5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

After a week or so of relaxing with family, enjoying time unplugged and away from work or school, it can be challenging to suddenly jump into the swing of a new year. Especially if you're like me and don't like coffee or caffeinated tea! So what's a grad student to do besides research how to increase energy naturally - and add a few new foods that increase energy to my usual gluten free diet?

Today, I'm rounding up the five research-backed tips I'm using to boost my energy levels as I start another semester of grad school and teaching. Whether you're looking for a quick energy boost, are curious about which foods increase energy or just want to feel your best in 2018, these tips are exactly what you need to take the first week of January by storm.

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

So let's dive on in...

1. Walk it (AKA, mental and physical fatigue) off.

One of my favorite ways to naturally boost my energy levels during long days of work is taking a walk. When I'm spending most of the day blogging, grading papers or working on my computer, a mid-afternoon walk keeps my muscles from tensing up and lets me get a hit of fresh air. If you work in an office, try taking a stroll during your lunch hour or have a phone meeting while enjoying some rays outside. If you're a student like me, take longer routes from one class to the other, or catch up with friends by taking a walk together between classes.

Research has found that taking even a 10-minute walk can boost people's energy levels for two hours after the walk ends. If you turn a short walk into a habit for at least three weeks, researchers also reported that people's overall energy levels and mood got a boost. Now I know why short (or long) walks are some of my favorite activities!

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

2. Make sure your cup (of water) is full!

As I've shared before, hydration and I are very good friends. Because of certain medications I take for my fibromyalgia, I have dry mouth and rarely go anywhere without a water bottle in hand. My digestion is also a lot happier when I start my day out with a lot of water (including a mug of warm water with squeezed lemon and a little apple cider vinegar).

While you've probably heard of the importance of staying hydrated before, though, you may be like me and have not realized that water is a natural energy booster. In fact, feeling extra tired is one symptom of dehydration. Personally, using a water filter (like this one) and eating water-rich meals like homemade soup or hydrating foods like watermelon, lettuce and berries helps me make sure I'm getting plenty of liquids. So, if you feel like you're dragging this January and need a quick energy boost, maybe keeping a full water bottle nearby is an easy answer.

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

3. Unplug from all of your gadgets for at least a few hours (or even a whole day).

As a blogger, it often feels nearly impossible to not have some gadget within reach almost 24 hours a day. If I'm not writing blog posts, I'm researching for them, promoting them or managing related social media channels. (Any fellow Instagram addicts out there?). As I discovered last year, though, taking some time - even a whole weekend - to unplug from social media can make a big difference in your mental and physical energy levels.

Why? Well, I'm no researcher, but as someone who uses social media a lot, I can attest to the fact that constantly keeping up with others online can be mentally draining. It's also no secret that technology can mess with people's sleep schedules...which means a bigger need for energy boosters the next day. Even ebooks can be problematic, with one study finding that people who read an ebook versus a traditional paper book before bed took longer to fall asleep and felt more tired in the morning.

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

If you're still shopping for a 2018 New Year's Resolution, perhaps cutting down on your social media use or going technology free one day a week can give you the exact energy boost you're craving...

4. Give yourself a mental vacation - even if it's only five minutes long.

If I had to sum up all of the (awesome) advice I got in 2016 using only one word, it would be "mindfulness." My physical therapist encouraged me to be more mindful when exercising in order to avoid injury. My dad encouraged me to be mindful during my first semester of grad school, and remember to enjoy as much of the experience as I could. And you can hardly log onto Instagram or Facebook without seeing some colorful meme encouraging more "mindful eating," "mindful living" or just plain "mindfulness."

Although "mindfulness" might be one of 2017's buzzwords, that doesn't mean mindfulness isn't part of a healthy life. In fact, mindfulness - at least in terms of giving your brain a break - might be an easy way to boost energy. Why? Well, various studies have linked high levels of stress with low levels of energy. Since mindful meditation has been shown to help those feeling stressed or anxious, maybe a five-minute "brain break" featuring deep breathing, yoga or soft music would be a better option for an energy boost than a cup of coffee or an energy drink.

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

5. Upgrade your nutrition plan.

You've probably heard the old saying, "You are what you eat." Well, if you're trying to learn how to increase energy naturally, foods (especially these edible energy boosters!) can play an important role. Chia seeds have recently been thrust into the spotlight as energy boosting superfoods, thanks to their high amount of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. I can't say that chia seeds have turned me into an energizer bunny...but they sure are delicious in recipes like chia seed pudding, chocolate superfood smoothie bowls and pumpkin spice quinoa flakes porridge.

Even more recently, I've added another kind of food to boost energy to my gluten free diet: Better Than Coffee Bars. When BTC reached out and asked if I'd like to try their energy-boosting gluten free snack bars (in return for possibly talking about BTC on my blog/social channels <-- yay, full disclosure!), I thought about my crazy second semester of grad school and replied a big Y-E-S. Better Than Coffee Bars are gluten free, vegan, soy free, kosher, nut free (except for coconut), low sodium and GMO free. Plus, they get their energy boost powers from South American plants, maca and guarana.

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

Since I don't consume caffeine regularly and each BTC bar contains 100mg of caffeine, I've enjoyed chowing down on small pieces of a BTC bar along with my mid-morning snack. Better Than Coffee Bars come in four flavors, and, so far, the Dark Chocolate-Coconut is my favorite. The dark chocolate and guarana give the bar a slightly bitter flavor, which is offset well by the shredded coconut. I also like that the bars are full of pieces of seeds, making for a crunchy bite. Do these bars really boost energy levels? I can't say for sure. If I ate a full bar (or the half of a bar that BTC recommends people start with), I'm sure the caffeine would have me jumping, for better or worse.  For now, though, I'm enjoying Better Than Coffee Bars as a tasty gluten free snack to fuel me through the rest of my day...and that's enough of an energy boost for me!

How to Increase Energy Naturally: The Bottom Line

The more I've researched and the more energy boosters I've tried, the more I've decided that the quest for increased energy levels is a lot like the quest for any other aspects of healthy living: it requires discipline and finding the schedule and diet that works for you. Maybe that means you enjoy a cup (or several) of coffee or tea every day. Or maybe that means you experiment with other activities or foods to increase energy, from going for afternoon walks to snacking on chia seeds or Better Than Coffee Bars.

How To Increase Energy Naturally: 5 Easy Energy Boosting (Coffee Free!) Tricks for the New Year

If you take anything away from this post, I hope it's that energy boosters differ for everyone and what works for me may not work for you. However, you may never know what can increase your energy until you try unplugging from your electronics for a day or drinking extra water - and there's no better time to experiment with new healthy habits than the start of 2018.

And if you learn any other energy booster secrets along the way...well, let's just say that your favorite gluten free college celiac is always open to more ideas!


*I received samples of Better Than Coffee Bars for no charge in exchange for editorial consideration. However, all opinions and photos are my own, I was not paid for this post, and I only share gluten free products that I sincerely enjoy. If you do decide to try Better Than Coffee Bars, visit their website and read their full disclaimer about the effects of these bars on different individuals, etc. Thank you for supporting what supports Casey the College Celiac!*


What's your favorite way to boost your energy levels? Are you a coffee or tea fan? Tell me in the comments!

Comments

  1. I am in love with your water bottle!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's actually a friend's but I love it too! :D

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  2. These are all great tips for every one to use! A lovely post! happy Healthy 2018!!!

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  3. Thanks for introduce these easy energy-boost tips. These all are natural and cost effective. We all know the importance of nutrition for healthy life. I tried to search knowledge on this topic from last few weeks and your blog really helps me to find a best and natural way for gaining energy . Thanks & keep posting.

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