One day I woke up and realized something. I’m tired of being tired.
It may sound cliche, but it’s true.
I was tired of the constant fatigue, the post-lunch slump, the early evenings, the eyes closing by 8 o’clock, and the inability to wake up in the mornings.
And, according to Safety and Health Magazine, I’m not alone. An estimated three out of five U.S. adults report feeling more tired now than they’ve ever been, blaming it on the additional time spent at home as a result of COVID-19 and disrupted sleep schedules.
We’re in an exhaustion epidemic, spending more time on screens and less time doing things that rejuvenate our energy levels and keep us healthy and happy.
But we don’t have to stay in that slump. Read on to discover my journey into boosting my energy for life-changing results.
Note: While this article covers several ways I rediscovered my energy, chronic fatigue can stem from a wide variety of factors— from your diet and exercise to overall lifestyle. If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue that is impacting your overall quality of life, consider seeking a medical specialist for tailored, individualized help.
How I boosted my energy naturally
Switching to Mushroom Coffee
I’m a coffee-a-day kind of girl. If I don’t have my coffee, I don’t have the energy I need to get through the day.
And yet, I found that my coffee in the morning usually gave me an initial boost, only to disappear by mid-afternoon and leave me crashing and burning.
That’s where mushroom coffee helped. With adaptogenic benefits, mushroom coffee gives me the morning boost without the afternoon slump.
Don’t let the word ‘mushroom’ fool you either. This coffee tastes just as delicious as a real cup of Joe. After wanting to try mushroom coffee for years, I finally made the switch. Almost immediately, I noticed the reduction of my typical coffee jitters and a longer, more sustained caffeine buzz.
Try it for yourself:: Four Sigmatic “Think”
Leaning Into My Chronotype
Like many others, my sleep schedule went out the window when the pandemic began and it never fully recovered.
COVID anxiety, Netflix binges, and late-night scrolling all kept me up past my bedtime and had me sleeping irregularly and inconsistently. That’s when learning my chronotype helped.
By taking a quiz to discover my own unique circadian rhythm, I was able to learn the best time to fall asleep, wake up, drink my coffee, and more.
I now sleep during my recommended hours, and find myself feeling more refreshed and alert.
Eating A Protein-Rich Diet
For non-meat eaters, getting sufficient protein can be difficult. And while protein does not offer a direct source of energy, it helps create long-lasting stamina and reduces carbohydrate crashing.
From vegan protein bars to peanut butter protein powder, I’ve shifted my diet to make protein a priority. If you’re looking to increase your plant-based protein, consider the following high-protein swaps:
- Breakfast: Swap cereal for protein overnight oats
- Add ⅓ cup oats and ¼ cup PB fit protein powder with cinnamon to taste into a sealed jar. Store overnight and enjoy in the morning.
- Total Protein: ~20 grams
- Lunch: Switch from cheap veggie burgers to high protein vegan burgers like Impossible Burger Patties
- Total Protein: ~20 grams
- Snack: Switch the chocolate bar for vegan protein bars instead
- Find the right bar for you here: Need More Protein In Your Diet? These Vegan Protein Bar Brands Can Help)
- Total Protein: ~20 grams protein
Note: For vegan and vegetarians, consider consulting your doctor to also check on B12 and iron levels in addition to adding plant-based protein. B12 deficiency and anemia can cause severe fatigue and exhaustion when they are missing in your daily diet. Adding doctor-prescribed iron and B12 along with protein has since improved my energy, immune system, and overall health.
Increasing Fiber in My Meals
While fiber may not seem directly linked with energy, it’s more relevant than you may realize. According to dietitian Linsey Klein, RD, fiber aids “in energy regulation” by keeping blood sugar levels steady and offsetting hunger for a clearer focus.
To increase daily fiber, consider adding fibrous foods such as chia seeds, beans, berries, popcorn, avocado, dried fruit, apples, and nuts to your daily meals.
Energy levels are ever-fluctuating, but that doesn’t mean low energy should get in the way of living life. Consider balancing a protein and fiber-rich diet, a healthy sleep schedule, and a consistent exercise schedule for a livelier, more vibrant you.
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Photo: Dana Drosdick