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10 Effective Ways to Have More Energy With Less Caffeine (From a Former Caffeine Addict)

10 Effective Ways to Have More Energy With Less Caffeine (From a Former Caffeine Addict)

We’ve all seen the memes about morning time and coffee, but do you really want more coffee or do you just want more energy? Believe it or not, caffeine is not a synonym for energy. There are plenty of ways to get energized with less, or no caffeine. Caffeine should be used strategically – there’s nothing strategic about drinking an entire pot of coffee every morning. I’ve been there. As a recovering caffeine addict, I know what it’s like to want more and more energy when the caffeine seems to work less and less. Enough is enough.

Here are 10 ways to get more energy with less caffeine:

1. Get Moving

more energy less caffeine

    If you’re tired, more sleep may not be the answer. Exercise may be the answer. New research shows that exercise can help fight fatigue. Patrick O’ Connor, co-director of the University of Georgia Exercise Psychology Laboratory, says:

    “A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise, but if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help.”

    Even just adding a minute workout to your morning routine can substantially boost your energy levels. If you want to incorporate a little caffeine, take a small amount just before your workout. The exercise will help to ‘activate’ the caffeine and give you even more energy.

    2. Lower Your Tolerance

    lower caffeine tolerance

      The less caffeine you consume, the more effective it is for you. Odds are, you’ve built up quite a tolerance to caffeine over the years. Try cutting back your caffeine intake to zero and then wait a few weeks before you ingest it again. You’ll be surprised at how much more effective the smallest amount of caffeine is once your tolerance for it has evened out.

      Just be sure to add it back to your life slowly or you’ll end up where you started. One study showed that caffeine tolerance can come back to the same level as it was before a caffeine hiatus in just 1-4 days if you jump right back into using the same amount as before.

      3. Change Your Mode

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      type of caffeine

        Does your caffeine come in the form of coffee, espresso, energy drinks or something else? You may be going for whatever has the most caffeine and that could be why you have an energy problem. Green tea, for example, has about 1/4 the caffeine of a cup of coffee. After the above-mentioned caffeine hiatus, you’ll be surprised at how well a little green tea works for energy. Find some new ways to caffeinate – there are literally thousands of options.

        4. Go Green

        greens for energy

          Green smoothies, green powders and green teas are just a few of the greens you need in your life. Eating and/or drinking more leafy greens in food and smoothies will seriously boost your energy levels. Many people find that green smoothies work better than a cup of coffee and you don’t have to worry about building up a tolerance. Some people actually question the benefits of green smoothies, but once you try them, you’ll understand how effective they are. There’s some controversy over green smoothies, but it really comes down to sugar content. The key ingredient in a greens smoothie should be the greens, not sugary fruit and fruit juices.

          5. Sleep More Sleep Better

          get better sleep

            You may be getting enough sleep, but are you getting good sleep? The quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount, and you may find that you can function well on less hours if quality is better. Here are a few tips to improve your sleep:

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            • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals before bed
            • Invest in a high-quality mattress and a nice pillow
            • Adjust the temperature to your liking (usually 65-70° F)
            • Avoid ‘blue light’ from electronic devices before bed
            • Exercise – more exercise will lead to better sleep

            You should also try to sleep within the confines of sleep cycles. Sleep cycles are 90 minutes, so sleeping for 6, 7.5, or 9 hours is generally more effective than sleeping for 5, 8, or 10 hours. One way to take the guesswork out of sleep cycles is to get the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock for your smartphone.

            6. Drink Water First

            drink water before coffee

              There’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee in the morning, but drink water first. If you drink an entire liter of water, you may not even need the coffee. Our bodies are dehydrated after we go all night without any fluids. This isn’t just for morning time; drinking water throughout the day will help you to stay hydrated, which leads to increased and sustained energy levels. Contrary to popular belief, a reasonable amount of caffeine doesn’t really dehydrate you and the water that makes up the majority of your coffee can count towards your daily water intake, but it only accounts for a small fraction, so keep chugging that water.

              7. Cut the Sugar

              energy drinks sugar

                When you do use caffeine, go for things like black coffee and non-sweetened tea. Sugary energy drinks and coffee drinks are great for a quick boost- but then comes the crash. The crash usually isn’t from the caffeine (though caffeine can cause a crash), it’s usually from the sugar. If you’re going to have caffeine, have it alone, without all the sugar. Some people have found that energy shots work better for them, since the amount of sugar or sugar substitute is minimal- but everyone’s body reacts differently.

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                8. Spread it Out

                spread out coffee

                  Don’t think ‘chug’, think ‘sip’. Sipping caffeine over a longer period of time can cause higher and more sustained energy levels. Often, the caffeine passes through your system before your body has a chance to react to it when you drink it quickly. Sipping also helps your body to slowly clear the caffeine out of your system, which means a crash is much less likely to occur.

                  9. Use Food for Fuel

                  food for fuel

                    Keep your diet clean and full of fruits and veggies. This will help to sustain your energy levels throughout the day, without even touching caffeine. I love food and I’m sure you do too, but every meal doesn’t have to be a celebration. When you want a nice dinner, take the time to focus on it, but for every other meal, you’re just putting fuel into your body. Separate your leisure meals and your energy meals. For example, you may want a leisurely dinner every night with your family, but for breakfast and lunch, you’re just filling up the tank, so eat food that will give you the energy you need. Think: vegetables, fruits, lean meat, nuts and occasional whole grains.

                    10. Go Natural

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                    natural caffeine

                      When you do consume caffeine, try more natural sources like Guarana. Guarana is a plant that contains naturally occurring caffeine. Coffee bean extract and green tea extract are a few more ways to naturally caffeinate. Sure, to an extent, caffeine is caffeine, but natural sources will help you eliminate the artificial sugars, preservatives and chemicals found in many drinks and pills.

                      Just remember, you don’t need caffeine, and if you think you do, you’re probably addicted and it’s not working very well anyways. There are plenty of ways to increase your energy without caffeine and there are even more ways to strategically use caffeine to your advantage. Don’t work for caffeine, make caffeine work for you.

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                      Kalen Bruce

                      Military, Writer

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                      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                      1. Work on the small tasks.

                      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                      2. Take a break from your work desk.

                      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                      3. Upgrade yourself

                      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                      4. Talk to a friend.

                      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                      7. Read a book (or blog).

                      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                      8. Have a quick nap.

                      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                      9. Remember why you are doing this.

                      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                      10. Find some competition.

                      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                      11. Go exercise.

                      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                      12. Take a good break.

                      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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