How many times have you woken up in the morning, supercharged to take on the day but as the afternoon rolls up, you find yourself dragged into an unknown slump that just doesn’t wear off? As soon as the clock strikes 2:00, you find it hard to keep your eyes open or you find yourself yawning incessantly. You feel like you could head back to bed even as the sun shines brightly outside.
If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone. Many go through these late-in-the-day energy lags, also known as afternoon slumps. They can be particularly killer for your motivation and productivity, especially when you have an impending task list looming upon you. But know that this phenomenon, however inconveniencing, is completely normal. Circadian rhythms are to be blamed for such afternoon slumps. In fact, our body’s sleep signals peak usually at night and during the afternoon, explaining why a catnap is always on your mind post-lunch.
So, is there any hope? Are there effective ways you overcome this inevitable scourge on your productivity? Below, we will share 5 healthy ways you can keep your energy flowing throughout the day.
1. Don’t skip breakfast
As you’re aware, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for the day, how you approach it, your level of performance as well as productivity. Skipping it or making unhealthy food choices could lead to tiredness and an unfocused outlook in the day. This makes it harder for you to solve problems. Plus, those who skip breakfast usually end up overeating later. Power-packed breakfasts provide a healthy dose of nutrients to keep your energy levels high through the day.
2. Move around
A change-up always brings a fresh perspective into view. It can also boost your energy significantly. If you’re feeling tired of sitting at your desk, switch spots with someone. Try to sit near the window or under bright light, helping alert your brain to wake up. Or simply take a break and head outside. A short walk around the block, having your lunch outdoors, or sitting in nature for as less as 20 minutes can bring feelings of vitality to the surface. You could even take your virtual meeting outdoors while you take a sunlit walk.
3. Use caffeine carefully
Yes, that first cup of coffee or tea before the workday starts seems almost ritualistic. But those saccharine sweet cups of Joe could lower your blood sugar levels prominently leading to a drop in energy. When had in moderation, it can give you a temporary energy boost. However, each person breaks down caffeine differently. Even though artificial sugars cause your blood sugar to rise rapidly, sugar in the bloodstream pushes the body to make insulin, which as a result lowers the blood sugar levels. If you’re pressed for a beverage, try green tea with honey or 100% fruit juice instead.
4. Develop an active life
A trip to the gym may not only energize you but also boost productivity. Getting your blood pumping can give you the boost you need to power through the day. Daily exercise increases your endurance and makes your cardiovascular system more efficient. It also helps you sleep better at night, improves your mood, relieves stress, regulates weight, and lowers your risk of disease. The mind and body connection that’s fostered through exercises forces your senses to become sharper and more focused. A morning run or a bike ride or even a 30-minute yoga session can help you fight off the afternoon lag.
5. Tank up on fluids
The first drink you should reach for when you’re thirsty is water. Nothing hydrates better than a tall glass of water, plus an extra glass won’t hurt you. Most of the time that feeling of fatigue we face is a sign of dehydration. If you’re not a fan of water so much, other liquids like milk, juice or water in solid foods like fruits and vegetables can also bring that jolt of novelty to push you into productivity.
While it does feel like somewhere around 1 pm to 3 pm our brain decides to go on a mini-vacation, leaving us exhausted and unfocused but maintaining solid habits during the workweek and adopting minor adjustments that help you stay on top of the game can prevent the tiresome midday slump.