Most of us start our days with the best intentions. We have goals to accomplish and tasks to get done. Then 2 p.m. hits, and we feel ready for a nap. The idea of getting anything else done feels like a pipe dream. The mission now is to make it to the end of our work shift without falling asleep, hoping to have enough energy to make it home and make dinner.

No more! It’s time to face the music: we’re more than capable of making it through the entire day with plenty of energy to get everything done. It’s a question of whether or not we’re willing to do the right things to make it happen.

How to Boost Energy Without Compromising Health - manage stress, hydrated, exercise, energy, caffeine, boost

The following are seven effective ways to boost energy without harming our health and wellness: 

Get quality sleep

Most people think more sleep equals more energy. But that’s not necessarily true. A lack of sleep is an easy way to rob yourself of energy, but frequent naps and excessive sleep will get you out of your natural circadian rhythm. It’s not the amount of sleep but the quality of sleep that matters most. Start by optimizing your sleeping environment to ensure it’s adequate for achieving quality sleep. This means minimal light, increased airflow, and comfortable bedding. It’s also crucial to appreciate how much sleep you need; some people need nine hours while others only need seven. Find your number and stick to it.

Eat better foods

The old saying “You are what you eat” is more accurate than most people realize. Eat foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, and you have more than enough pep in your step. Eat foods high in fat and salt, and watch yourself feel bloated and sluggish all day long. With this in mind, it pays to eat the right foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For instance, begin the day with a bowl of Acai berries and bananas blended with peanut butter. Follow up with brown rice and beans for lunch and fish with green beans and potatoes for dinner. That’s just one of countless meal plan options guaranteed to provide you with the energy needed to seize the day without compromising health.

Manage stress

Avoiding stress and minimizing its influence is easier said than done. With that said, doing our best to manage stress is critical to staying energized throughout the day. That’s because stress triggers a fight or flight response, which inevitably exhausts our energy stores and leaves us feeling fatigued. While evading the energy-robbing influence of stress is a fool’s errand, managing stress is achievable. It can go a long way in preventing bad news and negative interactions from snuffing out our sense of drive and motivation.

Consume caffeine carefully

Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world. Given its potency and potentially addictive qualities, many people caution against consuming caffeine. But a cup or two of coffee or tea is a reasonably effective way to feel alert and energized. Here’s the deal: caffeine is not some magic drug that gives us energy. It tricks the brain into ignoring the signals of exhaustion, making us feel more energized. The trick is to avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. Consuming caffeine in the afternoon will disrupt your sleep schedule.

Stay hydrated

The average human can go a week or longer without food. But they can only last a few days without water. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how staying hydrated is crucial to staying energized during the day. It might mean more bathroom breaks, but drinking plenty of water will prove effective when trying to stave off fatigue and exhaustion. While you might not need eight ounces of water per day to feel your best, increased water consumption will no doubt lead to feeling more energetic and motivated.

Exercise more often

It might sound counterintuitive, but exercising more often is an effective way to feel more energized throughout the day. While there are many reasons why exercise helps increase drive and motivation, it mostly comes down to increased oxygen circulation. This boost has a cascading effect on the rest of the body, influencing and improving you down to the cellular level.

Human energy is not a commodity to be bought and sold. Instead, it’s a resource to be cultured, managed, and put to good use. With this in mind, feeling more energized throughout the day is a matter of doing the right things and making the right choices.