It’s the first thing we think about when we wake up, and it seems like the only thing that gets us through the day: coffee.
We revere it as the magical elixir for energy, but there are, in fact, better ways to power through the day. What if there was a healthier and even more effective way to wake up in the morning? Before you reach for your first cup of joe tomorrow, try one of these eight morning moves to energize you sans caffeine.
1. Yoga And/Or Meditate
One of our most popular articles of all time is this 15-minute yoga routine that is better than coffee (it seems like a lot of you struggle in the morning!). By improving your blood flow as well as focusing on your mental state, yoga counteracts the anxiety and addictiveness of caffeine, while giving you a boost of energy. Plus, morning stretches are a great way to get limber and open yourself up for what the day holds in store.
2. Break A Sweat
It may be the last thing you want to do with the alarm goes off, but working out in the morning will give you lasting energy all day — plus, it’s one easy thing to check off your to-do list before heading into the office. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that can boost mood and energy levels for hours after the workout is over. Morning workouts also set your sleep cycle, giving you energy when you need it (in the AM), which allows you to wind down before bed. Working out at night can have negative effects for some people, getting your adrenaline pumping too late it the day and making it difficult to doze off. You don’t have to get in a full-body weight training session, either; simply go for a short run or do a quick HIIT workout from home to get your blood pumping.
3. Take A Cool Shower
Hot showers, steam rooms and saunas relax you. When you step out of a warm shower into cooler air, your body temperature drops, leaving you feeling sleepy and relaxed. Cold showers have the opposite effect, making you feel alert and invigorated. That’s because cool water stimulates adrenaline secretion in the brain, which not only gives you a jolt of energy, but improves your mood and gets your metabolism going. You don’t have to start your shower freezing cold to get the benefits, but gradually taper off to cooler temperatures before stepping out to get dressed — or simply splash your face with cold water in the morning to get the same effect.
4. Eat A Hearty, Balanced Breakfast
Food is fuel for your body, and the most important fill-up of the day is breakfast. Not only does it rev up your metabolism from its overnight slumber, but it also dictates your energy levels all day long. No matter what you choose, make sure your breakfast contains protein and complex carbohydrates to allow your brain to concentrate and focus, as well as control your appetite until lunch time.
5. Get Outside
A morning workout outside is just what the doctor ordered, but even if you aren’t a morning fitness buff (or it’s too cold out to get a real workout in), make it a daily habit to get outside for at least a few minutes every morning. All living things, including humans, respond to sunlight. Natural sunlight awakens your internal clock better than artificial light, plus, morning sun is linked with better moods, and bright sun rays can boost seratonin levels. It might even help you be more productive during your work day: looking out on to a wide landscape causes the brain to perceive expansiveness, open mindedness and creativity.
6. Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day
If you’re always waking up at different times, your body may struggle to adjust to a natural sleep pattern. You’ll always feel foggy, as if you were just shaken awake from a deep sleep. Set your alarm for a time that works for your schedule and leave it for all seven days of the week (yes, even Sundays!). Eventually, your body will fall into a routine and adjust, and you can finally retire your snooze button.
7. Take A Whiff
Essential oils like citrus, peppermint and jasmine are known to immediately increase alertness. Keep your favorite essential oils next to your bed and rub some on your hands, temples and the area under your nose for a quick morning pick me up. For a more subtle, all-day scent, use citrus and lavender scented lotion, bath gel, perfume or body spray.
8. Try An Herbal Or Green Tea
If you just can’t give up sipping from a warm mug in the morning, try swapping your coffee for herbal or green tea. While green tea does contain some caffeine, it has considerably less than coffee, while offering other benefits like lowering blood sugar and boosting your immune system.