For some of us, a cup of coffee helps provide a necessary energy boost to get going on a weekday morning. For others, coffee’s high caffeine content leads to jitters, or feelings of anxiety, so setting a caffeine curfew, or avoiding the beverage altogether, is a smarter way to get through the day. 

We asked members of the Thrive community to share their favorite caffeine-free ways to get the energy they need. Their creativity and mindfulness will make you want to shift your morning routine, and ditch the caffeine when you can.

Set intentions

“While I can’t resist a good cup of coffee, it’s actually not how I start my day. Boosting my energy requires physical and mental priming. Getting my body moving first thing in the morning is really important, so a good workout helps me feel awake. Mentally, it’s about honing in on my goals and motivation for the day. How do I plan on adding value to the world today? As Simon Sinek puts it, ‘What good is having a belly if there’s no fire in it? Wake up, drink your passion, light a match, and get to work.’”

—Andrew Gobran, people operations, Minneapolis, MN

Get outside with your pet 

“Having a nearly two-year old dog has completely changed both my morning mood and energy levels. He is so happy to wake up and go for a walk that I have ditched my ‘Ugh, I hate mornings’ mindset, and instead, have learned to appreciate the fresh air and the chance to move my body and spend time with him. Now, I’m out the door in a flash and look forward to this caffeine-free kickstart to my day.”

—Cindy Joyce, executive search CEO, Boston, MA

Start with a one-song dance party

“I do this every morning, no matter my mood or what happened the day before. Moving my hips and jumping to upbeat rhythms is a reminder that I’m alive, and it shifts the way I look at the day ahead.”

—Kerly Rivera, journalist, Barcelona, Spain 

Enrich your diet with whole foods

“When I began eating healthier — less red meat, sweets, and alcohol, and more chicken, fish, and whole foods  — I stopped thinking about coffee when I first woke up. It doesn’t cross my mind until late in the morning, when I really just have a taste for it. What I put into my body the day before completely drives my need — or lack thereof — for caffeine in the morning.”

—Sharon Wilson, learning and leadership development, Hainesville, IL

Add ghee to your breakfast

“I energize with one spoon of ghee every morning. I put it in my fruit shake and blend it, or add it to my tea. I also take a straight spoon of it, which really helps me stay energized and focused.” 

—Nazia DeFrank, CEO and founder, Lynbrook, NY

Write for an hour each morning

“I turn on my favorite journaling playlist called ‘Soul Vibrations,’ and journal for an hour. I write in both a gratitude journal and a creative journal to express whatever I’m in the mood for that day. Journaling gets me super pumped up and gets my creative juices flowing, which is so important for me personally and professionally. Practicing gratitude brings positive energy to my day.”

—Laura Jane Haver, brand storyteller and copywriter, New York, NY 

Go for a hike

“I changed my work hours for the summer so I can hike first thing in the morning before the heat and humidity set in. Meeting other friends to hike keeps me motivated. When I return from time spent walking in nature, I feel calm, centered, and satisfied as I begin my workday, making me even more productive, focused, and present with my clients.”

—Gail Kauranen Jones, transformational coach, author, and content writer, Raleigh, NC

Bike to work

“I am a coffee lover, but sometimes it just doesn’t do the trick, or leaves me feeling ill. Recently, I started riding my bike to and from work a few days a week to take advantage of the beautiful summer days and start my morning off with some movement. The endorphins from my 20- or 30-minute ride to work give me the added boost I need in the mornings. I’ve noticed my coffee intake on those days is significantly less, if any. My water intake has gone up, and I feel more hydrated and ready to take on the day.”

—Kate MacLean, public relations generalist, Vancouver, Canada

Be present as you walk

“I walk to the gym every morning. I pay attention to how being outside in the fresh air energizes me before breaking a sweat. The combination of crisp morning air and movement is what sets me up for an alert and productive day.” 

—Melissa Muncy, content marketing, San Francisco, CA

Sip on a nutritious smoothie

“I drink a glass of warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon to cleanse my gut. Then I make myself a smoothie with kale or spinach, carrots, cucumbers, and peaches or blueberries. I also add in some collagen powder and MCT oil. This is by far the best and healthiest boost of energy one can give themselves. If you’re in a hurry every morning, just make your smoothie the night before, so you grab and go.”

—Kiki Dahlke, author, Tampa, FL 

Get inspired by nature

“I wake up refreshed and step outside — device-free — for a walk in a park, a trail, or simply around my home garden. Experiencing the calm reassurance of how nature renews itself for another day lifts my spirits instantly and gets me started. It’s this pocket of time that drives my best ideas and decisions. Front-loading mindful time in the morning, combined with a powerful daily routine, has proved very effective.” 

—Vinutha Narayan, Global Head of Strategic Programs, San Francisco, CA


“I will take a shower and then I will say my affirmations. I repeat them over and over again, until I feel a boost of energy. Meditation is my charge and power for the day. It is refreshing, uplifting, motivating, stimulating, vigorating — and most of all, it is liberating.”

—Dr. Sylvia Faircloth, health advocate, Woodbridge, VA

Make progress toward a goal

“As soon as I’m awake — and often before I’m even out of bed — completo dos lecciones de español de Duolingo. Some mornings these two lessons take only 10 minutes; other mornings. I struggle for more than 30. Either way, I get a great boost of energy knowing I’ve started the day making progress toward a goal I set more than two years ago.”

—Bev Bachel, freelance writer, Minneapolis, MN

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.