The alarm clock Monday morning is nobody's friend. That early morning blare is our final farewell to the more relaxed tempo of the weekend. But there are simple ways we can put a little spring in our step even on the days we feel dog-tired.
1. DRINK WATER
Dehydration causes fatigue, so stay hydrated to stay bright-eyed. Caffeine can jump start your motor, but you don't want to over do it. Energy drinks and coffee can give you a temporary energy boost by firing up your fight-or-flight hormones, but when they wear off, you crash. Start your day with a glass of water, enjoy your daily cup of coffee, and then switch back to water.
2. GET SOME PROTEIN
If caffeine jump starts your motor, protein keeps things on an even keel by keeping your blood sugar levels consistent. Try some of these super fast protein-packed breakfasts.
3. USE YOUR NOSE
Citrus smells can perk you up, so drop slices of grapefruit, orange, or lemon in your water (bonus: you feel like you're at a super posh spa.) Suds up your hair and bod with citrus scents in the shower, or try the get-up-and-go smell of mint, which stimulates the area of the brain responsible for arousal and can make you more alert. Pop a peppermint as you walk out the door.
4. FIRE UP YOUR IPOD
Music can sharpen our mental focus and boost our mood. Put together a soundtrack to your life that you can listen to as you get ready in the morning, drive to the office, or dance to while you're folding the laundry.
5. GET MOVING
A study from the University of George found that when sleep-deprived people exercised, their perceived level of energy increased by 20 percent and their fatigue was reduced by 65 percent. Take out the dog for a quick walk, power through some crunches and push-ups during the commercial breaks, or pop in one of our favorite workout DVDs.
6. SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO CHEER YOU
There are some people in your life who make the good times great and the bad times bearable. And we're not just talking your friends and family. Co-workers, as well as the people we interact with casually, like the mail carrier, can help boost our energy. So smile at the barista's corny joke. It might just power you through to lunch.
7. GO FOR GOOD ENOUGH
Trying to be perfect is an energy black hole. Also, it's, well, impossible. So go for good enough rather than perfect. Give a solid effort, and then move on.
8. SMELL THE ROSES
Did you need an excuse to spring for that $4 bouquet of daisies? According to Real Simple, a Harvard study showed that people who looked at fresh blooms in the morning reported higher energy levels for the rest of the day. Put a small bouquet on your bedside table, or use them to brighten up a corner of your cubicle.
9. DEAL WITH DAILY ANNOYANCES
Some of us have annoyances that we struggle with every single day. Maybe your cabinet door has fallen off its hinges, a corner of craft clutter blocks your path to the front door, or the lock sticks and you spend three minutes jiggling it, every single day. Feng shui consultant Catherine Brophy says that "these things take energy from you that you could expend on something else." Deal with the daily frustrations to free up more energy for what's important.
10. BE NICE, BE GRATEFUL
It's hard to feel stressed and burnt out when you are busy appreciating your health, your family, and your new pants found on super sale that make your bum look magnificent. Focus on the positives in your life and then spread it around. Hold open the door, smile at a stranger, tell a co-worker she looks great. It will give both of you a boost.
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