If you ask any busy person how he or she feels, the honest answer would often be tired. In our over-worked and over-stimulated world, it can sometimes feel like we never have enough energy to do all that we need or want to do.

It can be incredibly tempting to turn to coffee, sugar, and other chemical stimulants to help us get through the day. But chemical stimulants tax the nervous system and digestion, and actually deplete our energy reserves in the long run.

Luckily there are several natural ways to boost our energy levels, helping us be more productive throughout our days and live healthier, more balanced lives.

1. Make Sleep a Priority

One of the most sustainable ways to have energy throughout your days is to get plentiful sleep on a regular basis. When your baseline is to be well rested, it is a lot easier to navigate the daily fluctuations of life without feeling the need for stimulants. Chronically under sleeping can lower IQ levels and significantly decrease productivity.

2. Be Deeply Nourished

Our energy levels are also greatly affected by nutrition. The foods that provide quick bursts of stimulation like sugar actually deplete energy levels in the long run. To have a foundation of vitality it helps to build our diets around green vegetables and other complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and some whole fruits. These provide lasting energy reserves that fuel the brain and body.

Being nourished in other ways also energizes us. Work that inspires us, creative expression, and loving family and friends all help us have the energy we need to live at full speed.

3. Move Your Body Every Day

Frequent exercise is a crucial component of a healthy and active life. Any type of vigorous or sustained exercise can increase the bodys energy levels, boost the metabolism, and generally make us feel good.

Variety is key for maintaining interest, so find a range of activities that you enjoy. It usually works well for people to alternate between vigorous weight-bearing activities like strength training and sports, mind-body practices like yoga and qigong, and freeform movements like dancing and gardening.

4. Let Go of Your Energy Drainers

Sometimes what we choose not to do is equally as important as what we eat or how much we sleep when it comes to energy levels. Certain habitual activities, like watching movies before bed, smoking, talking to negatively focused friends, complaining about our work, or eating baked goods for breakfast, all deplete our energy levels. Think about your daily habits, and see if you can let go of the ones that seem to bring you down.

5. Choose Natural Boosters

When you feel like you truly do need a boost, choose a food or drink that will lift your energy levels in a healthy way. If at all possible, avoid coffee and sugar. But mildly caffeinated drinks like yerba mat, guayusa, and green tea are safe for most people in moderation (1 cup per day at most), and they can boost the metabolism and support digestion.

Other natural energy boosters include fruit, especially sweet water-filled fruit like melons and stone fruit, nuts and seeds, healthy fats like avocado, and leafy green veggies. Before you reach for the coffee, try having a salad with almonds, apple and avocado slices, and a tahini dressing.

More stimulating natural energy boosters can be helpful if you are really feeling tired. Ground maca root is a great addition to smoothies and cereals. The mineral supplement shilajit can be very helpful in boosting energy, and is considered a type of warrior food. Trace minerals and electrolytes help the body absorb more nutrients from the food we eat, and they support healthy cellular functioning. Certain Ayurvedic formulas raise energy levels naturally. And supplements that are high in B vitamins also increase energy levels.

6. Try Brain Hacks

You can boost energy levels by waking up the brain in a variety of ways. A more esoteric approach would be to practice yoga, deep breathing exercises, and/or meditation. All of these increase oxygen levels and mental clarity, giving you more energy in a sustainable and harmonizing way.

You can use the motivational approach by tackling a few small, achievable tasks. This will give you the boost of dopamine that comes when you accomplish a goal. Sometimes a lifehack, a little trick that makes a task easier or more efficient, can give you a boost by freeing up your energy to do other things. This could include installing an automatic irrigation system for your garden or setting up automatic bill payments through your bank.

It can be easy to feel exhausted and overwhelmed these days, and relief might look like a cup of hot, black, adrenal gland-depleting, nervous system-taxing coffee. But before you setup the cycle of stimulation and depletion, explore these methods for boosting your energy levels naturally. If you get plenty of deep sleep and eat a nourishing diet, you can occasionally boost your energy with natural supplements and be able to sail through your days with more ease and grace.