All you really want to do is eat a candy bar and veg out but you’ve got at least two more hours to go. The dreaded 3 o’clock slump is here. The worst part is that even if you get through it today you’ll find yourself battling it again tomorrow and the day after that. When you’re tired and grumpy you tend to make the worst possible decisions for your body—continuing that vicious cycle.
Rather than succumbing to caffeine-induced coffee highs, gimmicky energy drinks loaded with chemicals, or a raid on the office vending machine, here are 5 simple ways to energize your afternoon.
1. Listen to your Circadian Rhythms
You’ve heard this advice before. This is not just about sleeping more. This is about sleeping when you should. Everything about our world tells us to fight our normal sleep patterns and stay up late. Do yourself a favor and get into a routine of going to bed at a decent hour and waking up at the same time. Every day. Get at least 7-8 hours a night and soon you’ll stop even using your alarm, making getting out of bed a beautiful part of your day. Your afternoon sleepiness will diminish and you’ll have a whole new way of looking at the world.
Don’t discount a power nap for revitalizing your afternoon. Research out of Harvard sleep studies show that a short nap in the afternoon, one of our naturally lowest times of day, can make you a more effective problem solver and more alert. Just be sure to keep your nap short. If you sleep too long you have the problem of post-nap grogginess. Even a few minutes of sleep in a dark, cool, quiet place (your car in the parking garage?) can be beneficial.
2. Blend up a Green Monster
While you might become “that guy” at the office, it will be totally worth it to bring your single serving blender, like a bullet, to work to make yourself a green, blended drink. Try a few recipes (be careful to stay away from too much added sugar) and make ahead. Freeze a small ziploc of fruit and add some greens powder or a couple handfuls of spinach, and you’ll be happily disturbing the cubicle snoozers for an energizing smoothie.
3 PM Slump Buster
- 2 handfuls spinach
- half a fuji apple, chopped
- lemon juice
- 1/2 C frozen strawberries
- ice water
- honey if needed
Blend together until smooth and drink!
You’ll never be able to combat the blood sugar lows of poor lunch choices. While you can eat healthy take out lunches, most of us end up ordering whatever greasy sandwich speaks to our stomachs. The nutrition is only part of it; portion size is a problem when eating out too. Overeating at lunch is bound to leave you full and sleepy soon after. If you plan in the morning, when your goals for the day are still in tact, you will probably make better decisions for lunch. Think protein and veggies, which helps you to avoid that carb serotonin production, to keep yourself on your toes.
4. Drink Your Seeds
Chia seeds are a hot food trend for good reason. They are not only filling and hydrating, they are great for long-term food storage and provide a dense source of energy through protein and healthy Omega fats, not to mention a host of other nutrients. Instead of spending $4 per chia seed drink at your local healthy food store, make your own by soaking 2 Tablespoons of seeds in 1 Cup water mixed with 1 Cup of your choice of juice for at least 15 minutes. Just water is fine, too. Shake together your drink in the morning, put it in a mason jar, and leave it in the break room fridge until you need it.
5. Pump for Five
It might seem counter-intuitive to exercise when you’re feeling tired, but it may be exactly what you need to get a little push through the afternoon. Your capacity for aerobic strength is increased through regular exercise, of course, but even the short term benefits of heating up your body’s temperature and exposure to sunlight will help give you a boost. Give yourself five minutes: go for a brisk walk outside, do yoga moves on your building’s rooftop, or pull out some dumb bells from under your desk and pump a few. For an extra bonus, schedule your lunch break for the early afternoon and hit the gym for a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout for twenty minutes.
How do you beat your slump? Share your ideas in the comments, please!