When the afternoon hits, we might experience a drainage in energy. This dreaded "slump" is quite common, and it usually approaches around 3 p.m., and unless we take care to boost our energy levels, it can hurt our ability to be productive and alert for the remainder of the day. Thus, it's important to maintain high levels of alertness and avoid triggers that can cause fatigue.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on paying attention to their bodies, mental and physical alertness and agility, and mood throughout the day. With such attention to how we are feeling, we are better able to know when we have hit a plateau and need a reboot or are feeling lethargic and hungry and need a break for a snack. Becoming in tune with our emotions is so important for understanding our habits and tendencies. For instance, if we notice that a lighter lunch (or even a skipped lunch) can cause us to become tired and irritable later in the day, we will be more apt to avoid such triggers and prepare ourselves with snacks on hand and a break in the day for a sit-down meal. Look for these thirteen ways as to how you might overcome an afternoon slump and be able to snap out of it quickly and easily.
1. Eat A Balanced Snack
"Sometimes we get in a bad mood simply because we need food. The term 'hangry' - becoming angry, grumpy or frustrated because you are hungry - describes it well," says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, a spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich, over email with Bustle. "Whether it be a snack or a meal make sure what you eat is balanced," she adds. Pay attention to your body and look for signals of irritability and dulled mood. It might be due to hunger.
2. Eat Complex Carbs
Complex carbs give an instant boost of energy, but with a sustainable quality, where the fiber allows us to stay full over time. "The key though is to choose carbs that provide plenty of fiber, along with a little protein and healthy fat," says Gans. "My clients have always loved one slice of Arnold® Bread Whole Grain 100 percent Whole Wheat bread with a TBSP of peanut butter, some slices of banana, and a drizzle of honey. This satisfying snack digests slowly, giving you more energy to tackle the rest of the day," she adds.
3. Getting In A Run Early
Running early in the morning can help ward off fatigue later in the day. "Be sure to be up and about for at least 30 minutes before you begin a morning run to allow your muscles to warm up naturally as you move about your home," says Reebok Running Coach Pete Rea, over email correspondence with Bustle. If you're tight, he advises, "Try walking — rather than running — for the first 5 minutes of your session and implement light skipping, 3-4 walking lunges, as well as heel and toe walks, to engage prime movers before the running portion of your session begins."
4. Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats that are loaded with properties to promote good (HDL) cholesterol, metabolic function, and brain health, as well as protein, which is proven to beat an afternoon slump, can energize you all over. "Snacks that are high in essential fats are an easy and delicious way to stay energized," says Reebok expert Tyson Chartier with SITYODTONG, over email with Bustle. "A few of my favorites include an avocado, guacamole or hummus with veggies, raw nuts with fruit, or almond butter on celery sticks," he adds.
5. Drink Water
Often during the afternoon slump, we experience lightheadedness, mood changes and fatigue, and these factors tend to to result from dehydration. If you feel tired, sip some water first and see how you feel. "I also love drinking a natural electrolyte water consisting of water, fresh lemon juice, honey, and sea salt. It’s provides energy, hydration and electrolytes to help fuel a great workout," advises Chartier.
6. Look Into Alternative Healers
With the okay from a physician, trying natural remedies that have been associated with energy levels can be beneficial. Fatigue is so frustrating to manage and the feeling of reduced energy, lack of focus and excessive tiredness can be accompanied by lapses in concentration or memory and made even worse by that afternoon slump," says renowned natural health physician and best-selling author, Dr. Fred Pescatore over email with Bustle. He recommends a natural French oak wood extract, Robuvit.
7. Stand Up
Standing up and getting some movement can boost energy and fight fatigue. "Stretch or take a walk outside for some fresh air and to get the blood flowing," advises certified healthy lifestyle coach Liz Traines, over email correspondence with Bustle. Taking a break can be a great reliever for both the mind and body and can give us a source of renewed energy to get back to being productive and alert. "I sometimes do 'forward folds' in the bathroom to stretch out - the inversion wakes me up and stretches out my body," she adds.
8. Think Of Something Else
"Change tasks if you can and refocus your mind onto something a little different," recommends Traines. "Then go back to whatever you were working on. Monotony can be really draining," she adds. If you stop doing one thing, if you have the luxury and not a strict deadline, of course, and switch to something else to shake the mind, then you'll be better able to get back to the first task after.
9. Splash Cold Water On Your Face
Exposing yourself to cold water can instantly rev energy and wake you up. If you don't want to ruin makeup, take a cold towel and dab it all over your neck, behind the head and around your hairline. You can also put it on your wrists and other pressure points to cool the body down and boost alertness. Or, keep wipes in your office cabinet, and buy scented ones for an added touch of freshness.
10. Clean Your Desk
According to experts, staying organized can boost productivity and energy overall, but if you experience a moment of fatigue and drainage, put down whatever you have at hand and start to work on organizing your office area, papers and storage. Whether it's organizing your desktop and folders on your computer or cleaning the physical space, flushing out some disorder and toxins can be great for boosting mood.
11. Sniff Something Citrusy
According to research, the scent of citrus, such as lemons, grapefruit, orange and lime, can rejuvenate the mind and body and lead to an increase in energy. Keep citrus scented essential oils or lotions in your work bag or office cabinet so that you can access during the day. You can also buy fresh citrus as an afternoon snack to satisfy both scent and taste!
12. Avoid Sugar and Caffeine
Having sugary, greasy or caffeinated beverages might lead to instant energy, but it will result in subsequent crash that will make you even more fatigued and irritable. Instead, have a high-protein and balanced snack and switch to tea or water instead. I love green or chamomile tea. While green is caffeinated, it is low in levels and provides tons of properties to boost mentality.
13. Set An Intention
According to experts, setting a goal can help restore energy and motivation. Whether you want a goal that is for the day, or more of a long-term and personal goal, making a promise to follow through on it can help build up the excitement and drive to go after what you want. It also helps you focus on something else that will be beneficial for you and is unrelated to whatever has been making you sleepy.
Whatever you are feeling mid-day, try and balance your mood and energy levels by eating well, staying relatively active and keeping your mind sharp during the day for long-lasting productivity and better performance results. If you feel energy sagging, hone in on your bodily responses and figure out how best to address the problem.
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