First things first. Don’t skip breakfast! Have a small meal at the very least to get your metabolism going. Then, throughout the day, practice mindful eating and listen to your body. If you need a snack, keep it well-balanced to avoid a mid-afternoon crash. Try something with equal protein and carbs to avoid blood sugar spikes (and drops).
Also, don’t forget the magic of caffeine. There’s the right amount that can give you a boost but won’t lead to a major crash afterwards. Have one cup of 200mg or less mid-morning, and then a second cup in the PM when you need a pick me up, instead of two back to back. The afternoon is a perfect time to take one of your regularly scheduled breaks.
Take regular breaks.
Research shows that taking 15 minute breaks every 90 minutes will reenergize you and help increase productivity. While it’s slightly different for everyone, most of us aren’t capable of truly focusing for more than an hour and a half at a time. So don’t power through every client call, report, and meeting without one. You’re actually doing yourself a disservice.
Not sure if a break sounds productive enough? Why not also incorporate some exercise?
You already know that regular exercise is important for your health, but if you time it correctly, it also works wonders for your energy levels. Fitting in even as little as 20 minutes mid-day can perk you up and improve your mood. If you don’t have a gym nearby, try taking a brisk walk near your office. Better yet, host a walking meeting with colleagues to tackle work while simultaneously upping your energy levels.
We’ve all seen that colleague whose eyes start to fall heavy in the boardroom…You definitely don’t want to be that person.
Take a power nap (or the equivalent).
I’m not the best at shutting down my brain enough to take a nap, but if YOU can do it, I say go for it. The National Sleep Foundation claims that a short 20-30 minute nap can help to improve mood, alertness, and performance. Basically, naps re-energize you in powerful ways. If you’re like me and can’t fall asleep, sit quietly, listen to music, or simply close your eyes and bask in the sunshine for a few minutes to also help you feel more energized before you get back to work.
Disclaimer: A nap won’t save you if you aren’t also getting enough sleep each night, so make sure you’re getting the proper amount of shut-eye on the regular.
If you think there’s no way you can find time to take a nap or workout mid-day, I challenge you to start out small and implement these tips one at a time. Even self-made millionaires value the importance of exercise and good rest.
Once you find something that works well for you, try adding on another, and then another. Over time you’ll develop a routine that keeps you energized, even on the toughest of days.