The Marion Gluck Clinic


Give your work place (and yourself) an energy boost in 10 steps

By Vera Martins PhD

With Spring just around the corner, it’s that time of the year to start thinking about new beginnings and transformation. So why not start by transforming the space where you spend most of your daily time? Your workspace!

These are our top suggestions in 10 steps on how to transform your workspace (and your work habits) to feel more energised, focused, and happy:

  1. Try “herbal pick-me ups”
  2. Nourish your inner balance
  3. Rebalance your energy with essential oils
  4. Balance your blood sugar
  5. Make time for digestion
  6. Raise the vibration with crystals
  7. De-clutter and re-arrange
  8. Connect with mother nature
  9. Keep moving
  10. Protect yourself from blue light at night
  1. Reduce coffee and embrace “herbal pick-me ups” for mental focus

If you are going through a period of high stress and piles of work, reaching for those several daily coffee pick-me-up shots is very tempting. While they may help you get the job done, they can come at a cost; the health of your adrenal glands. The caffeine in coffee increases cortisol production, therefore, if you are under much stress, your adrenal glands (responsible for cortisol production) are more in need of a rest than to be pushed even harder.


Great caffeine-free alternatives that can increase mental concentration and energy are:

  • Tulsi (holy basil) – pictured above
  • Brahmi
  • Rosemary
  • Schisandra

Most of these herbs are also adaptogens which means they give that extra support to your adrenal glands during periods of stress. It’s a win-win! They can be taken as hot or cold teas (if using dry herbs), added to smoothies or lattes (as powders) or opt for tablets or liquid extracts if a stronger boost is needed. For a delicious, refreshing aromatic water, mix rosemary fresh leaves with lemon peel and cucumber in cold water.

  1. Nourish your inner balance

Check-in with yourself, particularly your breathing, at regular intervals throughout the day (you can set a timer in your phone if it helps). Even if you are on a tight deadline and have your boss getting on your nerves, taking a few seconds or minutes daily to slow down will improve your focus and make you more productive. Commit to at least 30 seconds breaks to deeply relax and do nothing. If you have a few minutes to spare, then try the Four-Square Breathing (also called the Box Breathing Technique) to relieve stress and recalibrate your nervous system: sit straight up in a comfortable chair, close your eyes if possible, and breathe in slowly through the nose for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale slowly through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of four. Repeat the exercise for a total of 5 minutes. This exercise can be done anywhere, at any time.

  1. Re-balance your energy with essential oils

Do not underestimate the power of aromatherapy. Those delicious smelling oils in your beauty products can really do the trick when it comes to balancing your emotions and energising you. Try rosemary, bergamot, or melissa (also known as lemon balm) for an instant uplifting effect. Melissa can be particularly helpful with tension or stress headaches. And the memory-boosting properties of rosemary have been well investigated with research showing that rosemary essential oil improves cognitive performance. How to use them? Try a room diffuser, room spray, inhalations (apply 2-3 drops of essential oil to a handkerchief) or a pulse roll (those are great to keep in your handbag for a quick fix).

  1. Balance your blood sugar for optimal energy and mood

Eating well is the foundation not only for good energy levels but also for our mood and concentration. The key here is keeping your blood sugar levels balanced to avoid that energy drop which makes you dream of a nap:

  • Adopt “PFF” – Make sure you eat well-balanced balanced meals containing protein, fibre and good fats, including at breakfast. Have you heard of the PFF (Protein/Fibre/Fat) breakfast? It is your way out of those stubborn food cravings (including sweets!) and your ticket to plenty of energy!
  • Adopt complex carbs – Stay away from refined carbohydrates and sugars such as white bread, white pasta, sugary cereals, pastries, and biscuits as they raise your blood sugar very quickly. Instead opt for complex carbohydrates which release sugar slowly into your blood, such as wholegrain sourdough bread, brown rice, quinoa, legumes such as lentils and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
  • Pair fruit with protein – If you have a fruit snack, make sure you accompany it with a source of protein such as a handful of nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts or walnuts will do the trick), yogurt, kefir or cheese.
  • Indulge in herbs – Herbs such as cinnamon, liquorice and turmeric are great treats for sugar balance – make sure you indulge in them in dishes, teas and snacks. Be aware of liquorice though if you suffer from high blood pressure.

  1. Time to digest

Meals are always a good time to slow down and lunch time at work should not be an exception. Remember to eat mindfully and chew your food very well (aim for at least 10 chews per bite), to improve digestion and reduce fermentation of undigested food, which can lead to digestive issues. Rushing through your meal can in fact be counter-productive as digestive issues lead to malabsorption, which means you will be getting less nutrition from of your food and consequently your energy levels will be lower. It’s time to look at your meals as a sacred time and a way to nurture and restore your body.

  1. Raise the vibration with crystals

Crystals are great tools, gifts from the earth, that help balance the energetic vibration of spaces and people. At work, you are most likely surrounded by computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and wi-fi amongst other electronic devices which are known to emit electromagnetic fields (commonly known as EMFs). When exposed to EMFs you can develop electromagnetic sensitivity leading to headaches, joint pains, fatigue, irritability and insomnia. Crystals are a great way to mitigate EMFs with black tourmaline being the top anti-EMFs crystal. Get yourself a beautiful black tourmaline and place it on your desk close to you. Boost the space vibration even further by getting a clear quartz crystal for mental clarity, focus and positive thinking. Clear quartz is also known to amplify the vibration of all other crystals so it sounds like a great idea to pair it with black tourmaline. Always remember to cleanse and recharge your crystals with regularity, usually once a month in sea salt and water.

  1. De-clutter and re-arrange

When was the last time you cleaned and re-arranged your workstation? Clutter creates stagnation and being overfamiliar with your work space can numb the senses, ultimately blocking your creativity and enthusiasm. So perhaps it’s time to have a desk makeover and file away some dusty stacks of files, organise your folders and books, re-shuffle that picture around, replace old stationery, maybe bring in a new plant? By creating a new decluttered space on the outside, you will be making more mental space inside your brain.

  1. Connect with mother nature

If being close to nature at work is not that easy (and let’s face it, this is the reality for most of us), then bring nature to work for better inner balance. Buy a plant (or more!) and place it close to your desk where you can see it. It will help boosting your mood and purifying the air. The NASA Clean Air Study has shown that there are certain super plants that can detoxify your home from toxins such carbon monoxide, mould and chemicals found in household materials such as paints and furniture. For the best toxin-fighting plants that will also look gorgeous in your work space try English ivy, snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue), spider plant, Chinese evergreen and Aloe vera.

  1. Keep moving

If you work in an office you may be prone to sit for long periods of time. The more you sit, the more stagnation you create in your body, which will consequently decrease both your circulation and metabolic body rate. This means you are more likely to put on weight, accumulate toxins and lower your energy levels. Less energy is bad news because it will drop your focus and enthusiasm at work, so you see where this is going. Make the shift today by taking every opportunity to move: stand and move around when you are on the phone, take a short walk at lunch time, stand up every 30 minutes, stretch and take deep breaths (take this opportunity to nourish your inner balance – see tip number 4) and why not try working while standing for short periods – your kitchen counter is great for this. Get up, move and see how much more energised and productive you become.  Yoga is a great way to keep our bodies energised through movement – read more here.

  1. Protect yourself from blue light at night

Blue light per se is not a bad thing and it is actually beneficial during daylight hours (it is emitted by the sunlight) as it boosts alertness and mood. However, when exposed to blue light, emitted from electronics (such as computer, laptops and mobile phones) at night time you are disrupting your circadian rhythm with a consequent reduction in melatonin production (read more about this here). The result is disrupted sleep and a potential predisposition for health issues such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Avoid working at your computer or mobile phone beginning one to three hours before bed. If you really need to meet that deadline and work late in the night then consider wearing blue light filter glasses or installing an app that filters blue light at night.

Also read:
The truth about Menopause – our hormones dance together
Top 10 tips for sleep

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