When that “2:30 feeling” seems to linger from your first waking moment to your last no matter how much sleep you get, it’s time to reassess what’s pulling at your energy stores. It could be stress, it could be diet, it could be burnout … and while these are all very common and prevalent reasons for fatigue, there are a few hacks you can jump into right away that will help you get a little more pep in your step.
Try a vitamin B supplement.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimates that up to 20% of adults may have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is especially common in women, as oral contraceptives can cause B12 deficiencies as well. This can have an effect on our hormones, mental health, and overall energy. Taking a B complex can help, because it includes all the essential water-soluble B vitamins, aka thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin, folic acid, and the cobalamins (B12). While B vitamins won’t quite give us the stimulating jolt of coffee, they will give a noticeable energy boost because they help convert dietary energy into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), so it’s best to take them in the morning when we’re hydrating.
Get in the habit of pausing to breathe.
Most of us don’t realize it, but we often take very shallow breaths throughout the day. While we don’t encourage hyperventilating, pausing a few times a day to take some slow, full, mindful, cleansing breaths can have a big impact on our energy and clarity. A rush of oxygen to the brain can boost our mood, our energy levels, and our thinking power.
Think about it. When our skin is dry on our face, we look a little sad and tired. When properly moisturized, we look plump and vibrant. Hydration from the inside out is crucial to keep our minds and bodies lubricated and vital. Stay hydrated throughout the day, making it the number 1 priority. Often we get a snack craving not long after eating, but it’s really just our body’s way of asking for a little hydrating input. Drink water and herbal teas, add electrolytes and lemon, and eat high-water snacks like watermelon and cucumbers to keep the body functioning optimally.
While it sounds counterintuitive, exercise in general will give us more energy. Stretching is crucial before and after a workout, and yoga is an excellent practice that melds both. Because stretching causes increased blood and nutrient flow throughout the body, not only is it refreshing and invigorating, but we’ll feel the movement in our bodies and our energy levels will be rejuvenated. After all, feeling stiff and creaky isn’t very motivating, but feeling lithe and limber is empowering!
Eat fiber + protein, and avoid lots of starches and added sugars.
Food is 100% our fuel, and while we think it’s crucial that we enjoy eating, it’s equally important to remember that everything we put in our body has an effect on us. Fiber and protein will make us both full and satiated longer, without feeling heavy or sluggish. Fiber helps to sweep waste from our bodies, keeping us feeling light, while protein feeds our muscles. On the other hand, super carby, starchy foods as well as foods packed with added sugars will cause blood sugar to spike and subsequently plummet, making us feel fatigued, weak, and cranky. When there’s no time for a midday siesta, fueling ourselves right is crucial.