Ahh, caffeine. From the fresh cup first thing in the morning to an afternoon latte, for many of us, caffeine is a key part of our daily routine. And while there’s nothing wrong with coffee or other caffeinated beverages when consumed in moderation, caffeine is also a stomach irritant for many people and can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems. Luckily, there are some gentler yet highly effective strategies you can use when you need a little pick-me-up.
If you suspect that caffeine may be to blame for your diarrhea or other digestive problems, consider trying one of the alternative methods outlined below.
Grab some Kombucha Tea
Kombucha tea is a fermented tea beverage that is a wonderful source of probiotics, which can help to support a healthy gut. While some kombucha tea is caffeinated, you can also find options made with white teas that are very low in caffeine, or herbal teas that have no caffeine. Next time you feel yourself slipping into an afternoon slump, consider grabbing a kombucha tea instead of a cup of coffee.
Take a Walk
A midday break to stretch your legs can do wonders for your energy level, mood and your cognitive function. Taking a walk outdoors (or inside if it’s too cold to venture out) helps to get your blood flowing and boost your energy levels. In fact, research has shown that for some people, moderate exercise can be more effective at boosting energy levels than caffeine.
So many of us spend the day as a shallow breather, meaning our breath is mostly chest-based and doesn’t tap into the body’s natural breathing method: diaphragmatic breathing that comes from the belly. Shallow breathing means less oxygen, which results in poorer circulation and more fatigue. Deep belly breathing sends more oxygen to the cells and can make you feel more energized. If you feel like you need a pick-me-up, close your eyes and take 5-10 deep breaths. Your belly should rise on the inhale and lower on the exhale. Keep the breaths slow, long and regular.
Staying well-hydrated is key for maintaining energy levels and dehydration can quickly cause feelings of fatigue. If you have trouble remembering to drink water throughout the day, try drinking on a schedule. For example, drink a glass of water when you wake up, a glass before each meal, and a glass when you go to bed. You can also try drinking a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour or keeping a water bottle with you during the day
Enjoy a Power Nap
Many experts agree that napping is an excellent way to regain your energy and alertness. While everyone’s sleep needs are different, a 20-30 minute nap is thought to be the sweet spot. Since you won’t fall into REM sleep during a 20 minute power nap, it can help improve alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with your nighttime sleep.
The next time you find yourself feeling tired and drained, instead of reaching for caffeine, try one of these strategies to boost your energy level. At the end of the day, your body will thank you.