It starts with heavy eyelids. Then your head starts to bob as you nod off at your desk. An entrepreneur's to-do list never seems to get done, and when that afternoon slump sets in, you begin to feel like something has been slipped into your drink. But, as a response, avoid reaching for a processed energy drink filled with sugar, chemicals and preservatives.
Instead, it’s time to employ the help of some natural energy boosters. Whether you’ve pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline or are simply exhausted from days of jam-packed schedules (or are struggling with a medical condition like adrenal fatigue), there are all-natural ways to put a little pep back in your step. Here are five effective options to get you started.
1. Pass the chia seeds, please.
Chia seeds are a popular superfood that have a solid reputation for promoting energy as well as digestion. Originally grown in Mexico, chia seeds have enjoyed a popularity surge in recent years, with health experts and enthusiasts alike singing their praises for their rich levels of omega-3s, protein, antioxidants and fiber.
There is precedent here: Historic accounts regale the effectiveness of chia seeds in the diet of Aztec warriors, saying that the seeds increased stamina and performance. And it makes sense, really, as the term “chia” means “strength” in the Mayan language. Today, in the modern age, research and scientific studies have shown that chia seeds offer a solid boost of energy and endurance for us non-warriors as well. Wondering the best way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet? There are myriad of chia seed recipes that offer flavorful ways to consume them.
2. Take a cool drink of water.
Statistics suggest that as much as 75% of the population is chronically dehydrated, meaning we aren’t consuming the proper amount of water to maintain optimal health. Why does that matter? Oddly enough, dehydration means much more than just a dry mouth. When you’re not properly hydrated, you may suffer various side effects, namely exhaustion. In fact, exhaustion is one of the very first signs of dehydration.
Consider that 60% of your body is comprised of water, which nourishes your brain and your muscles. If that amount is not properly maintained, those two areas take the hit, which is felt as a lack of energy. Water is also crucial in the digestion process, as it helps your kidneys rid your body of waste. If not properly processed, that excess waste can weigh you down and make you feel sluggish.
So, when you’re feeling a little run-down, pour a glass of water. And for good measure, add a few squeezes of lemon juice to it. You’ll get some gentle detoxification with your lemon water, along with a natural energy boost.
3. Take a hike (or ride a bike, go for a run or just . . . move!)
It’s not news that a daily workout is good for you. But in addition to the countless health benefits of exercise, (including improved heart health, greater cognitive function and a slimmer waistline), you may be surprised to learn that breaking a sweat is also a great way to increase your energy levels.
Yes, it may feel counter-intuitive—if you’re exhausted, why would you want to exercise?—but there’s scientific proof supporting your need to squeeze in that workout, no matter what: Getting your body in motion sends additional blood and nutrients to your body’s cells, which, in turn, helps your heart and lungs operate more efficiently.
This increased efficiency frees up additional energy that can be used elsewhere—like helping you stay awake during that two-hour-long board meeting. And the good news is that you don’t need to be an iron man to reap the energy-boosting benefits of exercise. Moderate activity works also, as do quick, 20-to-30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions that are proven to be much more effective at burning fat and improving overall fitness than regular workouts.
4. Tap into plant power.
One of the best natural sources for combating fatigue is Adaptogenic herbs. These plants have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties, which include a healing effect on the body in times of anxiety, stress and fatigue. The plants help regulate the adrenal system, which is the body’s main line of defense against stress and fatigue.
So, which Adaptogenic herbs are the best when you feel like you’re sleepwalking your way through the day? Top options include ashwagandha and rhodiola, the latter of which has been shown to increase workplace performance and decrease the effects of a lack of sleep.
5. Take a deep breath!
It’s much more than just a catchphrase during times of chaos. Taking a deep breath is also an ideal approach to those moments when your energy levels are lagging. So, take a long, deep breath when you’re feeling fatigued, and you’ll find a near-instant surge in your energy level, as oxygen is sent to your brain and throughout your body’s cells.
It’s easily one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to give yourself a wake-up call!
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
Photos from Thinkstock and Flickr (The Ziegelofen)