Need a Pick-Me-Up? Skip the Coffee and Try this Ritual

Need a Pick-Me-Up? Skip the Coffee and Try this Ritual
We’ve been conditioned for years to reach for the hard stuff (i.e. a bold black drip or a double espresso) every time our performance drops one iota below optimal, or we feel even the teensiest bit of burn behind the eyes. I’ll admit, that makes it hard to cut back, or let alone, cut out coffee completely for the sake of our health.

Sometimes the yearning is induced by much more drastic occasions than a mid-afternoon yawn or a bleary-eyed morning. A restless—or very late—night, perhaps fueled by a bit too much mezal, biodynamic wine, happy hour pitchers gone overboard, or customary Netflix binging until the wee hours can take a toll on your productivity the following day. Even indefinitely, if one makes it a habit.


This is not a coffee-bashing essay, but a light brought to the fact that it’s often abused as a daily vice to help compensate for our nightly vices, instead of focusing on what will renew our minds and energy in a healthy, positive way. Don’t just give matcha a try, give yourself a ritual to reawaken yourself to the rest of your day.


I love matcha for its non-jittery, slow-release form of caffeine, but I’m aware it’s still caffeine. What really gets oxygen flowing back to my brain is my practice around it. While I don’t have time for a transcendent kundalini episode in the middle of a cafe or open office, breathing is still an important tool. Deep breaths release endorphins, provide a boost of energy due to better oxygenated blood, and even help us improve our posture and optimally detox.

The easiest and most effective breathing practice to start with is called “box breathing,” and it’s composed of 4x4 counts. Breath in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4. Repeat this as many times as you want, or maybe you only have time for one round. It’s all you need to realize the benefits. Bonus if you have the time or space to stand up and bend to touch your toes for a few moments to get more blood flowing to your brain and realign your spine.


For me, a sip of something from a mug might trick my brain into thinking I’m getting that subsequent jolt, but my afternoon or late-morning matcha truly fuels me, despite whatever activities I did or did not get up to last night. And believe it or not, many calming herbs and adaptogens can actually increase your energy levels because they help put a stop to the depletion of your adrenals.


Try adding maca, ashwagandha, or rhodiola to your matcha to get a well-rounded cup of antioxidants and system-soothers. Add your milk/mylk of choice, or a scoop of coconut butter to get in some healthy fats and make the most of your absorption with these potent antioxidants and herbal helpers. Adaptogens may not work immediately like a pill, but a little each day builds your system up for noticeable resiliency that will come to your rescue morning after morning, afternoon after afternoon.

Written by Nicole Lesmeister

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