at your desk pointing to your lip, but if it gets you through the afternoon without yawns it has to be worth a try!
8. Stretch. Stretching can help us to feel more awake, which is why many of us yawn and stretch as we wake in the morning. Stand up, put your arms in the air and try and stretch every muscle in your body towards the sky for a couple of seconds, then release and put your arms down. Doing this three or four times in a row should help you to feel more awake.
10. Add chia seeds to your lunch. The ancient Aztecs used chia seeds to keep up energy and alertness in their warriors during times of war. These tiny seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and can help to boost energy.
11. Sit up straight. Sitting at a desk all day means that we can end up hunched over, with our shoulders, neck and head all shifted forwards. This doesn’t just make for sore shoulders at the end of the day; this position can affect the arteries that bring blood to the brain. It also wastes a lot of energy as our muscles have to work harder to hold the head up when it is not sitting in its natural position at the top of the spine. Set yourself reminders throughout the day to adjust your posture and sit up straight.
12. Invest in a blue lightbulb. Sitting in an office under fluorescent strip lights is not the best way to stay awake and alert, but we can’t always take time away from our desks to be outside in the sunshine. A blue light or “daylight” lughtbulb will help to bridge that gap until you can get outside into the sunlight. These lights are used by sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but can also be useful for providing more natural light within a home or office.
13. Massage your ears. All of the body’s accupressure meridians travel through the outer ear, so massaging the ear can get our energy flowing better. Simply pinch the rim of each ear between your thumb and forefinger, and gently rub up and down for about 30 seconds.
14. Listen to music. Listening to upbeat, positive music can help to boost our mental and physical energy. Set up a Spotify playlist to help boost your energy; music can also improve our mood.
15. Give yourself a head massage. A vigorous massage of the scalp can help to increase blood circulation in the head and boost our energy. Plus it can also feel nice.
16. Meditate. When you’re feeling exhausted, closing your eyes might seem like a bit of a gamble but if your fatigue is caused by stress, meditation can really help. Stress uses up a lot of energy, so doing anything that relieves that stress should help you to feel more alert.
17. Work less. We’re not joking! One of the main causes of fatigue is over work. Now is the time to see if you can delegate or outsource some of your responsibilities. Try to streamline the activities you absolutely have to do and cross off or delegate some of those items that are lower down the list.
18. Work shorter hours. You might have a hard time convincing your boss of this, but there is a growing school of thought that we can be more productive and creative by working in 90-minute bursts, for no longer than about four or five hours per day. In his new book, Rest, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang lists numerous people, from writers to scientists to musicians who all did their best work in just four hours a day. This might not be feasible for someone contracted to work seven or eight hours every day, but look for ways to break up your day so that you’re not just slumped in a chair for the entire day.
20. Try supplements. There are numerous supplements you can take to help boost your energy. B vitamins are very important for energy production as they are involved in the conversion of food into fuel. One you may not have heard of though is Coenzyme Q10. Every cell in the body contains CoQ10 and it is easy to become deficient in it, since it is used not only in energy creation but also in cellular metabolism to neutralise free radicals. Without going into too much science here, it’s safe to say that CoQ10 may well improve your energy levels.