You wake up exhausted, and then drag all morning. In the afternoon, it takes several cans of soda for you to be alert enough to slog through a mile-long to-do list. And when the evening rolls around, the only thing you have enough energy for is a date with your favorite sitcom stars. Sound like a typical day? You’re not alone.

“We have an epidemic of exhaustion in our culture,” explains Judith Orloff, MD, psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We need to learn to take charge of our energy levels and tap into practices that make us feel vibrant and happy.”

Instead of dealing with all-day exhaustion and forgoing activities because you don’t have the stamina, learn some tricks for getting instant energy boosters:

Turn up the tunes. Listen to your favorite CD on the way to work, or sing along to “Elmo and Friends” with your grandkids. Researchers have found that listening to music helps boost energy and stimulates positive thinking.

Straighten up. Bad posture can slowly sap your energy. According to the International Chiropractors Association, slouching requires your muscles to work harder to hold up your body, and that can lead to fatigue. Just 15 minutes of reading or typing in a slouched position strains the neck, shoulders and upper-back muscles.

Take a break from work every 30 minutes. Go for a quick walk around the office, get a glass of water or do a few slow stretches to get your blood flowing. Practice good posture by ensuring that your shoulders and hips are aligned, and your head is straight. At your desk, sit in a chair that provides good lower-back support, and keep your knees slightly higher than your hips.

Do a minimeditation. Setting aside time to do minimeditations throughout the day can help when you’re overwhelmed by demands at work, dealing with a needy friend or just feeling stressed about the state of the world. Meditations help refocus your thoughts and create positive energy.

Dr. Orloff, the author of Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress & Fear into Vibrance, Strength & Love (Harmony, 2004), recommends finding a quiet spot with no distractions, sitting in a relaxed position with your eyes closed and taking deep, slow breaths. Focus only on breathing in and out. As outside thoughts enter your consciousness, acknowledge them and then refocus on your breathing. Do this for three minutes.

Wear red.
On days when you’re feeling sluggish, try wearing a colorful sweater or scarf for an immediate pick-me-up. Studies indicate that color has a huge impact on energy level. Red, in particular, has been shown to improve mood and alertness.