If you are plagued by energy dips that slow you to a crawl, take heart. You are not alone. Flagging energy is a common complaint for the young and old alike. The good news is that there are some easy strategies to boost your energy and help you get through the day without feeling like you are going to crash.

Use food as fuel

When we think of food we most often think of the pleasure we get from the way it tastes. When it comes to boosting energy it can also be helpful to think of food in terms of the benefits it provides – namely nutrition and energy. That means quality counts. Fuel your energy tank with complex carbs, fiber and proteins instead of cookies for a boost that lasts. Next time you are feeling that late afternoon lag reach for a whole wheat cracker with cheese instead of that Hershey bar.

Other food help:

  • Go for foods high in B-12 such as beef liver, fortified cereals, trout and salmon
  • Snack on nuts and yogurt
  • Keep lunch calories under 500. High calorie lunches leave you ready for a nap, not a productive afternoon.

Move more

Business people walking together on streetI have a co-worker that takes an afternoon walk every day. Studies show that she is on to something. Using energy actually generates more energy. Get up and take a brisk walk during your lunch break. The fresh air and movement will help you feel recharged and ready to tackle the rest of your day feeling peppy instead of pooped. Another benefit of an outside stroll is the boost you’ll get from vitamin D, necessary for energy production. Inside, turn on bright lights for a quick pick me up.

Drink up

Dehydration is draining. Be sure to keep water handy and drink enough so that your urine is the color of lemonade. Darker urine means you aren’t getting enough fluids, a big reason for low energy. Alcohol doesn’t count here. In addition to its dehydrating effects, alcohol interferes with restful sleep.

Coffee can help but be careful to avoid caffeine for at least 4 hours before bedtime if sensitivity to it keeps you awake. If you choose them, read the labels of energy drinks closely. Pay attention to any calories and chemicals these drinks contain.

Abandon auto-pilot mode

When you are paying close attention or doing something that feels new and exciting it is unlikely that you will also feel like falling asleep. Bring more attention and awareness to each task. Notice what you are doing and focus on the sensations and experiences involved. Shake up your routine by doing things in new ways that force you to pay attention. Stop sleep walking through your day.

Stand up straight

Keep your spine straight and take regular deep breaths throughout the day to keep your oxygen and energy flowing.

Maintaining adequate energy levels is important because that energy is directly related to what we feel able to accomplish each day. Fuel your dreams by fueling your body so it is better able to carry you closer to all the places you want to go.