10 Ways To Stay Energized At Work Without Reaching For Caffeine

by Adam Silvers

It's 2:30 pm and you just hit the wall. The only problem is you can't just put your head down at your desk and take a 30-minute nap.

There's work to be done, you have a meeting at 4 and, last time I checked, it was generally frowned upon to take a snooze next to your laptop.

So, what do you do?

Some people will head out to Starbucks for their umpteenth cups of coffee. Others will hit up 7-Eleven to purchase ubiquitous "energy drinks."

Consuming all that caffeine just isn't good for you.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have a cup of coffee in the morning, but if you're someone who keeps fighting fatigue by consuming greater amounts of Joe because your body is building up a tolerance, well, it might be time to opt for a plan B.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of options to get a jolt from the blue without feeling like you're starring alongside Johnny Depp in "Blow."

Here are 10 ways to get amped without having to cope with the caffeine jitters.

1. Bump your favorite jams to restart your engine.

According to the Journal of Music Therapy, music can provide you with a real pick-me-up when you're ready to throw in the towel.

Whether you sing out loud or tap along to The Weeknd, you could feel a significant spike afterward.

2. A piece of mint gum will give you a fresh breath and a fresh boost.

In a 2012 study, researchers found people who chewed gum for 15 minutes had a greater sense of awareness than those who didn't.

According to Andy Smith, PhD.,

Chewing gum increases heart rate, which increases blood flow to the brain. It also stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which can increase alertness.

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum says,

Mint stimulates your nerve fibers -- it's kind of like splashing cold water on your face.

3. Close your computer and get those legs moving.

I work in an office. I know you can't just take an hour out of your day to go on a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood.

But, even a quick walk around the block can help fight your fatigue and make you more alert. Activity is good for your heart, blood and metabolism, and it's important to remember any little bit can help.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator (I know... It's so convenient), get up to talk to a coworker and take a 10-minute walk when you feel like you can no longer be productive.

4. Breaking news: Viral videos can actually be good for you!

Apparently, watching a funny video is not only enjoyable, it can also give you a real boost of energy by increasing the circulation of blood flow in your body.

If your boss tries to hit you with that restricted bullsh*t, tell him or her allowing you to visit some blocked sites could make you a more productive employee.

But just in case, get your friend from accounting to say it, too.

5. Load up your salad with spinach and mushrooms in order to receive some added energy with your lunch.

Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body, and just one cup of shrooms accounts for nearly half of your daily iron requirement.

When you don't get enough oxygen, you often feel tired and fatigued.

You see where I'm going here?

Spinach is also packed with iron, potassium and magnesium. You already know what iron does for your body, but magnesium is responsible for producing energy.

Energize your next salad or omelet with a steady supply of mushrooms and spinach.

6. And at 3 pm on a Wednesday, the Lord said, "Let there be light."

Did you know catching rays for just 15 minutes can actually help you feel less fatigued?

When your eyes are hit with natural light, your brain receives signals for alertness and response. So the next time you feel like taking a nap under your desk, just go outside and open your eyes instead.

Who knew?

7. Whole grains will provide you with a whole new outlook on the afternoon.

Yes, some carbs will leave you snoozing in front of your boss, but whole grains can help you get in line for that promotion real quick.

According to one study published in the journal Appetite, those who replaced three servings of "refined carbs" with whole grains felt increases in energy.

Pro tip: Take in a solid amount of whole grains in the morning to power your day.

8. Red light, BLUE light, one, two, win!

Natural sun light is one way to boost your energy, but another way is by installing a blue bulb in your desk lamp.

A study by the Lighting Research Center of New York found red light may be a stronger energizer than blue light, but it's like a coffee jitteriness -- well, look at that -- compared to a steady buzz.

Red light belongs in the boom, boom room where it can help facilitate an energetic spark in the romance department. Ayy!

9. Give your ears a little love, and they'll give you so much more in return.

Believe it or not, massaging the outer rim of your ears can provide energy to your entire body.

How, you ask?

Basically, all your body's energy paths travel through your outer ear, so, a 10 to 30-second rub on your ear could translate to an active, productive and successful afternoon.

10. Eating nuts is good for your body, soul and mind.

Raw, unsalted nuts will provide your body with a much-needed energy boost, and they'll offer a decent amount of fiber and protein to boot.

In order to increase the nutrient value of nuts, as well as your body's ability to absorb all the goodness, keep your nuts in water overnight.

Combine your nuts with the natural probiotics in yogurt for a real immune booster.

Citations: 7 Ways to Boost Your Energy without Caffeine (Men's Health), 7 Caffeine-Free Ways To Boost Your Energy (Prevention), Revealed, the 10 best foods to boost your energy levels (without expanding your waistline) (Daily Mail)