a blog from seedling
It seems our lives are increasingly busier as time goes on. Mornings are often rushed, racing to drop the kids at school and make the commute to the office. Workdays drag on with long meetings, conference calls, and the endless repopulation of our email inboxes. We hurry home to make dinner, help with homework, and tuck the kids into bed, hoping for at least an hour or two of personal downtime before pulling back the covers, setting a morning alarm, wake, and repeat.
Exhausted just thinking about this routine? We are — and we often wonder if we need sleep, sunshine, or caffeine to stay alert and focused with all we do each day. So, we're sharing our list of top ten tricks to help keep you energized and refreshed all day long.
1. Get Enough Sleep
We've all been told to get eight hours of sleep, but somehow, sometimes we still wake up tired. Contrary to this eight-hour belief, studies have shown that humans will actually sleep longer when clocks and sunshine are removed as visual time clues. According to a study shared in the New York Times, nine hours might be a truer average of how many hours of shut-eye we all need to fully recharge per night.
2. Let the Sunshine In
Sunlight is the signal that tells our bodies it's time to wake up, which is why using blackout drapes in the bedroom can help you get more restful sleep. Natural sunlight will help reenergize your body, so stepping out into the sunshine mid-day will help you fight feelings of drowsiness. Pulling up the blinds or cracking a window near your desk will also help let more natural light inside along with a little fresh air.
3. 7th Inning Stretch
Even baseball fans have a hard time sitting in the stands for an extended period of time, and sitting at your desk is no different. If you're feeling lethargic, stretch your arms over your head, twist from side to side in your seat, or stand up and roll your head in a circle a few times. Reinvigorate the blood flow to the brain so you can get back to tackling the task at hand. If you're able, head outside and take a short brisk walk. Exercise automatically increases brain alertness, and your body will be grateful to be out of that swivel chair for a spell.
One of the main symptoms of being over-tired is dehydration. Keep your creative juices flowing by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It can help your mind stay fresh, and the walk to the water cooler is a great way to stretch your legs. Studies even show that chatting with co-workers may help refresh your mind, so stick around for a little water cooler chat. And while you're there, be sure to refill your water glass another time.
5. Turn Up the Music
Amp up your day by pumping some of your favorite tunes. Pull on a pair of headphones and listen to music with an upbeat tempo to help get you back into the groove.
6. Chill Out
We all tend to get sleepy when we feel too warm. To help stay fresh, try splashing cold water on your face or turning the air conditioning on. Cold temperatures can help the body burn more calories, which increases the blood flow throughout the body, and in turn ups energy levels.
7. Switch Gears
It's easy to lose steam when spending an extended amount of time on a singular project. Try setting time limits on certain tasks, then switch to another project for a period of time to keep your mind sharp. Even a change of scenery can help with stagnation, so if you have a lounge, patio, or other workspace in your office to utilize, make the move.
8. Make Some Scents
Aromatherapy can be particularly useful when it comes to stimulating our energy levels. Look for essential oils or candles to help boost your mood: peppermint increases energy, rosemary for ups awareness, eucalyptus will increase oxygen flow, and citrus scents will help you stay awake.
9. Take a Power Nap
Even Oprah swears by the power nap. A quick daytime nap has definite brain-boosting benefits; resting your eyes and body for just 20 minutes will help increase your alertness. Want to super charge your mid-day nap? Drink a cup of coffee before you lie down. Caffeine takes about 15 minutes to fully release into your system, so when you wake from your nap, you'll be extra-charged and ready to take on the rest of your day.
10. Let the Caffeine Flow
As one of the most tried-and-true methods of staying awake, sometimes a cup of joe is the way to go. Whether you like your caffeine in coffee, tea, or soda, be sure to drink in moderation, as too much can have adverse affects, such as dizziness and anxiety.