I’ve never been much of a java lover – despite the fact that there’s a coffee shop on every corner, and despite the fact that coffee has been shown to have many health benefits, and despite the fact that many folks these days would probably prefer coffee fountains over water fountains.
Why? For starters, coffee is a diuretic – not exactly a plus when you’re a standing in the OR for multiple-hour surgeries.
But I understand why so many people love their morning cup. Some love the taste, and some love the caffeinated kickstart that gets them going. And believe me, I also understand the thirst we have to gain more energy.
In this fast-paced, hectic, pulled-in-all-directions era, we crave more mojo to perform better in our jobs, to be more engaged with our families, and to attack each day with more spunk than a cooped-up puppy.
The reality is that as long as you’re not experiencing any side effects from the caffeine (and you’re not adding a cookie-jar’s worth of sugar to it), there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your daily coffee. But I’d also love for you to think about all kinds of ways you can increase your energy – and thereby improve your mood, up your productivity, better your health, and boost your happiness.
Here are a few of my favorite energy-boosters:
To Drink: Green tea. I love the taste, but green tea also has lots of disease-fighting antioxidants that provide tons of health benefits. If you need a little sweetness added, try natural ingredients like agave nectar or stevia.
To Eat: Nuts. I grab a handful of walnuts or almonds whenever I’m hungry. The protein and healthy fat help keep me satiated and provide me with lots of energy through the day. Best of all, recent research suggests that we don’t digest all the calories in nuts, so we actually get a bit of a caloric discount when we eat them.
To Do: Yoga. Any kind of exercise or movement will power you up. So why not a five-minute walk around the block or office halls whenever you’re feeling a slump? I like to start the day with a few yoga moves, like the classic sun salutation, to wake up my muscles and my mind.
To Schedule: Sleep. Sure, naps are great – if you don’t have bosses, kids or other forces tugging you away from the bed, couch or recliner. But if a nap’s not possible (and even if it is), I want to see you aggressively make the time to sleep for at least 7 ½ to 8 hours a night. The key to doing that is to make sure you practice tip-top sleep hygiene: Keep cool temps in the bedroom; dim the lights a half-hour before bed; and keep your computers, TVs and cell phones out of the bedroom.