These cold cloudy days of winter days seem to drain my energy. I can have a productive morning, but I feel my momentum start to dwindle in the afternoon. A nap would be refreshing, but that is usually (like never) an option.
If you are like me and need an afternoon pick me when your brain or body is craving a nap, I have some tips and tricks that save the day for me. Try these suggestions to banish late day slumps, even when you can’t lie down.
Strike Up a Conversation
Social interactions are stimulating – good for the mind and the soul. Call a client if you are at work and thank them for their recent order, discuss your weekend plans with a coworker, or phone a friend.
Turn Up the Lights
Bright lights boost your mood and trigger your brain to wake up. SIt near a window, go for a walk outside, or buy a desk lamp to add some brightness to your afternoon.
Eat a Small Snack
A small snack may give you the energy you need to get through the afternoon. Choose protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. A snack too large or with too much sugar will just cause you to drag even more.
Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue. Don’t wait until the afternoon to hydrate though. Carry a water bottle with you all day to get enough fluids in.
Variety will spice up your day. It’s time for a break if you’re nodding off while trying to complete a task at your desk or playing on the floor with your kids. Find a new task, or better yet a whole new room to work or play in.
Physical activity is the best break, especially if you spend much of your day sitting. Walk up and down the stairs, stand and marching in front of your desk, or even hit the floor and do some push ups.
Listen to Music
Just as a calm melody can relax the body, lively jazz can be invigorating. Make a play list of rousing songs – whatever you enjoy listening too – and sing along.
Certain scents are very stimulating to the brain and body. Splash lemon or peppermint oil on a handkerchief and a few long deep breaths. If you have a private work space, set up a diffuser with a pleasant fragrance – grapefruit is my favorite.
Just 5 minutes of a guided meditation or breathing exercise can be enough to refocus your mind. Your stress hormones will be lower and you will better be able to focus at the task at hand. (I use a guided breathing medication app called “Stop, Breathe, Think”)
Have Some Caffeine
Moderate amounts of caffeine are safe for most people. It takes about 20 minutes to feel the effects, but can help you power through your afternoon.
The last one is most likely to have the most impact on your energy level, but there are two problems with caffeine. First, we consume it too late in the day and it disrupts our sleep. This leads to even more fatigue the next afternoon, even more caffeine, and the cycle continues. Every body is genetically different in their caffeine tolerance, so you must choose a caffeine cut off time that works for you.
Second, caffeine hits us and then our energy drops again. You may go for another cup of coffee or sugary soft drink and too much of either will cause more harm than good when it comes to your energy levels.
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