Getting through an entire eight-hour workday can be a grueling task. On some days, even frequent trips to the coffee machine can't rid you completely of that dreaded afternoon slump. Feeling your eyes slowly shut while working on an important excel sheet is less than ideal, especially if your boss sits only a few cubicles away from you. A quick trip to the bathroom to refresh and another shot of espresso can only go so far after you've been sitting at your desk for hours.
Studies have shown that taking a break during the workday can actually improve your focus and productivity, so you shouldn't feel guilty about briefly stepping away from the computer to revitalize you energy levels.
"Everyone needs a break to clear their brain and get blood flowing to the mind," says wellness expert Sally Kravich, MS, CNHP.
Instead of resorting to energy drinks or overloading on caffeine to get yourself through the rest of the workday, you can do a few simple tasks at your desk or around the office to boost your energy. With the help of several wellness experts, I've compiled a list of seven natural and easy ways to help you feel revitalized and energetic while at work.
1. Take A Walk Outside
If weather permits, a nice outdoor walk can not only help clear your mind, but also gets your blood flowing and gives you a nice boost of vitamin D.
"Vitamin D lights up serotonin, a natural mood-lifter that can combat stress and anxiety," says Kravich.
2. Avoid Sugar And Carbs
"Overconsumption of sugars and carbs leads to overproduction of insulin, which results in low blood sugar and what we now commonly call 'the food coma,'" says Dr. Jason Miller.
Eating a meal low in refined sugars and carbohydrates can help sustain your energy levels throughout the day, so stick to foods like vegetables and lean proteins to keep yourself from feeling sluggish.
3. Drink Pure Water
Though it may sound overly simple, drinking unsweetened and additive-free water throughout the day will keep you hydrated, which helps keeps energy levels up.
"Your body is 80 percent water, and your brain needs water in order to function optimally," says health coach JoLynn Braley. But don't wait until your mouth is a bit parched to drink water: "You're already dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty," says Braley.
Instead, keep a full refillable cup at your desk and sip from it throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty.
4. Eat A Piece Of Dark Chocolate
Who wouldn't love a little treat in the afternoon? Opting for a piece of unsweetened dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa or higher is great for a small dose of caffeine and a boost of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that can reduce fatigue.
5. Pop A Piece Of Gum
Next time you're feeling a bit sluggish at the office, just reach for that handy piece of bubble gum, and you'll be surprised at the results. Studies have found that chewing a piece of while performing a task increased alertness and focus, likely because chewing gum causes an increase in arousal, waking you up.
6. Watch A Funny Video
Researchers found that participants who watched funny cat videos online reported higher energy levels, as well as increased positive mood. Nope, this is not a joke. You can turn on YouTube and watch a cat playing with babies for more energy throughout the rest of your day. Sounds like a win-win to me!
7. Do A Desk Stretch
Just because you're at the office doesn't mean you can't fit a quick little exercise in. Get discreet by doing a few inconspicuous, energizing stretches at your desk. Studies have shown that short spurts of exercise can help boost energy and efficiency throughout the work day.