We’ve all been there. Your eyelids are heavier than a ton of bricks, and while nothing sounds better than cozying under the covers and getting in a quick catnap, it’s just not a possibility. It’s 3:00 p.m., and there’s a little alarm clock ringing in your brain, wanting sleep, caffeine, sugar—whatever it takes to get past the afternoon energy slump.
What can you do to get past it without derailing your health? For starters, don’t give in to the cravings, because those will only push you further into a slump. Now is not the time for a snooze, a caffeine buzz, or a sugar rush. Those may temporarily take you out of the slump, only to cause you to crash and burn even sooner. It’s about giving you an adrenaline boost that will beyond the slump in a healthy, sustainable, and lasting way.
“Don’t give in to the cravings your brain is requesting, because those will only push you further into a slump.”
” Now is NOT the time for a snooze, a caffeine buzz or a sugar rush.”
1. Drink a glass of water. More often than not, you are dehydrated, and while your brain is screaming for a Snicker’s bar, your body is really needing fluids, in the form of good old fashioned water. Now, if you are someone who doesn’t like plain water, then by all means, spruce it up. Add sliced cucumber and mint, for a spa-like moment of zen. Lemon works wonders too, or drink sparkling water with lime for a twist on flavor. Water is nature’s perfect beverage. Avoid caffeinated, and sugary beverages, and stick with water – flat or sparkling.
2. Take a walk. You don’t have to walk for miles, but even a short jaunt around the block is enough to get you out of your energy slump and back into your groove. If the outside elements aren’t ideal to go outside, then no problem – don’t use that as an excuse. You can pace the hallways, walk the stairs, do 50 jumping jacks, or a set of squats and push-ups. By moving your body and getting your heart rate up, you are going to have more energy. Movement creates more oxygen, which will then give you more energy. Move your body!
3. Snack smart. Sometimes it really is hunger, and no amount of water or movement is going to squelch the hunger. A protein-packed low-glycemic snack is the smart choice, as it will keep your blood sugar in check and keep the hunger at bay. This could be a hard-boiled egg or half an avocado on low-glycemic bread (Food for Life is my favorite brand); veggies with hummus; apple with almond butter; a handful of pistachios, cashews or almonds. The snack should pack a protein punch, with some good for you fats (like in nuts and avocado), to give you that needed energy boost.
4. Breathe. Now, this sounds like a no-brainer because you are breathing every moment of the day without even thinking about it. This is about deep breathing – deep belly breathing, not just your chest. It is done slowly and in rhythmic control, breathing in through the nose, not the mouth. Breathe in slowly through your nose for three to four seconds, hold for a count of three, then exhale out your mouth taking three to four seconds on the exhale. Do this ten times, or commit to five minutes.
5. Phone a friend. Step away from your desk, close the computer, stop scrolling your Facebook feed, and pick up the phone and call a friend. Sometimes all you need is real-life social interaction with another adult to snap you out of your slump. In a matter of minutes, you can be on your way to a more energized mood through some feel-good endorphins of connection. Your friend is happy to hear your voice, you’re happy she’s happy, and now everyone is feeling good…and invigorated with a renewed source of energy.
Now, you can do any one of these five things, a combination of them, or even all of them together. Any one will do, but doing all of them at some point throughout your day will ensure you are energized, and taking good care of yourself. It takes very little time, and will actually give you more time because you’ll be functioning at an optimal level. The benefits of these things go far beyond curing that late afternoon energy dip, but they all reduce stress, improve your mood, boost your immunity, and so much more! For less than a trip to the vending machine, you are increasing the value to your life. Another benefit, you’ll sleep better at night too. The positive benefits are endless.