Space out.Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock
You might think multitasking will help you tackle your to-do list faster, but doing nothing for a few minutes can help your lack of energy and ultimately push you to get more done, Jon Gordon, a Florida-based consultant who advises corporations and athletes on how to stay energized, said in an article on WebMD.com. Mental concentration is similar to a muscle, John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management, told the NYTimes.com. The brain becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover, he explains. So take a quick pause to daydream, make a cup of tea, or have a chat.
Go for a quick walk.Goodshoot/Thinkstock
Step away from the vending machine and take a stroll around the block instead. In a classic study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers had people either eat a candy bar or walk briskly for 10 minutes on 12 different days. Walking turned out to be the better long-term energy booster; the snackers’ energy levels plummeted within an hour of eating the bar. In a later study, the same researchers discovered that the more steps people take each day, the higher they evaluate their overall mood and energy.
Drink a glass of water.Photodisc/Thinkstock
Fatigue is one of the first signs your body is running low on fluid. In addition to making you feel lethargic, mild dehydration can also make you feel cranky and diminish your concentration, according to a small study published last year in the Journal of Nutrition.
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Eat an energizing snack.iStock/Thinkstock
Look for a healthy bite that combines protein with complex carbohydrates, such as a hard-boiled egg with whole wheat toast, cheese on multi-grain crackers, or an apple with peanut butter. Your body digests that pairing more slowly, which will keep your blood sugar on an even keel, according to Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, in an article on WebMD.com.
Take up meditation.Photodisc/Thinkstock
Want help getting a better handle on stress while feeling more energized overall? One recent study found that people who took mindfulness-based meditation training for eight weeks were able to concentrate longer than a control group who wasn’t taught the meditative techniques; they also didn’t feel as overwhelmed during exercises meant to induce stress. If meditation sounds too woo-woo for you, consider the simple practice of closing your eyes and focusing on breathing for just two minutes at a time, or get more tips at ZenHabits.net.
Pump up your playlist.Stockbyte/Thinkstock
You know the right tunes can invigorate your workout, but certain music can also boost your focus during everyday tasks. Research has shown that background music without lyrics may help workers focus, boosting happiness and productivity. Browse for stations that play instrumental pop, rock, romance, or country to see which ones your brain likes best.
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