14 Natural Energy Boosters
Give Your Rooms a Paint-Lift
Accent your walls with a new color and your energy levels will rise, says Julie Edelman, author of The Ultimate Accidental Housewife: Your Guide to a Clean-Enough House. If you don't want to paint an entire room, paint just your ceiling. A bird's-egg blue simulates the spring sky and brings the cheery outside in.
Make Chores a Workout
Need to clean that top shelf? Leave your stool where it is and carefully balance on your tiptoes, working your calves as you lengthen through your legs, says Sara Haley, a personal trainer and Reebok Global Instructor. Turn picking up the floor into an opportunity to do push-ups. "Every chance you get, lift your knees up off the floor so that you look like you're about to get into a push-up position," she says. Then hold it. Want a bigger challenge? See if you can scrub with one hand while staying in position. Even if this "kitchen" workout simply makes you laugh, you'll feel more energized from taking a break.
Let the Sun Shine In
Studies show that a mere 20 minutes a day of sunshine can do wonders to boost your energy—and mood. "And who doesn't need an excuse to pull up a chair to a window and start basking?" Edelman says.
Tidy Your Desk
Clutter can sap the energy right out of you! Tackling one project, like your desk, can make you feel better, says Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D., a memory and brain-health expert. "To begin, clear everything from your desk and dust and clean the surface," she says. "Now be thoughtful about what you put back and where you put it. Keeping items to a minimum will boost your attention for the items that remain there."
See Red (and Wear It Too)
The colors around you (or on you) definitely affect how you feel. Tap into red, a very powerful color, to help you exude confidence. Seek out orange for its playful, high-energy qualities. "If you like wearing all-black, consider accenting your outfit in these colors," says Edelman. Think red handbag or tangerine-orange necklace. Instant pick-me-up!
Purge the Pantry
The mere act of cleaning out your kitchen cupboards and pantry will boost your energy. Be sure to toss everything that has expired and give away items that you won't use. Organize as you go by placing opened staples like flour and rice in glass, metal, or plastic storage containers, which can help prevent how quickly the foods deteriorate.
"After you've completed your pantry cleanup, you'll have more room for healthy staples like dried or canned beans, low-sodium soups or broths, whole-grain cereals, and spices to add flavor to your meals," says Molly Morgan, R.D., author of The Skinny Rules. "Moving forward, when you add new foods to your pantry, use a permanent marker or label and mark the date the food was added to your cupboard. This way it'll be easy to know which foods should be used first."
Think Positive Thoughts
"Scientists have proven that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, and the vast majority of those are negative," says Brant Secunda, a body-spirit health expert and co-author of Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You. "What negative thinking does is rob us of energy," he says. The solution: Every time you catch yourself thinking negatively, remind yourself to live with the opposite quality. "Replace 'I can't' with 'I can.' Make that shift over and over for one week until you begin to see more and more time pass between negative thoughts," Secunda says. Then, watch how much more energy you have.
Wake Up Your Skin
To help remove dead skin and surface impurities, exfoliate weekly and reveal glowing skin. Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home, makes this natural exfoliant at home: Mix together 1 cup of raw sugar, 1/4 cup of light oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Massage the combination over your body and rinse well. You'll be invigorated and your skin will look great.
Shop the Farmers' Market
Find your local market and pick bright colored produce for a fresh-from-the-farm meal, says Rosemary Devlin, founder of o2 Living, a lifestyle and wellness community in Cross River, New York. Reach for strawberries, which contain 130 percent of your daily requirements for energizing vitamin C in just one cup. "Shopping for produce at a local farmers' market means you're making a low impact on the environment," she says. "Eating locally is what our bodies are meant to do—we're designed to eat seasonally and locally. Our bodies take to these types of foods best." What could be more invigorating than doing good for the earth while you eat well?
Being in nature is one of those things that can make us feel happier, calmer, and more energetic all at once, studies show. "For one week, make a conscious effort to spend at least 30 minutes outside," says Mark Allen, a body-spirit health expert and co-author of Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You. "It can be a walk or play or a few moments on your deck watching the sunset or looking at the stars. After just one week, you will feel significantly less stressed, more connected and more energetic than you did a week before."
Change It Up
Drive a different route to work, take your shower before breakfast if you usually take it after, get a new hairstyle, reverse the order of your workout or what days you do what type of exercise. "Let yourself be surprised," says Anne Parker, a wellness counselor at Miraval, a spa in Tucson. Not only will you feel refreshed, but studies show changing your routine makes you smarter, too.
Plant a Garden (or Visit One)
Communing with nature is a proven stress-reducer. Less stress equals more energy. Plant something (even a window box garden counts) or visit a public garden.
Have an Adventure
A new adventure can get the adrenaline pumping. Plan something as simple as going to a restaurant you've never been to, watching a movie you've never seen or putting together a new outfit with a different combination of clothes you already own, says Parker.
Strike a Pose
To increase your energy and whittle your middle, try yoga, says Sadie Nardini, an instructor in New York City. Her favorite energizing pose is Twists of Fire: Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees as if you're sitting in an invisible chair. Make sure your feet are planted evenly from ball to heel and lift your lower belly to support your lower back. Reach your hands straight up on an inhale. Exhale, bring your hands together at your chest and twist, touching your right elbow to your left knee. Stay here for one breath. Then, on an inhale, reach up. Repeat the twist to the left on your next exhale. If you're just starting: Bend your knees less to lighten the pose. When you're done, fold forward, relaxing over your legs like a rag doll for five breaths, with your arms dangling to the floor. Slowly roll up and enjoy the new energetic you.