Raise your hand if you woke up this morning feeling like a dead dragon, your body heavier than the weight of being an adult; and your head lost in a frosty morning mist. It’s time to wake up, honey, but there is no way that you are going to survive through breakfast, let alone an 8-hour work day!
We have all been there, sitting on the toilet, our hands holding our heavy head and we whispered to the silent bathroom tiles:”I am just soooo tired. I can’t do this”.
But we manage to get up and something switches in our brain. It is time to get the morning started. So we grab a cup of coffee, and we might sing to that catchy new Taylor Swift song while driving to work; but after an hour or two, here is the cloud again. Your lips are already moving to say it. I AM TIRED!!! And you just want to scream it at the top of your lungs, because you are seriously exhausted from working, working out, scrolling through ridiculous good-looking people on Instagram that seems to be having a lot more fun than you are.. it’s just a never-ending cycle.
You wake up tired. Drink coffee to wake up. Feel like you’re a Greek god and then crash again. More energy drinks, more junk food, less water and a great deal of stress.
I have always been a lazy kid; all I wanted to do in the morning was read in bed and eat apples until I would explode like a canon ball out of my tiny bed. But because I was lazy and still am lazy by nature, I have had to develop some morning-hacks to fake my energy levels and keep me going through the days of high school studying, uni studying, working AND studying, working on 5 different projects at the same time. I am a master at getting more energy when you least expect it.
So here are my secrets.
HOW TO BOOST YOUR ENERGY LEVELS
Drink more water.
Water beats fatigue like a champ and you may be tired of hearing people telling you to chug that bottle of water, but the truth is that keeping your body hydrated is a key aspect of feeling fresh and energized. Water makes the most of our blood, therefore when we skip our water, our blood gets thicker and harder to be pumped through our body. What is the result of this? Feeling like death when you wake up, or hitting a wall halfway through your work day. So drink more water and eat food that naturally contains water (i.e cucumber, carrots, broccoli, yoghurt, watermelon, orange etc). Stay away from foods and drinks that dehydrate you (i.e too much coffee, energy drinks, cigarettes and salty food).
Don’t skip breakfast in the morning.
If you are one of those people who gag at the thought of grabbing something to eat before work, then you better listen up. EAT. YOUR. BREAKFAST. Cooking breakfast, or attempting to assemble something edible for your morning, is not only going to wake up a little bit; but when you actually get to it, you have already improved your energy levels because you are replenishing your body with fuel after a long night of fasting. Opting for food that contains more fiber and protein will ensure a longer retain of energy during the day. Also, eating something filling for breakfast will help you stay fuller and keep you away from junk food during lunch time.
Watch your coffee run.
I am Italian, I would be a fake if I told you to ditch your daily cup of Joe. Caffeine can definitely help you feeling energized firs thing in the morning, as long as you keep hydrating yourself, because that latte can leave you dry! But studies have shown that drinking a lot of coffee to get your through the day is not as efficient as you may think; the more coffee you drink, the more tolerant you are to caffeine, therefore the less buzz you feel over a period of time. So that’s why you have got to be smart with your coffee: have a coffee in the morning, never late at night, and if you are able to have a nap, having a coffee before a nap is a great and quick way to boost your energy levels, because by the time you wake up from your nap, the caffeine would have kicked in.
Swap coffee for a cup of Yerba mate tea.
If you really can’t stay away from your beloved coffee, try to switch to a more gentle substitute: herbal teas. And Yerba mate is just the king of all teas, because it gives you the energy of a coffee, without the sluggishness, the crashing 2 hours later and the yellow teeth. Yerba Mate might sound like the next hipster drug, when in fact it’s the Green tea of the South America.The indigenous Guarani tribe used to chew on leaves of yerba mate to increase their energy level and feeling of being alert and strong during long journeys. I have been having my cup of Yerba Mate from Ascendo Specialty Teas – an organic Australia-based tea distributor- (http://www.ascendospecialtytea.com/) and I have had incredible results. I still have energy past 10AM and I don’t feel like I am “hungover dehydrated” through the day; AND the tea just tastes amazing!
- “Although naturally containing Caffeine, Yerba Mate has an incredible amount of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and polyphenols which have a balancing effect on the body. This means your mind is alert, your concentration levels are high, your energy is prolonged and steady while your central nervous system is relaxed. “. If you want a more extensive description of its benefits, here’s an article that links research on yerba’s health benefits. (x)
Workout first thing in the morning.
I know that going for a jog at 5AM does not sound inviting at all, but getting your blood pumping first thing in the morning and stretching your muscles will help you feeling more energised, warm your body up and your head will start to feel a lot clearer and less fatigued. As long as you eat properly and hydrate yourself after your workout, you will feel a lot more motivated and focused during the day, and sleep better at night!
Have a power nap.
Remember in kindergarten when you were forced to have a midday nap against your will? I do! Well it may be difficult to have a power nap when you work 9-5, but closing your eyes or relaxing for 15-20 minutes will give your brain and your body a little break. Don’t sleep longer than 20 minutes, because then you will go into a deep sleep and wake up as tired as if you had woken up at 5AM. So small naps, 20 minutes et voilà, you will wake up fresher than the Sleeping Beauty.
Meditate in the morning.
The last thing you want to do is sit still on a pillow, breathing in incense and exhaling negativity at 5 in the morning; but taking even 10 minutes to sit, or stand still and do some extremely deep breaths and concentrate on decluttering your mind off destructive thoughts. Also, meditating first thing in the morning lowers your stress levels, therefore makes you more tolerant and nicer during the day, which can greatly benefit people around you.
Ditch the 30-minute Instagram stalk.
It’s no rocket science that using smartphones isn’t healthy for our eyes, or our brains. Staring at the same app and scrolling through hundreds of pictures, with your nose glued to your extemely bright phone..tires you out. Lower the brightness of your phone; after a couple of hours get up and take a small break, shut your eyes and take a deep breath, to refresh all that information. Looking at social media for a long amount of time can also affect your moods, in the way that you are passively receiving images and informations that you’re not actively processing, so your mind is exhausted from being bombarbed with loud messages. So don’t open your email, or get on Instagram until mid-morning and turn all of your devices at least 30 minutes before your sleep time.
Listen to upbeat music.
Music solves everything. I made it through late assignments’ submissions by blasting the One Direction’s discography really loud until I couldn’t physically move my fingers on the keyboard. Listening to pop music, or any tunes that has a fast and cheerful tempo can increase your productivity, make you feel more awake and positive about the day.
Work in intervals.
If your job, or your studying requires long hours sitting down and you struggle with keeping your concentration levels high, well you need the Pomodoro method in your life. Pomodoro is a time-management technique that was invented by the Italian Francesco Cirillo in the 80’s. By working in blocks of 25 minutes of hard work with no distractions and taking a 5 minute break in between and repeating the method 2-3 times and then resting for an hour, you maximise your productivity, maintain your concentration levels and give your mind and your body a little break from the stress of getting a lot of tasks done in a short-amount of time.
In conclusion: drink more water, drink less coffee, drink more yerba mate from Ascendo, ditch your smartphone, sleep better, move your body to get the blood pumping and relax!