At some point, almost everyone has experienced that drastic drop in energy and motivation after spending several hours at the office. Although it may feel like your only choice is another cup of coffee, there are other healthy ways you can beat the afternoon slump. Adopting certain daily habits can help assure you'll feel in tip-top shape, no matter what time of day.
If you experience a significant drop in energy levels in the late afternoon, it's not always your mindset to blame; our biological clock is a partial culprit of this phenomenon. Around 3 p.m., our bodies experience a natural drop in temperature and rise in melatonin, the hormone that helps control our sleep cycles, which can cause drowsiness. These natural rhythms can also be disturbed if we aren't getting the right amount of sleep, worsening our mid-day crashes.
Other reasons for increased fatigue can include a poor diet, dehydration, lack of exercise, and high levels of stress. Combatting these problems is the first step to increased energy, but there are also other steps you can take throughout the day to avoid wavering halfway through your workload. Next time you're hitting a wall after lunchtime, try the following seven tips to get over that dreaded afternoon slump.
1. Take Breaks Throughout The Day
"For maximum performance, our body needs a good combination of activity and rest," says Martin Zhel, founder of ProductivityHacks.org, over email. Studies have found that people are most productive when they work for 52 minutes, followed by a 17 minute break. Breaks can help recharge your mind and keep you alert. "That way we won't overspend our energy and we'll feel better in the afternoon," says Zhel.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
"Another great way to get over the afternoon slump is to take the time to do deep breathing exercises," says Christine Dyan, RDN, LDN, CHHC over email. "This may sound a little 'woo,' but it works, and there's scientific evidence to back it up." Taking 10 or fewer deeper, slower breaths per minute can increase both your energy and your cognitive abilities.
3. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
"Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast," says wellness coach Nicole Granato over email. "People that skip this important meal often feel the effects later in the day." Your breakfast should contain a mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, as studies have found that people who eat breakfasts filled with complex carbohydrates have increased energy throughout the rest of the day.
4. Have A Good Laugh
"Nothing is better than watching a funny YouTube video to break up the monotony and avoid the slump," says family physician Dr. Jen Caudle over email. Having a good laugh is not only a great way to boost your mood, but studies show that laughter can also increase your energy levels.
5. Fix Your Posture
If you find yourself slumped in your chair come two o'clock, you might be setting yourself up for a harder time working. Studies show that sitting up straight can help with positive thinking and increase your energy levels. Scientists are beginning to find that the way we carry our bodies can have a direct influence on our brain and emotions.
6. Drink Some Green Tea
"Green tea has numerous health benefits, including improved brain and memory function," says Darin Hulslander, owner of DNS Fitness and Nutrition over email. "As an added perk, it has just enough caffeine to power through those last few hours of the day but not keep you awake at bedtime."
7. Go Outside
Even if you only have 15 minutes, taking a quick stroll outside can help revitalize your energy. Being outdoors can help reduce stress, improve your mood, and increase your physical energy. "The fresh air, the sunlight, and the exercise will help invigorate and wake you," says mental health expert Jon Rhodes over email.
And, above all, remember: In just a few more hours, you'll be home in pajamas watching Netflix.
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