You know it well. Your morning is cruising along. You’re on point, ticking off that to-do list like a boss. You have lunch and get ready to dive back in, and wham, the mid-afternoon slump comes out of nowhere, grinding your productivity to a screeching halt.
Everyone goes through it, right? Middle of the afternoon is the time when you can hear the coffee shop calling your name, and you find yourself rifling through your snack stash for a carb-loaded pick-me up.
There are better ways to avoid the mid-afternoon slump and power through your whole day as strong as you started. Try some of these tactics for preventing an afternoon energy crash, and see which ones make a difference.
Wake up and face the day (actually, face the sun)
When you wake up, going outside and turning your face to the sun (without directly looking at the sun!) can have an effect on your circadian rhythm for the whole day. We are wired for exposure for different wavelengths of light at different points in the day, and when there’s a mismatch, we might feel off. Exposure to natural light first thing in the morning can start you off on the right foot.
It’s not just morning sun that has an effect. If you’re feeling like you’re slowing down, you can always pop outside for a five-minute sunshine reset.
Work with your body’s natural rhythms
Aim to work with your natural tendencies, not against them. If you know your creativity flows easily around 10:00 am then your brain starts to fizzle around noon, set your brainstorming meeting for late morning and plan more mindless tasks, like filling in your expense reports, later in the day.
There’s no better way to pull yourself out of a slump than to get your blood pumping.
A new trend circulating shows people doing microworkouts, which are short bursts of activity instead of one hour-long workout at a dedicated time in a dedicated place. You can keep a couple small hand weights or resistance bands at your desk for a quick set between meetings. You can do some stretching or stair climbs after you’ve been sitting for a long stretch of time.
Whatever movements you choose to do, a microworkout could make you feel more awake and alert afterward.
A lot of the time, we’re tempted to reach for sugary snacks in mid-afternoon because of its pick-me-up effect. It makes sense, because eating sugar can have a rollercoaster effect on how you feel throughout the day. You eat something sweet and feel energized for a short while, then when it wears off, you crash hard. And what do you look for when you crash? More sugar! And up you go, and back down… you get the idea.
Instead of sugary sweets, nourish your body with satiating foods that keep you full and steady. Look for a good balance of protein, fats, and carbs to keep you going throughout the day.
Still want a sweet pick-me-up in the afternoon? Of course you do, you’re human, after all. Instead of sugary beverages or candy, which will probably do more harm than good, reach for Lakanto® Chocolate Covered Almonds – no sugar added, and sweetened with monk fruit. No sugar means no crash, and more importantly, no giving up chocolate!
Check in with someone
Calling a friend or family member may be just what you need to switch gears away from work for a second and decompress. You can call and check on things at home, drop your folks a line, or you can set a time with your work bestie to take a quick walk or just chat.
Your support system is here to build you up so that you’re ready to face whatever comes your way, and you build up your people, too. Sometimes a check in is all you need to pull you out of a funk.
At times, we feel tired when what we’re actually experiencing is mild dehydration. Before reaching for another cup of coffee, try filling your water bottle instead and see if that works. Electrolyte mixes can help you hydrate even more.
Five minute meditation
Meditation is something you can do no matter where you are. Sure, there can be ambient noise in your workplace, (even if you’re working from home). If you’re an experienced meditator, you’ve learned how to tune out external sounds and thoughts. If you’re a beginner, do your best to focus on your breath instead of what’s happening around you. Or, use headphones.
Just a five-minute meditation track is like hitting the refresh button in your brain. It may be just what you need to regain focus for the rest of the day.
If you’re staying up too late, no amount of tricks or hacks will make up for it during the day. Be honest with yourself. Are you sleeping enough? Would an extra 30 minutes or hour improve your day?