Need to add a little pep to your step? There are dozens of things that you could try — some of which you might never have thought of. Consider these, which target each of your five senses.
Taste: magnesium. If your magnesium level is low, your body needs to work harder to do the most basic tasks, which can make you feel tired. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men. One way to get more magnesium is to eat a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews.
Smell: peppermint. In a study at Wheeling University in West Virginia, peppermint vapors gave college basketball players more motivation, energy, speed and confidence. Some athletes use peppermint inhalers, and Reebok has even built a peppermint smell into some of their sports bras.
Hear: upbeat music. It will boost your energy.
Feel: The wind in your hair and sunshine on your face. In studies at California State University, a brisk 10-minute walk increased energy, and the effects lasted for an incredible two hours. When the study participants walked just 10 minutes a day for three weeks, their overall energy and mood were both boosted.
See: photos of your family or your "happy place" (or, better yet, your family in your happy place). If you have a favorite photo of your family in your favorite place, such as your kids at Walt Disney World, put it on your desk. Just looking at a photo can transport you to that happy time and place, boosting your energy and your spirits.
Here's what our Mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — do to boost their own energy.
"As part of my prayers each night before bed, I pray to have enough energy the next day to get through the day and to feel good," says Kristin Lyle, M.D., a mom of three daughters and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
"Spending time with my friends boosts my energy," says Katherine Dee, M.D., a mom of three and owner of Glow Medispa in Seattle. "I try to schedule social events into my week to get an energy boost. Of course, that's what extroverts do! For introverts, that might have the opposite effect."
"I'm a very optimistic person, and I think that keeps my energy high," says Heather Orman-Lubell, M.D., a mom of two sons and a pediatrician in private practice at Yardley Pediatrics of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Pennsylvania. "Also, when I take good care of myself — by eating better, exercising and sleeping enough — I feel better."
"Exercise helps wake me up in the morning," says Antoinette Cheney, D.O., a mom of a son and a daughter and a family physician with Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colorado. "If I don't work out, I feel sluggish the rest of the day. But I'm not going to lie. I use caffeine when I have to! Ironically, I didn't drink coffee in medical school, not until I became a mom. I'm a better mom some days with caffeine."
"When I'm tired, I try to change my environment, even if it's only for 10 or 15 minutes," says Edna Ma, M.D., a mom of two, an anesthesiologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, California, and author of the bilingual Chinese children's book "Travel, Learn and See." "I find that if I've been doing something for a long time, such as sitting at the computer, I feel like I'm in a rut, but if I go do something else, it's very energizing."
"One thing that helps to keep my energy levels high is moving constantly," says Susan Besser, M.D., a mom of six grown children, a grandmom of nine and a family physician with Mercy Medical Center/Mercy Personal Physicians in Baltimore.
"I work in an urgent care center, and I move around all day. If I had a job where I sat a lot, I'd have to get up and move frequently to keep from getting sluggish."
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.