It’s 3PM.  Lunchtime is long gone.  Your eyes are starting to glaze over.  You feel antsy, yet tired.  It’s becoming difficult to concentrate on your work and productivity is plummeting.  There’s still work to be done, but you just can’t muster the energy to perform your best.  What do you do?

Fear not!  There  are more solutions than merely running to the coffee pot!  Let’s take a look at 8 things we can do to immediately restore your energy and vitality…

1) Do a simple stretching routine

All you need  is a small clear space about the size of a yoga mat.  A stretching routine has numerous benefits.  It gets you out of that crippling desk posture, lengthening the muscles that get short and tight from sitting.  It will get your heart beating a little faster, giving your limbs and brain a fresh supply of oxygenated blood.  

No equipment is necessary, just put together a series of stretches that you enjoy.  Give these a try and feel free to do them several times throughout the day!

2) Give yourself a foot massage

I got this idea from my good friend Coach Jim Shortz.  Most of us wear shoes throughout the day.  Unless you have a contract with Nike, your shoes won’t be perfectly molded to your feet.  Keeping our feet in an unnatural position can have subtle effects on our energy (and if done long term can actually change the shape of our foot! (pic).

Although I don’t have a great scientific explanation for this, taking off your shoes and giving yourself a foot massage can relax you and improve the flow of energy.  Here’s a great little foot massage tutorial (video)

3) Take a cold shower

You might have shivered a bit just reading this one but I promise, those 30 seconds of frigid torture will have you feeling like you plugged yourself into the wall socket!  This might not be an option if you’re in the office, but if you’re home or have access to a shower, gather your courage and give it a try.  Personally, I’ll take a minute or two under some warm water before I turn the dial far into the blue.  

Embrace the rush, dry yourself off and go back to work feeling energized…and clean!

4) Climb some stairs

If you’re having a busy day with no time to exercise, this one will be doubly useful.  You can get a mini workout as you wake yourself up!  Climbing flights of stairs is excellent exercise giving both your legs and heart a challenge. This one works whether you have 100 floors in your building or just 1 (just repeat up and down).  Try a few flights when you’re feeling stagnant.  For a real challenge, time yourself 3, 4, or 5 min and see how many flights you can do.  Then next time try and top your total!

5) Do a breathing exercise

Take a few minutes to focus on the thing your body needs most.  Air!  When we are feeling stressed, our breathing tends to become shallow and high in the chest.  We can’t put forth our best work if we’re depriving our bodies of this vitally important element.  Take a moment, stand up and place a palm just below your navel.  Focus on the rise and fall of that hand on the inhale and exhale.  You can continue doing this standing or come back to your seat for some relaxed breathing.  

Check this short guide out for more detail.

6) Play a song and boogie down

If you’re like me, you’ve had a few days here and there where you got up on the wrong side of the bed and ate a big bowl of Crabby-O’s for breakfast.  An impromptu boogie down can boost your mood and turn around your day.  Grab your favorite tape, record, CD or ipod, press play and get your groove on!  You can do it in a secluded spot if you’re shy or get a few people to join in.  Co workers may chuckle, but you’ll be the one refreshed and productive!  Here are a few of my go to songs:

Dancing Machine- Jackson 5

Apache- Sugar Hill Gang

Don’t Sweat the Technique- Rakim and Eric B.

7) Play a game like trashcan basketball 

Channel your inner 10 year old and get creative with a fun little game.  Try an make it a $0 budget activity and get creative.  If you want to up the anti, grab a friend and have a little ongoing competition.  Here are a few ideas:

Trashcan basketball

Rubber band target shooting

Paper football


Putt Putt golf into an empty cup

8) Get some fresh air (sunlight, barefoot, combine with stretching)

There’s a reason why people feel so energized and ‘clear’ after a walk, hike or camping trip.  Being out in nature has a relaxing and grounding effect on us.  We spent tens of thousands of years being surrounded by nature.  Until about 100 years ago, most of our homes and shelters were part of a natural environment.  There is something magical about trees, grass, dirt and fresh air.  Take a step outside and you’ll instantly feel better.

Combinations:  Each of the above is great on its own, but also feel free to put together your own combinations!  Try a foot massage followed by a stretching routine.  Do a breathing exercise outdoors.  

Next time you’re feeling like a little pick-me-up, one a try and go back to work firing on all cylinders!