How to boost your energy levels - 5 ways to feel better in under 10 minutes

Wondering how to boost your energy levels without a cup of coffee? These microbreaks may be what you need to feel yourself again in less than 10 minutes

Woman laughing and smiling, sitting on the sofa in brightly lit room, after learning how to boost your energy levels with microbreaks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wondering how to boost your energy levels after that 3 pm slump? You're not alone. But while millions will reach for their second or third cup of coffee at this time, the experts suggest a better sleep-friendly solution: microbreaks. 

We know that taking a break is good for us, both mentally and physically, but research has also shown that mini-breathers can help our energy levels as much as longer breaks - and they can even help us learn how to sleep better when bedtime does eventually roll around. "Breaking up your day with one to ten-minute breaks from work, tasks, and always being on the go, can help relieve stress and anxiety, and overstimulation from the internet, social media and screen time," says life coach Kamran Bedi. This means we feel better throughout the day, but may also find it easier to sleep at night. 

10 minutes is all you need. Set regular alarms or add some microbreaks to your daily ‘to-do’ list – like the ones the experts have suggested below – that way, you’ll integrate them into your life. 

What are microbreaks?

Microbreaks are just that - small, uninterrupted periods where you emotionally and physically detach from whatever you are doing. They are hugely effective for those who want to boost their energy levels quickly as they give the brain a break. "We think that working through and finishing something is more important than how we’re feeling, but if we think of our brains as batteries going into low power mode as our phones do, we use less brain power, go slower and become less bright and perky," says life coach Siân Winslade

"We’ve been led to believe that multitasking is a good thing, whereas it just allows us to do two tasks at 50% capacity, doing neither of them well," she adds.

The beauty of microbreaks is that they don’t take too much time, although you’ll need to commit if you want to reap the benefits. "Returning to a simpler, slower pace of living with a ten-minute break can work wonders on your mind and body," says Bedi, who is also the author of The Anxiety Antidote. “But incorporating a microbreak into your day-to-day comes through self-awareness and self-action."

How to boost your energy levels with microbreaks

1. Drink some water

Water is the basis of life, and even mild dehydration can adversely affect our blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate, so keep drinking water throughout the day. A few sips might be all you need to get back on track.

"Keeping a bottle of water nearby helps not only with your concentration and reaction time, but improves memory and mood, and reduces headaches, tiredness and anxiety," says life coach Winslade. As much as it's the key to improving your energy levels, it can help boost your mood too. 

Take frequent small sips rather than gulping down a whole glass. This enables the body to store more water because it won’t overload the kidneys (and you’ll need the toilet less). Contrary to popular belief, the recommended two litres per day doesn’t have to come just from water – black, green or herbal teas count, as does milk (especially fat-free) and even milky coffee.

Swap your first cup of tea or coffee for a glass of water to get started on the right foot in the morning.

Woman holding yoga mat and a glass of water walking through kitchen of a brightly lit home

Small bursts of exercise and hydration are key for boosting your energy levels in the morning.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Listen to classical music

If you want to learn how to boost your energy levels in a hurry, pick up your headphones. We know that music can affect our emotional state, but certain music can actually make us think more clearly. It’s known as the Mozart Effect, and researchers found that listening to ten minutes of Mozart improved people’s spatial-temporal reasoning (the ability to organise and problem-solve). Another study by Ruhr University Bochum found that listening to Mozart for 25 minutes reduced blood pressure. 

If you’re not in the mood for classical, any music that means something to you can alter your mood. “Music is a great way to anchor particular emotions,” says life coach Zoe Thompson. “I have a playlist that’s calming and one that’s energising. Think about songs that make you feel a certain way and create your playlists – just one or two tracks in five minutes can improve your mood and boost energy levels."

3. Meditate

Sometimes, just a few minutes of alone time can be all you need to mentally regroup - and if you meditate, you’ll feel even better. "Whether you choose a guided meditation or take some time out in a quiet room, meditation can help you focus on the present and be aware of your thoughts and feelings," says life coach Zoe. "This can bring a sense of calm and improve attention and focus.” 

Some of the best meditation apps, like Headspace, include guided ‘mini’ meditations you can follow along with whenever you like, for as little as just 10 minutes.

4. Do some yoga

You don’t need to commit to doing yoga every day or even an hour's class – a few yogic breathing exercises and postures make an ideal microbreak. "Yoga is a great way to bring you into the present moment and help you focus,” says yoga teacher Danny Griffiths. "There are many variations, but a common thread is breathwork, known as pranayama. Bringing our attention to the breath and relearning to breathe slowly and fully can destress, which in turn helps with concentration and clarity. For example, alternate-nostril breathing such as nadi shodhana infuses the body with oxygen, calming and rejuvenating the nervous system.” 

You’ll also benefit from a couple of postures, so try some yoga for beginners if you're new to the practice. Balancing postures, for instance, are particularly good for concentration. “Tree pose helps ground you, enhancing stability and calming the nervous system,” says Griffiths. “Dancer’s pose is another balancing posture that helps bring you into the present. This is great for dealing with stress and anxiety, clearing the mind of useless thoughts, and improving blood circulation and endurance.”

5. Go outside

A change is as good as a rest - and even the simple action of stepping outdoors to look at a different view can do wonders. “It’s important to get outside, if only for a short period,” says Winslade. “Changing the environment allows for more stimulation of the brain and improves focus, reduces stress hormones, and improves mood.”

And while you’re outside, why not take a short walk? It doesn't have to be a full walking workout. Quick bursts of exercise, also known as exercise snacking, are one of the easiest ways to learn how to boost your energy levels. Even a quick stroll to the shops or around the garden is a microbreak well spent. "Walking raises the heart rate, therefore improving cardiovascular health, and helps you regulate deeper breathing, while the physical movement can also help release any stress or tension and re-energise you," says Thompson. “Getting outside also provides fresh air and important vitamin D exposure, which aids our sleep and immune system.”

Debra Waters

Debra Waters is an experienced online editor and lifestyle writer with a focus on health, wellbeing, beauty, food and parenting. Currently, she writes for the websites and Woman&Home and GoodtoKnow, as well as the Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman’s Weekly magazines. 

Previously, Debra was digital food editor at delicious magazine and MSN. She’s written for M&S Food, Great British Chefs, loveFOOD, What to Expect, Everyday Health and Time Out, and has had articles published in The Telegraph and The Big Issue.

With contributions from