While coffee (and caffeine in general) has become a bad word I’m mostly neutral on the whole coffee debate. I personally gave up coffee (and most other caffeine) because I was relying on it to literally keep my eyes open and it wreaked havoc on my digestive system and adrenal glands. But if you’re team coffee – that’s cool. I know a lot of health and wellness peeps that love an occasional – or even daily – cup of coffee. Enjoy your coffee (or caffeinated tea) – just don’t use it as a substitute for natural energy and important self-care.
You can (and should) feel awake, energetic + alert even without your morning cup. Here’s how:
SLEEP – Okay this one should go without saying but it doesn’t. YOU. AREN’T. SLEEPING. ENOUGH. The only way that you’ll consistently feel energized is to get enough sleep every day. There are no hacks for this one. No miracle foods or supplements to make up for a lack of sleep. #sorrynotsorry. You must sleep. You must. Sleep is one of the staples of a whole and healthy life. Lack of sleep impacts your mood, memory, hunger levels, hormones, and immune system. It literally changes your genes. And unfortunately, you can’t skimp on sleep all week and “catch-up” over the weekend. You need restful sleep on the regular. As someone who has long struggled with insomnia, I’ve written about sleep several times. You can get my tips to improve your sleep here and here and my favorite yoga poses for sleep here.
LEGS UP THE WALL – Is there anything this yoga pose can’t do? Not only can it help you relax and fall asleep faster but it can also give you a boost of energy when you need it. I’ve read that 10 minutes with your legs up the wall is the equivalent of 2 hours of sleep. Not that you should replace actual sleep with this pose! When sleep just doesn’t happen – which is real life for all of us from time to time – you can use this yoga pose to support you. This pose allows for your blood flow to reverse, calms the nervous system, improves your circulation, and even supports digestion which can be negatively impacted when you’re over-tired.
BRAIN-BALANCE – I am all about the “brain-balancing” lately. I learned this technique from Laura Hames Franklin. It is a simple technique similar to emotional freedom technique (tapping). It helps your get out of the fight or flight response which is quite taxing on your body. I can’t really explain how this works – I just know that it does work. I have been balancing my brain several times a day: when I first wake up, whenever I feel myself on the way to crazytown, when I’m feeling tired or overwhelmed, and before bed. Each time I feel a deeper sense of calm, clarity and energy. It helps quiet the “noise” in my mind and allows me to feel more grounded and aware.
DANCE – What is more energizing than a good dance party?! Dancing (really, movement of any kind) gets your blood flowing, your heart rate up and puts a smile on your face. So much of feeling energized comes from feeling joyful. And joy comes from letting go and getting out of your head and into your body. I used to hate dancing. Mostly because I thought that I was crap at it. I worried about judgement from others about my moves. And then I experienced what it felt like to truly dance like nobody was watching and how freaking amazing it felt. When I’m working from home I love to bookend the workday with dance breaks. It’s a great way to infuse joy, freedom and energy into your day. Plus dancing at the end of the day is a great way to shake off the “stuff” we pick up during work.
MEDITATE – Meditation does amazing things for energy. It clears out the clutter and washes away the stresses. Meditation releases so much mental weight. And, therefore, allows you to move through life with more ease. And ease feeds into energy. When you’re hanging out in a low vibe place your energy takes a major hit. You can get 9 hours of the most restorative sleep on the regular but if you’re stressed to the max you’re not going to feel energized. When you have a regular meditation practice you move through life in a protective, energized bubble.
CHEW MORE – You know how you feel like you need a nap after you finish lunch or fall asleep on the couch right after dinner? I’m willing to bet that you aren’t chewing enough. Chewing your food until liquid helps your stomach further breakdown the food and your body can absorb the nutrients and eliminate the waste with more ease. As my friend Robyn Youkilis says, your stomach doesn’t have teeth. When you swallow large pieces of food your stomach can’t simply chew them some more. It has to work really hard to break down those large pieces which depletes your energy.
SUPERFOODS – When I shifted away from my triple soy latte (aka caffeine and sugar bomb) I replaced it with a morning smoothie full of greens, protein, healthy fats, and naturally energizing superfoods. I add my magic three in: maca, raw cacao and bee pollen. Maca is a stress-fighting adaptogen, fights fatigue and as an added bonus it boosts your libido (you’re welcome). Cacao stimulates blood circulation which helps to oxygenate the body and contains nutrients and minerals that boost your mood. Bee pollen is one of the most nutrient dense foods out there. It is a complete food and contains protein, amino acids, B vitamins, and carbohydrates. A spoonful of coconut oil sprinkled with bee pollen is also a great energy boosting snack.
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