Many people dread the start of a new work week. While you may start the day motivated enough, it could end with you having to force yourself to complete necessary tasks. People often call that time the “afternoon slump.” Read on 5 Simple Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump at Work.
What Is the Afternoon Slump?
You enter your office around 9 a.m. You’re relatively focused, alert and ready to start your day. You take a break for lunch, keep working and notice you feel less excited about your work — you’re getting tired, have to force yourself to focus and count down the minutes until the day is finally over.
You may hear energy drink commercials describe it as “that 2:30 feeling,” but the truth is an afternoon slump can happen regardless of your shift time. It’s whenever you lose your motivation in the middle of the workday and just want to call it quits.
Not only does this period hurt your productivity, but it can also make you tired for your commute home or evening plans. Here are four ways to counteract this problem and get back to work with gusto.
5 Simple Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump at Work
1. Take a Nap
Taking an afternoon siesta may seem easier said than done, but they have many benefits. A short nap during your afternoon break can give you more energy, help you prevent eye strain and break up the day into easily-digestible chunks.
Many employers see the value in creating flexible work schedules or creating “nap spaces” within their offices. Having a nap during the day can lead to happier, healthier employees who are more productive.
If you start napping during the afternoon, it’s important to sleep no more than 30 minutes if you want energy. Sleeping for too long can disrupt your circadian rhythm while having too short a nap could prevent you from achieving a full sleep cycle.
If you don’t have a break in the afternoon, consider taking a morning nap or heading to bed earlier at night to boost your energy.
2. Get Natural Light
If you’re feeling sluggish on a sunny day, head out for some fresh air and reap the benefits of natural light exposure.
Artificial light can cause eye strain or overstimulate you and make you tired. You can avoid this by sitting near a window or taking your break outside. Research shows that exposure to natural light boosts your mood, helps you get energized and puts you in a better state of mind to finish your day strong.
An extra benefit is vitamin D. Sunlight exposure provides you with this essential nutrient, promoting mental and physical health. Just be sure to wear sunscreen if you spend a lot of time in the sun.
It might seem counterintuitive to move when you feel sluggish, but exercise is one of the most effective ways to help you re-energize.
More people than ever are working on computers in a sedentary environment. When you go a long time without a lot of movement, your body may feel tired and sluggish. You can ward off this fatigue by taking a walk, jumping jacks or investing in an under-desk treadmill or bike.
The movement gets your blood circulating, increasing the oxygen to your brain. It also releases feel-good hormones in your brain, making you feel content and motivating you to stay active throughout the rest of your work day.
4. Eat Right
Certain foods provide the right fuel your brain needs to finish the day strong. Eating lunch with a lot of carbohydrates and protein could make you too relaxed and slugging, and eating high-sugar foods could cause your insulin level to spike before you quickly crash, leaving your body exhausted.
Try eating lunch with fruits and vegetables to nourish and hydrate you, with some added protein and complex carbs to keep you energized. You can still have a mid-day treat, but you should cut back if your energy level sinks soon after. Of course, you should always speak with your doctor before making major dietary changes, as there is no one-size-fits-all eating plan.
5. Stay Hydrated
Research shows that around 75% of adults are chronically dehydrated. Not drinking enough throughout the day can lead to fatigue.
Water and other hydrating beverages circulate oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, helping you focus and stay energized. Without it, your system slows down, making you feel tired and weak.
The recommendation is to get around 10 cups of water a day, but don’t let those numbers scare you. You can get some of that through the food you eat. One way to stay on top of hydration is to keep a water bottle in your sight throughout your work day and sip it whenever you get the chance.
Beating the Afternoon Slump
It can take a lot of work to keep up your physical and mental energy during the workday. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep focusing on work until the day is done. These tips can help you work harder, stay healthier and enjoy your free time more than you already do.