Ah, the good ol’ afternoon slumps — the moment around 2 pm every day when you feel the exhaustion hit, a lack of energy overcomes you and you can’t seem to find the motivation to write out that 2 sentence email. We’ve all been there and we get it, the afternoon slumps are no fun.
As this time of the day rolls around each week, you may be wondering how to best combat the ever-so-sneaky approach of the afternoon slumps. But do not fret! We’ve gathered all of the best ways to rid your daily routine of this time, to be more productive, and feel more energized throughout your day.
Curious how to beat the dreaded afternoon slumps? Read more, below.
1. Eat a Nutritious, Balanced Breakfast
At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard your mother or school teacher say the old adage, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And while it may have gone in one ear and out the other, it’s as true as it ever was. Eating a nutritious, balanced breakfast plays an important part in restarting your body for the day, getting your muscles and brain working well before your day truly begins.
Not only does it kickstart your day, but it can also prevent you from snacking on less healthy options throughout your day, out of hunger. “If you start with a healthy, satisfying meal in the morning you’re less apt to nibble on less nutritious things during the day, which we often do out of hunger — you grab the first or easiest thing in front of you,” Christy C. Tangney, PhD, a clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center, says.
You can try cooking up a quick bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts — or if you’re on the go, grabbing a protein smoothie and some fruit — or maybe your office offers catered breakfast. Whatever works best for you, make sure to get your daily breakfast in before the work begins. This will help eliminate the afternoon slumps, in the long run, by providing you a basis of lasting energy for the whole day.
2. Incorporate a Midday Workout
Sometimes, life gets extra busy and getting in a workout can be put on the back burner. But working out is an essential part in getting those feel good endorphins going, giving you overall energy and a boost in happiness, even. If you feel the afternoon slumps approaching, try these options:
- Take a midday break to go to a cycling class. Sure to burn off a few calories — and get you pumped with awesome workout music — you’ll enter the office refreshed, again.
- Hit up the nearest yoga class on your break. Recenter, recharge and refocus.
- Can’t make it to the gym? Take a walk around the block. A 15-20 minute walk will allow you to get out of the office, stretch your legs and return feeling much more awake.
3. Switch Up Your Tasks
If you’ve reached the peak point in your day, and have been working on the same task for hours, it’s likely that you may experience some form of burnout or exhaustion, thus contributing to the afternoon slumps. We recommend switching up your tasks a bit, throughout your day, so that you work doesn’t become stale or tiresome.
Take a small portion of the afternoon to work on smaller, less imperative projects, that take minimal time. This will refocus you, getting your brain thinking about other projects, while changing up the mundane. Then, when you’re ready, you can return to working on bigger projects.
4. Get Some Sunshine
Similar to working out during your day, getting some sunshine can really refuel the tank. Being in a dimly-lit office all day, without getting outside, is not good for anyone’s energy levels. Fluorescent lighting has also been known to contribute to making office workers sleepy, unmotivated and exhausted over time.
According to Healthline, “Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.”
Whether you’re just sitting by a sun-laden window, or sitting on a park bench, make sure to get some sunlight in your day. If you live in a gloomy, cloudy area without sun, try using a sunlamp — a special lamp that mimics the natural feeling of the sun on your skin — to get a boost of energy even in the gloomiest months of the year and beat the afternoon slumps.
5. Listen to Music or a Podcast While Working
Reaching that time in the day? Try putting in your headphones and listening to some of your favorite, upbeat music or even an interesting podcast. It can help keep your brain alert, while you work, and can also provide a boost in your mood overall. Regardless of the type of smartphone you may have, music and podcast streaming platforms are available for your use.
6. Eat a Healthy, Delicious Lunch with Your Team
Have you ever eaten a heavy, unhealthy lunch and felt sluggish, tired or unable to concentrate right after? Just like eating breakfast is important, so is eating a healthy lunch. If you eat a less-than-healthy lunch, your body is sure to respond with the afternoon slumps.
Try eating a healthy, balanced with your team. Whether you grab a few coworkers and go out for a nice lunch, gather around the office lunch table and eat what you brought from home or your office provides catered lunch meals, eating a meal with your team can be energizing, fun and a nice break away from your desk.
7. Instead of Coffee, Try Sipping on Green Tea
While it might be tempting to chug that extra few cups of coffee as afternoon approaches, this could actually be aiding in the afternoon slumps. While a cup of coffee in the morning is okay, it is actually a better alternative to switch to sipping on green tea, throughout the day. Loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, green tea can help in improving brain function, fat loss, improved health and longer lasting energy.
If you’re looking to make the switch, try some of these ways to drink green tea and get rid of the afternoon slumps:
- Make a cup of the perfect, hot green tea by steeping green tea in one cup of hot water. You can then add sweetener (we recommend using Stevia or natural Agave Nectar) and even add a splash of milk or another dairy alternative like oat milk or almond milk.
- Try your hand at matcha. Matcha — a finely ground powder of whole green tea leaves — is extremely rich in fiber, antioxidants and is an excellent way to boost energy along with many other health benefits.
- If you’re not a hot tea person, try making a pitcher of iced green tea at home to take into the office in your favorite travel cup.
8. Make Sure to Stay Hydrated
Stay hydrated, stay hydrated, stay hydrated. While you may know it’s importance, perhaps you’re not drinking the amount of water you should. Drinking the proper amount of water — about 2 liters, or eight 8-ounce cups of water daily — to keep your body healthy, hydrated and moving. Drinking water every day rids your body of toxins, keeps your temperature normal, promotes joint health and protects tissue. When you’re properly drinking water, you’re taking care of your body, leading to better health and energy every day.
9. Avoid Nibbling on Sugar-Loaded Snacks Throughout The Day
Here, we take our snacks very seriously. Snacking can be a fun, easy way to curb your appetite until lunchtime, and get your brainpower moving. But it’s important to make sure that you’re not loading up on sugar-filled snacks, that often can lead to sluggishness, in the afternoon.
If done right, snacks in the office can improve productivity, boost your overall mood and aid in limiting the afternoon slumps. Try fueling up on these delicious, energy-boosting favorites:
- Nuts and Dried Fruit: Loaded with fiber, healthy fats and protein, nuts and dried fruit are the perfect alternative to snacking on potato chips.
- Give Us All The Guacamole: Did you know that avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that have been shown to support healthy blood cholesterol levels and heart health? Try making guacamole or avocado toast, with veggies, to bring into the office with you.
- Apples and Peanut Butter: A simple, yet flavorful favorite. Apples and peanut butter, as a midday snack, can provide protein, healthy fats and fiber to keep your day going strong.
10. Take a Break With Your Coworkers Over Conversation
Sometimes, all you need is a fun break away from your desk, with your coworkers. Chat about the latest episode of reality television, your favorite moments from your weekend or the change in seasons. Regardless of what it is, a little team bonding and conversation can get you out of the falling asleep at your desk funk.
Ready to beat the afternoon slumps? Ready, set, go!