10 Ways to Go From Tired to Terrific

2. Get pumped with protein
Unless you plan to run a mar­athon, carbo-loading for energy is out. Instead, eat protein to increase mental alertness and energy, says Debra Hollon, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Protein contains tyrosine, an amino acid that elevates the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. It increases satiety too. And when you feel fuller, youre not apt to overdo the breads and sweets that induce roller-coaster highs and lows.

Eat plant- and animal-based protein throughout the day—an egg or high-protein cereal for breakfast, 10 almonds midmorning, a cup of low-sugar yogurt in the afternoon—and your stamina should stabilize.

3. Lend a hand
Research shows that you get a “helpers high,” a rush of endorphins that lasts for hours, when you volunteer, says Kimberly Kingsley, author of The Energy Cure: How to Recharge Your Life 30 Seconds at a Time. You dont have to look far to help out, she says. “There may be a single mom in your family who needs a babysitter or a lonely neighbor whod love to chat.”

Judith Orloff, MD, a Los Angeles–based psychiatrist and author of Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear, agrees, and she often folds anonymous good deeds into her day. During her morning coffee run, she sometimes buys an extra cup of joe for a homeless person. “When you make someone happy, you feel filled up again,” Dr. Orloff says. Find volunteer opportunities that suit you.

4. Breathe hard—more often
That post-workout rush of energy you feel is well-documented: Movement sends oxygen through the bloodstream to invigorate cells. Thats why Gerald K. Endress, fitness director at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., suggests that you break up your workouts to maximize your oxygen intake.

Lift weights, roll out the exercise ball, or do five minutes of yoga in the morning. Climb a few flights of stairs at lunch and jog after dinner. To add an extra kick to your workout, breathe deeply for your first one or two minutes of cardio, Endress says: Inhale from your belly; then breathe out slowly, imagining youre pulling your navel toward your spine.

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