I hate coffee and I never get enough restful sleep. That’s a bad combination, right? Yes, yes it is. But it’s not a damning one, because there are alternative ways to cope that won’t end with you getting hit on by a creepy barista. Here are some java-free ways I manage to get through a long day.
1. Wash your face as soon as you wake up. Listen, I don’t know if there’s actually science behind this one, but I can tell you from years of personal experience that if I don’t at least splash some water on my mug when I first get out of bed, I will be a zombie for the rest of the day. I don’t know why, but it just makes me feel better and more prepared to get out the door. Bonus points for cold water!
2. Switch to tea. Yeah, this one is sort of cheating—there’s still caffeine involved, but it’s actually probably healthier for you. Drinking tea, especially matcha green tea, ups your antioxidant intake, and matcha green tea in particular will give you a boost of energy without jitters, because it also releases dopamine and serotonin, which make you feel relaxed, calm, and focused.
3. Eat fruit. An apple can tide you over as well as a cup of coffee can without the drawbacks of keeping you up all night or potentially upsetting your stomach.
4. Go for a walk. Even if it’s just the perimeter of your building, getting some fresh air and vitamin D will probably make you feel better than having to listen to Carl from payroll droning over your Flavia machine in the cafeteria.
5. Inhale some good stuff. Sorry potheads, this isn’t about that kind of stuff. Certain aromas, especially citrus, peppermint, and basil, can energize you—and the bonus of peppermint and basil? They also ward off mosquitoes and can jog your memory ahead of a meeting. Keep a plant at your desk or just get a perfume with those notes (but avoid using too much of it).
6. Listen to uptempo music. I will never need coffee as long as songs like this exist.
7. Give a compliment. Being nice makes you feel good. When you feel good, you’re less likely to slump over your desk at 3 PM and start drooling into your keyboard.