1) An apple a day...
One of the best options is to eat an apple, a green one if you can find one. Research indicates that the nutrients in apples provide fiber, natural sugar, and vitamins crucial for both short-term and long-term energy. Apples provide an energy boost without caffeine and won't leave you feeling drained 20 minutes or so later the way energy drinks and soda does.
2) Let's get physical!
Sitting at a desk and staring at a computer can sometimes make you feel like you're on autopilot; this is counter-productive, especially for dispatchers who shift between active dispatch and focused watchfulness. A sedentary body typically has a lower metabolism which can contribute to lost mental focus.
Additionally, staring at a computer screen for hours can make your eyes hurt. Sometimes it's because the screen is too bright. And, often, because you are blinking less often - which results in dry eye.
Body movement is one of the top ways to get energy without caffeine. Getting up from your desk periodically to use the restroom or even standing up to do a few jumping jacks with your eyes closed will wake your body up, boost your heart rate, and help you feel refreshed.
3) Sleeping Beauty
Studies recommend eight hours of sleep each night. This can be tough to consistently attain; family obligations and overnight shifts can make sleep schedules challenging to maintain.
These challenges are ever present. However, creating a meaningful change in your sleep schedule can positively impact your energy, focus, and relationships.
Start with your days off and create a routine to settle into meaningful and lengthy rest to maintain your energy without caffeine:
- Commit to a bed time.
- Leave your phone on the kitchen counter.
- Pick up a book, instead of watching TV before sleeping.
- Take 5 minutes at the beginning and/or end of your day to reflect, meditate, or pray.
4) Frequent small meals
Maintaining steady blood sugar reduces brain fog and is especially critical for 911 dispatchers. Large meals, spaced hours apart may be contributing to a roller-coaster of energy spikes and crashes.
Instead of eating two or three large meals during the day, space your food intake out throughout your day. This will help stabilize your metabolism. Your body will digest and integrate nutrients more efficiently.