Feeling Drained? 9 Proven Tricks to Boost Energy Naturally

We all know that exercising and getting enough sleep can keep you energized throughout the day, but sometimes you just need a fast energy boost. If you're about to complain about how exhausted you are (again), try one of these science-backed energizing tactics to get you going.

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Space out

You might think multitasking will help you tackle your to-do list faster, but taking a few minutes to drift into space can actually do wonders for your energy level, according to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. “Shifting into a place that feels good through spacing out will then get you back in touch with your intuition, and you will be much more efficient,” he says. So take a quick pause to daydream, chat up a friend or coworker, or make a cup of tea that matches your mood.

Full length side view portrait of smiling young black woman walking outdoors with mobile phone

Go for a quick walk

Step away from the vending machine and take a stroll around the block instead. California State University scientists found that a brisk 10-minute walk increases your energy levels and sustains it for two hours. For an even bigger boost, take the stairs. A study published in the Physiology & Behavior, found that stair walking provided more energy than low dose caffeine in sleep-deprived young women. Check out these other health benefits of walking.

Woman holding a glass of the water

Drink a glass of water

According to research at Tufts University, even mild dehydration reduces concentration and brings down your mood. In fact, fatigue is one of the first signs your body is running low on fluid.  “If you’re dehydrated, you cannot efficiently get nutrients to your tissues or wash away toxins in the body,” explains Dr. Teitelbaum. If you’re tired, he recommends drinking 12 ounces of cold water. “You’ll often find your energy improves markedly within a few minutes, which tells you that you’re dehydrated,” he adds. Extra points for drinking lemon water.

keep holiday pounds off apple peanut butter

Eat an energizing snack

Look for a healthy bite that combines protein with complex carbohydrates, such as a hard-boiled egg with whole wheat toast, cheese on multi-grain crackers, or an apple with peanut butter. “Complex carbohydrates get digested more slowly, still giving you rapid energy by raising sugar, but not high enough to cause the rebound effect,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. “The protein then maintains blood sugar over several hours, making this an excellent combination for energy.” Try these healthy snack ideas that also curb cravings. Also, try eating these high-energy foods to beat the afternoon slump.

Red beans in wooden on wood background
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Stick with a high-fiber diet

Low energy is just one of the signs you’re not eating enough fiber. That’s because the body digests fiber more slowly, which can provide a longer-lasting energy supply during the day. The good news is there are plenty of ways to sneak more fiber in your diet without even trying.

Pumpkin seeds in wooden bowl and spoon, top view

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over your meals

They contain a lot of magnesium, and research shows that too little of the mineral can sap your energy. (Be on the lookout for other signs of a magnesium deficiency.) Almonds, cashews, halibut, spinach, and soybeans are other good sources of magnesium. Making this important mineral a regular in your meals can also transform your fitness routine.

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Take up meditation

Want help getting a better handle on stress while feeling more energized overall? Try meditation, which helps disconnects us from our negative thoughts so we can shift back into positive feelings that allow our energy to flow, explains Dr. Teitelbaum. If you’re new to meditation, start simple with these morning mindfulness exercises.

Aachen/ Germany - 07.12.2018: Coffee cup and coffee beans on wooden table
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Lay off the coffee

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system for that quick pick-me-up we want (or need) in the morning. But that burst of energy can actually trigger anxiety attacks, leaving you with unhealthy stress that drains energy. More than 200 or 300 mg (two to three cups) a day can work against you in other ways by causing jitteriness, digestive problems, and headaches—all signs you’re drinking too much coffee. Consuming caffeine too late in the day can prevent a good night’s sleep.


Pump up your playlist

You know the right tunes can invigorate your workout, but certain music can also boost your focus during everyday tasks. Research has shown that background music without lyrics (like video game soundtracks) may help workers focus, boosting happiness and productivity. Browse for stations that play instrumental pop, rock, romance, or country to see which ones your brain likes best. For more tips, check out these life-changing natural energy boosters.

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  • CSULB: "Walk Your Way to More Energy."
  • Physiology & Behavior: "Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep-deprived young women."
  • Psychiatry Research: "Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density."
Medically reviewed by Susan E. Spratt, MD, on August 31, 2019
Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest