How do you actually beat the afternoon slump?
Yawn. Are you tired and want to beat the afternoon slump? Click here for 9 easy ways you can boost your energy. @nourishprosper #lifehacks #motivation Click To Tweet
Are your eyelids getting heavy?
Finding yourself having to read the same few sentences over and over again?
Wait, what’s that? A yawn?
Sounds like the afternoon slump is there. The sleepiness and drowsiness that come with it can make it quite hard to have fully productive and focused days. And when it comes to making progress with your big aims, that’s no good.
The bright side is that it doesn’t have to be like that. There are things you can do to combat the dreaded afternoon tiredness.
More than that, you can cultivate a lifestyle that keeps you energized throughout the entire day and in good shape to slay your goals.
Why Do We Feel Tired in the Afternoon?
It’s actually quite normal to feel a bit tired and groggy once the clock hits 3 pm.
The dreaded afternoon slump can be explained by your body’s circadian rhythm, which is like an internal clock that runs in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.
Our “sleep signals” tend to peak at night and during the afternoon, right around the time when the slump usually hits you.
How does that happen? Your body temperature is adjusted according to your circadian rhythm. It rises in the morning, peaks around noon, and then drops slowly until the evening. When body temperature decreases, many of your bodily systems wane as well, causing that feeling of tiredness.
That doesn’t mean there’s no way around taking a catnap. The dips and rises of your circadian rhythm will feel a lot smoother if you’ve been taking care of your energy levels properly.
You can avoid the afternoon slump with what you eat and drink, the quality of your sleep and your stress levels all play a role in how heavy your eyelids feel in the afternoon.
How to Beat the Afternoon Slump
You just had lunch. You’re back at your desk, deciding how to tackle the rest of your to-do list for the day. You know you have a lot to do, but… Is that a yawn?
It’s not all lost. You can fight the sluggishness without coffee and have a productive afternoon.
How can you boost your energy? Here are some strategies you can use to beat the slump. Some of these will work better than others. It’s different for everyone. Give them a try whenever you start feeling a little tired and see what works best for you.
#1. Switch Tasks
If you’ve been working on the same task for the last few hours, switching focuses might be just what you need.
Even if you’re in a crunch, you’ll be a lot more productive by taking even five minutes to give your brain a change of scenery.
Send that email that has been lingering on your to-do list or take a moment to review your priorities. Alternatively, give yourself a break from work altogether. Laughter is one of the best ways to wake up a sleepy person, so a cat video on YouTube might be just what you need.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
#2. Splash Some Water on Your Face
That’s one of my favorite tricks. It works like a charm on me.
A little cold water on your face goes a long way to help you scare away the drowsiness. It’s extra effective if you leave your skin slightly wet and step outside for a second to get some fresh air.
If you’re concerned about your makeup or usually overdo it and leave the bathroom looking like you fell in, place your wrists under a running faucet or dampen a towel and wrap it around your neck.
#3. Grab a Drink (Not that Kind!)
Staying hydrated feels a bit too basic for most people trying to improve their well-being. However, most of my clients are amazed by how much more energized they feel when they make a conscious effort to drink water throughout the day.
Dehydration can intensify the feeling of fatigue, so if you’re feeling the slump hitting you a bit too hard, it’s worth drinking a big glass of water or a cup of tea.
To reduce your reliance on caffeine, try replacing your afternoon cup of coffee for a bit of green tea. That will be just enough caffeine for an effective pick-me-up — and you get an extra health boost due to all the nutritional benefits of green tea.
#4. Eat a Balanced Snack
A lot of people reach for the snack machine when the afternoon drowsiness hits. That’s not a wrong intuition, but unfortunately, most vending machine snacks are quite sugary, setting you up for another energy crash very soon.
What you eat at this time of the day can really affect your energy levels for the next couple of hours. Try a high-protein snack to stay alert for the rest of your workday, something like a piece of cheese, a handful of nuts and seeds, or some baby carrots with hummus. If you enjoy bars, grab a Kind bar that’s a high-protein mix of fruits and nuts. Healthy fats also help a lot.
#5. Listen to Music
Another way to boost your energy and mood during the afternoon is to listen to fast-tempo music. That’s similar to switching tasks in that it gives your brain a bit of a change of pace and stimulus.
This trick is extra effective when you’re listening to tracks you love. The upbeat vibe and the connection to the rhythm and lyrics are guaranteed to turn your energy levels around.
Pro tip: if you have a standing desk or can improvise one with stacked cardboard boxes, do that and get yourself moving to the rhythm of your tunes.
#6. Take a Power Nap
A siesta break is customary in many countries, but in many others, that’s just not something we do (especially if you work in an office).
If a good nap is something you can do, go for it! There’s nothing better than respecting and honoring your body’s wants and needs, and there are many health benefits associated with the habit of having a siesta.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 7 Quick Ways To Sleep Better And Increase Productivity
If however, you don’t have the freedom to tweak your schedule to accommodate a nap, try a power nap to overcome the times when you just can’t keep your eyes open. A power nap can be as long as 10 minutes and there are plenty of apps that can help you manage your time.
#7. Stretch it Out
Stretching for five minutes every hour is something I always recommend to clients who spend a lot of time sitting. That improves circulation, helps them be more active, and provides quick boosts of energy too.
Standing up and give your back, neck, and legs a good stretch is a lot more effective than just sitting up straight and yawning — which is what most of us tend to do when we start feeling sleepy.
If you’re feeling extra tired, try touching your toes or bending down with your feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart. This will get the blood flowing to your head which makes a huge difference in how you feel.
Pro tip: Make sure you don’t come back up too quickly or you might feel a little dizzy.
#8. Take a Walk and Get Some Fresh Air
You probably noticed that already, but moving around is one of the most effective ways to handle your afternoon sluggishness. Again, the change of scenery component of this trick is a big part of what makes it work so well.
If you work from home, it might be a good call to head somewhere else for the rest of the day. It can be a coffee shop or your local library. If you’re in an office, it might be a good time to stop by a coworker’s desk to clear some questions or to move to a meeting room for a bit.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Be More Productive and Stop Being Lazy
This trick is extra effective if you can get outside for a little bit. Even five minutes of fresh air and exposure to natural light will make you a lot more alert. If it’s a fresh day, make it a brisk walk to gain some energy from a light activity. It might sound counterintuitive, but exercising is actually quite energizing!
#9. Have Essential Oils With You
If you’ve ever used essential oils before, you know that they have the power to change your mood and influence your stress levels. The effects can go both ways. Depending on what you choose, you can become more alert or completely relaxed, so beware!
Citrus and basil are known for waking up the mind. Citrus, in particular, has a bit of an uplifting effect. Other oils that can help with afternoon sleepiness are eucalyptus, mint, and rosemary, all of which are known for helping you boost your energy.
If you’re new to essential oils, you buy them in tiny bottles that you can have in your purse. You can smell them or just apply some on your skin (wrists are a good location) whenever you want to experience the benefits.
Spring Clean Your Mind Checklist
Don’t just boost your energy, it’s time to boost your mind too.
What are your go-to ways to handle the afternoon slump?
Which of these ideas can you put into practice today to improve your energy levels?
Remember: when you feel your best, you do your best. Don’t leave your wellness to chance. Be present with your body’s wants and needs, listen to them, take action and experiment.