Is it harder to concentrate a few hours after lunch? Are you moving slower, accomplishing less? You may even daydream of taking a nap. Those afternoon slumps are common, limiting your productivity and making it harder to perform your tasks.
These frustrating mid-day lulls keep you from doing your best, and while some shuteye sounds excellent, you don’t have time or the opportunity to close those eyes. Instead, learn to support your afternoon energy levels by understanding your body, identifying the reason behind your exhaustion and changing your daily habits.
1. Retool Your Diet
The day takes off quickly. Before you know it, you’re tackling a to-do list of 20 items, trying to catch up on emails and knocking out essential tasks for the day. Lunch isn’t on your schedule, or, if it is, it’s something from the vending machine. A bag of chips, a cup of coffee from the lounge, and a piece of candy sound good. Right? They’re quick and easy, but they lack substance.
When you were a kid, your parents may have warned you about those sugar and carb crashes. They avoided sugar late at night and throughout most of the day and pushed nutritious options such as carrots, apples and a cheese stick. Busy people can neglect to care for their body’s fuel supply, and as a result, their energy levels take a dip. Your parents gave you good advice!
It’s essential to plan for healthy eating on the go. Whether you’re busy with meetings all day or constantly traveling about town, you need something to enjoy that fills your stomach and offers essential nutrients.
2. Move Around
Many jobs require people to sit for long hours, reading and typing away. You’re mentally busy, wearing yourself down, but the body doesn’t get a chance to move about. As a result, you’re wiped out and drained.
When drowsiness begins, make an effort to stand up and move around. Harvard Health reports that light exercises can help get you back in the game by supporting oxygen and hormone levels. These are two essential elements of energy production. Therefore, when you’re not feeling up to par, get out of the chair and walk around the office. You don’t need to run a marathon. Just get that blood circulating again.
3. Opt for Chewing Gum, Not Caffeine
Remember when teachers wouldn’t let you chew gum in class? Recent studies indicate that maybe they should have. The act may play a role in helping you remain focused and supporting your visual memory. Studies from Cardiff University note that chewing gum during work or studying may assist people during those difficult moments.
Do you need coffee or soda to pull through the afternoon? Probably not. Opt to eliminate caffeine since it could interfere with your evening sleep. Grab a piece of gum instead and chew away while you work on the latest report.
4. Drink Water
When fogginess sets in, many people start dreaming of the latte or iced, cold soda. It’s the pick-me-up of choice for many. Although they stimulate, they may not last long, leaving you with a crash. Stick to water instead. Hydration helps maintain energy levels, and if you’re not getting in your daily intake, it could impact your afternoon performance.
If it’s hard to find time to drink, create a system. Pick a fun cup you love. Use a timer to tell you to drink up, or fill a large bottle and keep it with you for most of the day. Drink often, and strive to consume about half of your body weight.
5. Pop in Your Headphones
Give music a try. Pop in your headphones, and listen to some jazz, classical or nature music. Stick to something without lyrics. Think background music and not karaoke.
When you feel one starting, make an effort to change your behavior. Afternoon slumps sneak up quickly, making it challenging to accomplish your work. Modifying your movement, eating, and work habits could support your energy levels and give you the drive to finish strong.