What are the secrets to enjoying each day to the fullest—and with the most energy you can muster? We polled the experts for some quick, easy, energy-boosting tips that can help you and your family make the most of each day.
Try a little mini-yoga together. As soon as everyone gets up and out of bed, gather the family together to greet the new day. Edward Vilga, a leading New York City yoga teacher and author of Yoga in Bed and Yoga for Suits (both Running Press), suggests a simple stretch like slowly reaching for your toes. (If your hamstrings are tight, just bend your knees a little.) Everyone will experience a lengthening of the spine, a release of the lower back and a gentle flow of fresh blood to the brain. To make it more fun, have young kids swing their arms like elephant trunks.
Eat right. Try to make breakfast a family meal at home. Be sure it has some protein going for it (yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, eggs), whole grains (cereal and bread) and fruit. Unlike donuts and pastries, a healthy, low-fat meal won’t bring on an energy crash as the morning wears on.
Buy blooms. Or grow them in your own home garden. A study at Harvard Medical School shows that flowers not only make a room look prettier but also lift the mood of everyone around.
Be a flirt. Sit back in your favorite chair and flutter your eyelashes for three seconds, and then blink three times. You’ll get an energy boost thanks to a brain reflex that the light-to-dark sequence sets off, says Kay Porter, PhD, author of The Mental Athlete (Human Kinetics Publishers).
Snack healthy. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter so every member of the family can grab an apple, pear or banana instead of a cookie for a snack. You’ll enjoy a burst of energy that doesn’t create a crash later on (just the opposite effect of sugary snacks!). Plus fruit requires no preparation or cleanup and is easy to eat on the go.
Take a deep breath. That age-old adage still holds true. Jeffrey Brantley, MD, an author and founder/director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, says to take a few deep breaths when you feel your energy level dropping. Stop what you are doing and pay attention to your breath moving in and out of your body. By taking time to pause instead of rushing, hurrying and worrying, you give yourself a chance to rest and recharge.
Get into togetherness…and the great outdoors.
Studies at Santa Clara University in California show that the energizing effect of exercise is boosted when done with a partner. Ditto when exercise occurs outdoors. You might get more out of raking leaves with your kids in your own backyard than jogging on a treadmill. And you can make it fun for your kids by racing to see who can bag the most leaves in 15 minutes.
Break up the routine. Another way to get out of an energy-zapping rut is by having family members do things they don’t usually do. If your daughter normally sets the table and your son makes the salad, have them switch tasks.
Lastly, think positively. Encourage everyone in your family to end each day recalling something good each one did, no matter how small, or something he or she was grateful for that day.