Whether you prefer coffee or soda, it might be hard to get through your day without a dose of caffeine. I can certainly sympathise. As someone who usually drinks two cups of coffee before 8 am, and sometimes another cup around mid-afternoon, I probably shouldn’t be offering advice on how to get through the workday without caffeine. However, I recognise the mistake of my way. And like so many others, I’ve cut back and replaced caffeine with decaf tea and water.
Of course, this is easier said than done. If you’re a coffee or soda addict, a day without caffeine may not bring out your best qualities. I would experience a withdrawal headache by noon; and if unable to tame the throbbing, irritability kicked in about 1 pm.
But my suffering didn’t stop here -- if only it were that simple. I’m a freelance writer by profession, and since I spend hours on the computer each day researching and writing, I need to stay sharp and alert. This is how my creative juices flow; and throughout the years, caffeine became my best friend. It provided that burst of energy I desperately needed between 2pm and 4pm.
Since the decision to kick the caffeine habit, I’ve had to discover healthier ways to keep up my energy level. And surprisingly, getting through the workday without coffee or soda was easier than I thought. Here is how to do so as well…
#1 Morning Exercise Routine
Pulling myself out of bed and exercising at 6.30 in the morning was a real struggle, but the results were sweet. People who exercise have more energy. After two weeks of a regular exercise routine, I came to believe this even stronger. It didn’t take much to notice a difference -- just 20 to 30 minutes a day. Not only did I find it easier to wake up each morning, I now wake up before the alarm. And whereas I would normally hit burnout around 2 pm -- at which time I would need a caffeine fix -- I find that I’m more alert and energetic throughout the day.
#2 Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Routine
Adopting healthy eating habits throughout the day is another way to keep your energy level up during the day sans caffeine. Well, this is something that I’m working on. My lunch routine has improved, but I often lose my appetite when I’m in a work zone, and I’ll sometimes work through lunch and go five hours between meals.
This routine is an energy killer, and without enough calories and nutrients during the day, you’re likely to hit a midday slump. To get through your day without caffeine, don’t skip breakfast or lunch. Eat a small healthy snack (crackers, nuts, fruits) two hours after breakfast or lunch for a quick burst of energy. Also, don’t eat a heavy, carb-rich lunch. A combination of carbs and protein can maximise your energy and fight sluggishness.
"A small turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, a cup of low-fat yogurt, and fruit is more energizing than a plate of spaghetti," says Elizabeth Somer, a registered dietician and author of “Food & Mood: The Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best”.
#3 Switch out Your Office Chair
An ergonomic chair does more than improve your posture and reduce back, neck, and shoulder pain -- these chairs can boost energy levels.
This might seem a bit far-fetched. However, "slouching forces your muscles to work hard to hold you up, making you even more fatigued." Good posture, on the other hand, decreases pressure on ligaments, joints and muscles. As a result, your body uses less energy.
#4 Walk on Your Lunch Break
Spend half of your lunch break eating, and the other half walking or stretching. If you’re stuck in a cubicle or office without windows, lack of natural light can zap your energy. Light exercise is a natural energy booster and sunlight increases alertness. Take a 10 to 15-minute walk around the block before heading back to your desk.
Do you have trouble staying alert or energized during the day? Other than caffeine, how do you keep up your energy level? Please tell us in the comments below…