Seven tips to boost your energy level

July 15, 2021

​Energy moves us from thinking to acting, so we can realize our potential and bring our best gifts to those around us. Try these tips to boost energy levels naturally.

If you're dragging through your day, you might think the answer is to reach for another cup of tea or coffee or down an energy drink. Millions of people rely on caffeine every day to help them wake up and stay alert. Although caffeine use is generally safe for adults, too much can cause side effects such as rapid heartbeat, headaches, nervousness, and insomnia. Instead of loading up on caffeinated drinks, try these seven tips to put some spring in your step — naturally.

  1. Manage stress. Stress-induced emotions can consume huge amounts of energy. Talking with someone, such as a friend, relative, or counselor, about what you are feeling can help relieve stress. Meditation, yoga, and tai chi can also be effective tools for reducing stress.
  2. Learn to say no. Overwork, whether from professional, family, or social obligations, is a common cause of fatigue. Try to streamline your list of essential activities; set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks, and limit those that are less important.
  3. Sleep. It may seem obvious, but one of the simplest things you can do to fight fatigue is to make sure you are getting quality sleep. Try these tips to help you catch some restful Zs:
    • Stick with the same bedtime and wake time.
    • Create an ideal sleep space that is cool and dark.
    • Avoid screens (TV, phone, iPad, computer, etc.) before bed.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol around bedtime.
  4. Limit alcohol. Alcohol acts as a sedative that can make you feel drowsy, so you fall asleep faster, but research has shown that sedative effect only lasts for the first part of the night. During the second part of the night, alcohol can reduce the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you get, leaving you feeling drowsy and low in energy.
  5. Eat for energy. Avoid processed foods, which can make your energy levels spike but drop quickly and eat foods with a low glycemic index whose sugars are absorbed slowly. Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil.
  6. Drink water. Water is essential for many metabolic processes, including keeping muscles hydrated for energy demand. In fact, feeling fatigued is one of the first signs of dehydration. To combat fatigue, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water — not tea, coffee, or energy drinks — per day.
  7. Get moving. Exercise — even just a walk — can be a natural energy booster and can also help you sleep more soundly. Exercising also can lead to higher brain dopamine levels, which help elevate mood.

Benefits to help

Through the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), administered by Cigna, eligible employees,* their family members, and anyone who lives with them can access online resources, such as articles, online seminars, and frequently asked questions, on topics such as fatigue, resilience, napping do's and don'ts, and caffeine and depression. To access these free resources, log on to the Cigna website (one-time registration is required) and click the Work/Life Resources link on the EAP coverage page, or call the EAP at 866-640-2772. And, if you ever need someone to talk to, EAP advocates are available 24/7 by phone or live chat.

Employees and spouses with medical coverage* through the Board of Pensions can participate in Call to Health challenges and coaching programs that focus on activities that are natural energy boosters, like managing stress, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Challenges are added throughout the year, so log on to the Call to Health website frequently to check out new activities.

Still tired?

If fatigue persists for more than a couple of weeks or is beyond what is typical for your lifestyle, and you have already made changes such as rest, reducing stress, and eating right, consult your doctor. Low-energy levels could be a sign of an underlying medical issue, including hypothyroidism, anemia, or a sleep disorder.

*The EAP and Call to Health are not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan. Those enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or Medicare Supplement should consult their plan for information about benefits for behavioral health or substance use.