We’ve all been there. Your day starts off great but once you have lunch and get back to work, things start to slow down. By 3pm it’s come to a complete halt. You’ve hit the proverbial wall. How do you make it through the afternoon slump without reaching for your fifth cup of coffee? Here are five healthy ways to energize your afternoon so you can stay productive and accomplish your goals.
Move Your Body
Literally. Put the phone down, look away from the computer screen, and stand up. Sitting at a desk for hours on end can be straining. It can also deplete your physical energy. Studies have shown that physical activity can boost your energy and fight fatigue. So get up and get moving!
If possible, go for a walk around the block. Getting some natural vitamin D and fresh air is a quick way to reboot your nervous system. It’s like hitting the “rest” button on your mind and body. If you can’t get outside, just take a walk through the office. Maybe use this time to check-in with co-workers or your boss.
Stretch It Out
Stretching gets the blood flowing again and helps loosen up any tight muscles from slouching and hovering over the keyboard all morning. It can also help you breathe deeper by opening the chest muscles, again, getting that fresh, rejuvenating air flow.
Try this 6-minute Yoga at Your Desk video for a quick boost. It even has sub-titles so you can play it on mute and not disrupt your co-workers. Or check out these 17 easy stretches you can do at your desk.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is key if you want to keep your energy levels up. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. You can set a timer on your computer or phone that reminds you once an hour to refill your cup. Or you can keep a tally on your note pad. Drinking cold water is especially refreshing! Plus, having to refill your water bottle will give you an excuse to get up and move away from your desk for a moment.
If water isn’t cutting it, try green tea before reaching for another cup of coffee. It’s easier on your nervous system and has the added benefit of strengthening your immune system. While I’m all for the morning cup of joe, tea is a more beneficial choice over coffee when it comes to the afternoon slump.
Have a Light Snack
Food is fuel for the body and sometimes when you hit that lull in the day, your body needs a little something to keep it going. Stay away from the office donuts though. Crashing from a sugar high will be counterproductive. If you have a hard time staying away from those sweet office snacks, make some energy bites and keep them in the break room refrigerator.
Try bringing fresh fruit to work with you. It’s a great energy booster and won’t weigh you down. A smoothie is also a really great energy boosting snack for the afternoon. Nuts and healthy granola bars (read the ingredients!) are easy items to keep on hand at your desk, too.
Do Something Fun
Whether it’s a quick dance party with your co-workers or a phone call to a close friend, do something you enjoy that can take your mind off work for a moment. Maybe turn on some upbeat music at your desk or entertain your cubical mates with a standup comedy video on YouTube. Also consider saving your most interesting project for the afternoon to bring a little excitement to the latter part of the day.
However you choose to beat the afternoon slump, make sure it’s healthy, energizing, and fun. Get other people at your office involved for a sense of comradery and try out some of their ideas. You might just start looking forward to the afternoons and forget all about the times you used to fall asleep at your desk. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss.)
Give these ideas a try or come up with some of your own. Let us know, how do YOU beat the afternoon slump?