Coffee and Sugar out, Waterfall and Trampolines In!

by Courtney on June 30, 2010

Nearly all of us reach points in our day where we feel less focused, less energetic, and less inspired. For most of the world, those points in the day are addressed with coffee, sugar, and other stimulants and compensating habits.

Are there some healthier alternatives? Absolutely! I at least one of the below options almost every day because I, too, go through periods during where I need to do something to pick myself up and get myself energetic, focused and get my creative juice flowing again.

Here are some options:

  • The Power of Green – Chlorophyll and the color green are your best friend. The moment you feel tired, without focus, and without creative juice, down greens somehow, it will be your best bet for a pick-me-up. You can make or buy a fresh green juice or green smoothie or make or buy a shot of wheatgrass. Be sure your green juice or smoothie is as dark and potent as you can handle! If you don’t have access to fresh greens, you can also take a large scoop of some kind of low-glycemic green powder, such as Vitamineral Green (my favorite) and put it in water or in juice. I like to take a glass and squeeze half a lemon into it, put a tablespoon of powder in, and a few drops of stevia. Lastly, some kind of blue-green algae, such as E3 Live or Ocean’s Alive Marine Phytoplankton, is also great. A word on quantity: if you really need a pick up, don’t be afraid of large quantities. You might need 32 oz. of green juice. You might need a massive swig of E3 Live or 3 tablespoons of green powder. Play around with it to see what amount you need.
  • Rebounding – If you work at home or you work in an environment where you can supply yourself with a rebounder, I highly, highly recommend it. Rebounding energizes and oxygenates all the cells in your body. When I feel a lull, I go and rebound for 8 or 10 minutes (usually toting my Ipod and busting some beats), and come back totally energized and ready to dive in again.
  • Stretching – In my office, our favorite thing to do is break for ‘waterfall’, the stretch where you simply bend at the waist and let your arms, shoulders, neck and head fall limp, swaying them side to side and being sure they’re totally relaxed. Doing this for a couple minutes gets all the blood to the brain and is an awesome pick up. Even better: use an Inversion Table, where you can get your entire body upside down, completely relaxed, allowing your spine to decompress and blood to go to your brain.
  • Brain Food and Supplements – Superfoods, herbs and foods that feed the brain are very powerful for restoring focus and clarity. Ginseng, E3 Live, Gotu Kola, Marine Phytoplankton, and Gingko Biloba are great choices. I sometimes also take Omega Zen or other omega and DHA/DHEA supplements and also, sometimes amino acid supplements. If you’re a woman, you’re likely deficient in serotonin (90% of women are), so taking tryptophan or another serotonin builder may be helpful.
  • Deep Breathing – Getting oxygen to the brain is key. This is part of why rebounding works – its light exercise and it gets you oxygenated. Well, most would be surprised at how very, very deep breathing can be an incredible boost to energy and clarity. There are many methods of deep breathing you can search about on the internet, but even pausing to take 10 really long, really deep breaths into the very bottoms and all sides of your lungs, can do wonders.
  • Essential Oils and Aromatherapy – The great thing about essential oils is you can choose whatever scent will correspond to what you need. If you are stressed, perhaps you’ll want lavender or frankincense. If you’re irritable, you might choose sandalwood or sage. Scents such as peppermint and lemon are stimulating. I often switch it up depending on what I need: sometimes I need calming to help me focus again, sometimes I need stimulating to help me focus. It changes day to day, and essential oils are great to be able to adapt to you. Simply google ‘essential oils’ or ‘aromatherapy’ and whatever you want to find oils for, such as “calming” or “energizing,” and you’ll find what you need!
  • Skin Brushing – I’d only recommend this one when you desire invigoration and you’re at home, since skin brushing in a public place is kind of nasty. Vigorously skin brushing yourself for 5 or 10 minutes, until the skin is pink with circulation is amazing for energizing the body and mind.
  • Bongers – Bongers have been used in Japan for massage, but are recently coming to live food enthusiasts via David Wolfe. They are rubber balls which connect to a flexible metal shaft, with a handle on the end of the shaft. You literally hit yourself with them; which relieves muscle tension and increases circulation, and leaves one with similar feelings after getting a massage. I sometimes take a break and hit myself on the shoulders for a few minutes and feel much better.
  • Hydration – Drinking enough water is absolutely crucial to ample energy and mental focus. You should be drinking enough that you’re urinating once every 1-2 hours.
  • Non-Coffee Coffee – I have come up with a crazy awesome drink that tastes a whole lot like coffee, and is actually medicinal. Next month (stay tuned!) I will post an actual recipe, but for now I’ll describe: Mix equal parts super concentrated reishi or chaga mushroom tea with some kind of nut or seed mylk (I like coconut, brazil, and almond). Add a sweetener (low glycemic choices are stevia and xylitol, higher glycemic option would be honey). Then, other fun stuff you can throw in is maca, lucuma, cacao powder, cacao butter, vanilla powder or even a little cayenne ;) Enjoy!

Hope these help! I’d also love to know… what healthy strategies do YOU do to return focus and energy during lulls during the day?

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