For many women, there are times when it feels like having a coffee cup permanently attached to one hand is the only way to make it through the day. Some of the world’s most successful women have lauded caffeine as their saving grace—Oprah, Katie Couric and even Ariana Grande are among coffee’s biggest fans—and studies have shown that coffee has myriad benefits, from helping people live longer to protecting brain health.
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Yet others find caffeinated beverages to be too intense, making them overly wired or anxious, and even causing insomnia if consumed too late in the day. Even those who can tolerate caffeine may want to dial their consumption back occasionally. But for those inevitable days when a pick-me-up is required, what’s a busy, on-the-go woman to do?
Here are 4 surprising — and simple — ways that successful women across various industries stay energized without coffee.
1. Getting in exercise
“My go-to energy boost is exercise. Not only does my regular practice give me energy, but when I can’t focus or feel like taking a nap, I will do something physical. Sometimes it’s a walk, sometimes it’s yoga. Occasionally, I will simply start doing squats or pushups! It is a great way to get the energy flowing and to wake up.” — Andrea Travillian, lifestyle transformation coach, Aspirify.
“The best thing to boost my energy is exercise. I can easily feel my energy levels drop if I’m not consistent with my exercise routine. I also sleep better, which makes me feel more energized throughout the day. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the motivation to get moving, but what I love about exercising is that I always feel better afterward — both physically and mentally.” — Lauren Herring, CEO, IMPACT Group.
“While I do love my Starbucks, I get the most energy after a quick workout first thing in the morning. I’ll do spinning at home or hit up the Pilates studio to stretch and practice mindfulness. Exercising allows me to boost my endorphins and clear my head. I head into work in a great mood and fully energized every day thanks to early AM exercise!” — Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com.
2. Staying hydrated
“First thing in the morning, I start my day with a cup of hot water and lemon. Why I love this as a way to wake me up is that it not only gets the digestive tract up and working — our guts are a main driver for our energy and mood — but also the brightness and tartness of the flavor of the citrus wakes up the senses.” — Allison Tibbs, certified personal trainer and healthy lifestyle coach, Allison Tibbs Wellness.
“The mid-afternoon ‘slump’ usually happens if I’ve not had enough water. I try for 80 ounces of water daily. And if I feel sleepy in the afternoon, I usually feel better if I drink 1-2 bottles of water.” — Lisa Hugh, MSHS RD LDN, registered dietitian & food sensitivity expert, Southern Maryland Dietitian.
3. Listening to upbeat music
“Music increases my energy levels entirely. I compile specific playlists according to the tasks I do each day, and listen to them for a quick energy boost both in the morning and when I reach mid-afternoon slump.” — Katie Derrick, senior content writer for Africa Travel.
“If I am putting in a 12-hour day in my office, I put my favorite music on and I am absolutely energized.” — Vanessa Valiente, personal stylist and creator of V-Style.
“Turning up the music for five minutes and dancing in place makes me smile, energizes my body and immediately shifts my mood. I also use this method when I need an extra boost of inspiration in a moment’s notice.” — Adamaris Mendoza, licensed psychotherapist, coach, speaker and CEO of Mendoza-Carlyle Group.
4. Hacking daily habits
“Stepping away from whatever I’m doing is often better than coffee. I call it ‘changing the channel.’ Sometimes we think we need caffeine, but really we’re just bored, tired or burned out on an activity. Human beings need breaks and unique stimulation. When I feel fatigued, often I just need to change the channel on my day and find a new show. Just like with streaming, the old show — the activity I was working on — will be there waiting when I’m ready to tackle it again. This keeps me excited and accomplishing more.” — Faleena Hopkins, movie director, and romance novelist.
“Having never been a coffee drinker, I turn to peppermint essential oil for a daily boost of energy. It works well for me because it’s so convenient, inexpensive and versatile. Just one drop is all you need! I love the uplifting aroma; it’s fresh, clean and invigorating. I am on the go a lot and if I feel myself starting to drag, all I have to do is reach in my purse, grab the bottle, open it up and take a few whiffs and I am good to go for a couple of hours. Sometimes I will put a drop on a cotton ball and place in my car vent — it’s great for staying awake on long drives. If working from my home office, I will place a few drops in a diffuser or rub a drop on the back of my wrists or neck to keep my energy and focus up.” —Jill Lebofsky, health coach, Midlife Mojo.
Whether you’re a coffee fanatic simply looking to change up your routine or someone who has sworn off caffeine entirely, these four simple alternatives will have you feeling energized in no time. Try them out!
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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