13+ Ways to Boost Your Energy at Work


12 - 1 p.m.: Lunch

Tried and true: Eat away from your desk if at all possible to avoid a variety of health concerns, including serious bacteria. Nothing will sap energy like getting sick and staying in your chair all day.

Expert tip: Try to take a 20-minute walk after lunch to boost your levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, all of which will give you more energy when you return to work.

App for that? Fleetly (Free; iPhone and web browser) allows you to log any exercise and track your progress in a compelling way: you earn points for every physical activity and obtain medals for fitness milestones. Seeing those numbers surge should provide more incentive to take that post-lunch walk.

2 p.m.: Sneak a nap in

Tried and true: The prospect might sound a bit nutty, but consider this: Getting a little shuteye doesn't have to take much longer than a bathroom break or brewing a new pot of coffee.

Expert tip: According to Prevention, a mere 10 minute rest at 2 o'clock will boost your energy for the rest of the day. It's certainly worth a shot if you have a good spot available to you—try your car if there isn't vacancy in the office.

3 p.m.: Check on your eyes

Tried and true: Your eyes can get tired, too, which can make you feel bogged down. Try to stand up and take water breaks throughout the day to stay refreshed.

Expert tip: Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look at something 20 feet away from your monitor for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

App for that? Workrave (Free; Windows) and AntiRSI ($5.99; Mac) offer automated reminders to take breaks, meaning no more unhealthy work-related distractions.

4 p.m.: The home stretch!

Tried and true: There are several easy stretches you can do quickly at your desk, all of which can help you refocus on work. Men's Health offers seven, most of which can be done without leaving your chair.

Expert tip: Try an exercise like the upper cervical spine flex every time you click "reply."

5 p.m.: Wind down

Tried and true: It's not always possible to leave right when the clock strikes 5—or 6, or whatever the end of your 8-hour workday might be—but try to get as close as possible. According to one study, working overtime can take a toll on your ticker, leading to serious health problems down the line.

Expert tip: Don't rush out of the door. Instead, make sure you wind down properly: doing so will keep your energy up and spirits lifted as you head home. Have a chat with co-workers or watch a funny video before packing up.

App for that? Video Time Machine ($2.99; iPhone) puts thousands of curated videos in the palm of your hand, arranged by year and subject. Zero in on your pop culture sweet spot for an instant lift in mood.

5 - 6 p.m.: On the way home
Tried and true: This is a good time to rock out. If you're a music lover who's spent all day in relative silence, take the opportunity to pump up the volume a bit and unwind.

Expert tip: It's just as important to practice mindfulness during your evening commute as it was in the morning—think of it as an opportunity to check back in with yourself and bring the day full circle. Plus, focusing on what's going on internally can help calm you down in the often stressful rush to get home.

App for that? Pandora (Free; Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pre) is a fan favorite that provides streaming radio based on your music taste, meaning you'll discover new bands and songs as you cycle through your standbys. Spotify (Free with $9.99 subscription to Spotify Premium; iPhone, Android, Blackberry) lets you zero-in on high quality music of your own choosing, making it great for those with specific audio affinities.

9 p.m.: Before bed

Tried and true: To ensure another energized 9-5, you'll want to squeeze the most out of your nighttime shuteye. There's more to it than shooting for eight hours of rest, though. Avoid bright screens—computers, smartphones, and TV—before you go to bed.

Expert tip: Try a hot bath 30 minutes in advance, and keep a cup of water at your bedside: If you wake up feeling hot, lowering your body temperature will help you get back to sleep.

App for that? f.lux (Free; Mac, PC, Linux, iOS) makes the color of your device's screen adapt to the time of day, which gives your eyes a rest and you a better shot at sleeping well.

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