My love for caffeine is documented and obvious, but there are times when I can’t rely on it for energy. This usually happens because it’s late in the day and I don’t want to mess with my sleep pattern or I’m trying to detox from it.

I’m also naturally low on iron—which is pretty common, anyone else?—and I’ve been battling depleted energy my whole life. I’m always trying to find ways to get an energy lift, so during the no-caffeine periods I’ve experimented with alternative ways to do so.

And while we’re talking about caffeine, did you know it’s actually better to wait a couple hours after waking before downing it? Hear me out. Your body wakes up and naturally produces cortisol and testosterone, important hormones for energy, so you are waking with it naturally. Scheduling your coffee fix a few hours into your day gives you the lift when your body needs it—as those hormones start to lower.

Beyond that, these are my other favorite ways to add a pep to my step:

Afternoon vitamins
My doctor suggested taking my vitamins (plus a B12 and iron supplement) in the afternoon, as they can aid with stamina. I used to take them in the morning, but like a.m. caffeine, that’s not really when my body needs it. I take them with a snack around 3, when natural vitality starts to fade.

Exposure to light
Supposedly, light in general (artificial or the sun) helps. I personally find it more invigorating to get natural light, so I’ve made it a habit to open blinds right after I get up. A walk outdoors is even better when you have the time. Just don’t forget your SPF, even indoors by a window!

I’m personally not into vigorous morning workouts because I tend to feel more tired after. BUT, I do love doing something light (brisk walk, yoga—especially sun salutations, pilates, swimming, evening stretching) and it’s known to promote alertness all day long. I save the cardio and more intense stuff for weekends of later in the day.

Multi-tasking can lead to stress and energy drain for your mind AND body. Think about it, you’re trying to keep up with multiple things so it’s like when you’re running tons of apps on your phone and the battery goes quicker. I’ve made peace with single-tasking and in turn felt less exhausted.

Snacks are my favorite thing in the world and they are actually perfection for slumps. I grab a handful of almonds, apple + honey, a sweet potato, or anything high in iron (spinach, beans) which are all known to help—especially during the 3 p.m. dead zone.

Taking breaks
I’m a firm believer in splitting up tasks. For work I’ve been using this system, and the breaks have been giving me life. I’ve noticed a huge shift in how I feel throughout the day without trying to cram everything in go-go-go style. A break full of sunshine, spinach, AND a walk? It’s ALMOST as good as the best cup of coffee…almost.

What tips do you have? I’m all about gaining as much energy as possible, so share please!

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