Afternoon Energy Slump Got You Down? Perk Up With These Afternoon Energy Tips
Ah, the good old afternoon slump--it gets us all, and for those of us with desk jobs, it can be a daily struggle. That sleepy, tired, sluggish feeling isn’t a fun way to get through the last couple hours of your workday. Why does this happen, especially later on in the work week? Do you know the cause of your afternoon sleepiness?
There could be many reasons for your afternoon energy slump--not enough sleep, you got up earlier than you normally do, you’re under more stress than usual. Here are a few to consider addressing if you start feeling the 3 pm slump come on:
- You ate a high-carb, heavy lunch.
- Your body temperature could be low which causes drowsiness.
- You might be sitting still for too long during the day.
- Are you dehydrated? You could need a glass of water.
The most common way to combat the slump is to pour your third cup of coffee and hope for the best. But coffee gives you jitters and can interfere with your precious sleep cycle if you drink it too late in the day. Many of our go-to energy sources, including coffee, are even affecting our gut negatively. Caffeine slows down digestion and acts as a diuretic which causes harmful and exhausting dehydration. You need a non-caffeinated energy boost instead!
If you go for an afternoon energy boost without caffeine, let’s say a processed, sugary snack from the vending machine, you’ll likely get your jolt of energy for a bit. This is because processed sugars are absorbed by the gut much too quickly causing a spike in blood sugar--you come crashing back down when you're finishing up the last details at work (which are usually the important details!).
Be more strategic with the way you spend your afternoon break with these tips on how to avoid the 3 pm slump in 10 minutes or less.
Occupy Yourself With Something That Isn’t Work
When you focus too long on one thing, your mind can become tired and overwhelmed. Take 5 and occupy yourself with anything other than work. Text a friend, chat with a coworker, doodle in your notebook, or read a chapter in a book. Giving yourself a little personal time throughout the day helps ease work fatigue and recharge for your next task.
Move Your Body and Get Your Blood Flowing
Get your body moving! Sitting is a resting pose for hours on end makes our bodies think we’re at rest. Make sure to get your blood pumping throughout the day. Keep some weights or a yoga mat in your office, or bust out a few reps of sit-ups and push-ups every hour. Your blood will be pumping and your mind will be distracted from work for the moment. Then, when you step back to tackle your next task, your mind will be cleared and sharp to get things done.
Drink Some Energizing Tea
For a naturally caffeine-free afternoon energy boost, swap out your cup of coffee for a warm glass of herbal tea. Rosehip, ginger, gingko biloba, and ginseng are all energizing options. Green tea is also a great natural energy boost. The delicious drink is naturally hydrating, contains a bit of caffeine (but much less caffeine than coffee), and it’s loaded with antioxidants and brain-boosting polyphenols.
Rowdy Tip: Make sure to buy higher quality teas, as they are more potent. Cheaper teas contain more fluoride too.
Step Away From The Screen
Slouching over our desks and squinting at the computer screen is draining, so build screen breaks into your schedule throughout the day to rest your eyes and give your body a break from sitting. Walk down the hall to speak to your coworker face-to-face, or stand up and walk around the block. Take some notes or write down ideas with a pen and paper instead of on the computer. And be sure to resist the urge to pull out your phone during these computer breaks--otherwise, it’s not a screen break at all!
Eat a Smaller, More Nutritious Lunch
A massive meatball sandwich as a midday meal might taste delicious but it will weigh down your motivation and your eyelids. Aim for a smaller, nutrient-dense lunch that’s full of protein and low in carbohydrates. Prepare your lunch at home and bring it into work with you so you’re prepared and can rely on a healthy option. Try making a green salad with healthy protein or a quinoa energy bowl with greens and lean meat. And have some energy-boosting snacks on-hand for those afternoon tummy rumbles.
Drink A Healthy Green Juice
Bring a green juice from home or walk to a nearby juice bar during your afternoon break. Get all sorts of healthy, energizing nutrients into your system fast. A nutrient-dense juice will feed your body the nutrients it needs to stay alert and lively without having to eat a heavy meal that can make you feel sluggish and tired. Some of our favorite prebiotic juice recipes are on our blog, The Pulp Fictions of Juicing: How to Get the Most Out of A Juice Cleanse.
Nosh on an Energy Boosting Snack
With a smaller lunch, you may start to feel a little hungry around 3-4pm. Come prepared with an energy-boosting snack that can help you push through the last leg of your workday. Stay away from sugary snacks, as these might lead to a sugar crash and irritability in the evening. Hummus and veggies, Rowdy Bars, almonds, meat and cheese, and dark chocolate for energy in the late afternoon are our go-to snacks. We keep ‘em in our office so we always have snacks to give us some umph just when we need it.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Hydration changes everything. If you start to yawn, head straight to the water cooler and fill’er up. Downing an 8 oz glass of water can freshen up your mind, give you a boost of energy, and wake you right up. Plus your gut will be hydrated, happy, and will be able to better digest your lunch or afternoon snack.
Get Your Daily Prebiotics and Probiotics
Incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into your afternoon can promote positive gut health and keep you feeling great. Try a probiotic drink like kombucha. The fizzy beverage increases energy and is super refreshing. Or eat a Rowdy Bar! We use the prebiotic superfood, yacon root. The yacon root is not only good for the bacteria in your gut, but the root vegetable actually boosts your metabolism which increases your energy and mood. Bananas contain prebiotics too, so keep a hand of them in your office kitchen.
Try Taking a Power Nap
Did you know napping for energy is actually possible in 10-20 minutes? Shut your office door, jump into your car, or find a nice comfortable spot to rest your head and your eyes for a few minutes. The tricky task you’ve been stumped on all morning might just become clear to you after a tiny snooze!
Choose an Upbeat Music Playlist
Binaural beats got you falling asleep? Switch up your playlist for something upbeat. Tune into your favorite childhood pop singer or listen to your workout playlist for a bit. It’ll get you feeling motivated and energized and just might be the pick-me-up your day has been missing.
Go For a Walk Around the Block
Feeling consumed by a single task for too long? You probably need a short intermission and a change of scenery. Take a 10-minute break and walk around the block. Getting out in the sunshine and fresh air will freshen up your afternoon and clear your mind. Who knows, a nice stroll might spark a bright idea that will help you complete the task you’ve been stuck on all day.
Add Magnesium to Your Afternoon
Magnesium can really ramp up your energy when you’re feeling that afternoon exhaustion. This essential mineral activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps develop energy in the body. Keep a bottle of magnesium supplements in your desk drawn or snack on foods high in magnesium--sunflower seeds, edamame, or avocado.
It’s amazing what a few minutes of meditation can do for your mental energy. The moment you start feeling drained just before the end of the day, pause and find a quiet place to meditate. When you clear your mind and focus on breathing exercises for energy, you refresh your mental energy and ready your brain to take on whatever’s next.
Stretch Out Your Limbs
If you sit at a desk all day, your body probably gets stiff during a long day of work. Take a 5-minute break and stretch. Bring a yoga mat and stretch in your office or head out to the grass in front of your office building for some sunshine and stretching. Practice a few of your favorite yoga poses or shake out your shoulders. When you get your muscles moving and lose, you increase your energy while decreasing muscle discomfort.
Find a Reason to Laugh
Whether it’s reading jokes online, thinking of a funny story, or joking around with a coworker, laughing can be the best medicine when it comes to workday fatigue. Studies haven’t officially proven that laughing can boost energy, but it will put you in a happy, cheerful mood and get you feeling much better.
Write In A Journal
It’s not just physical boosters like movement, coffee, or snacks that can raise your energy levels. You’d be surprised how much of a mental energy boost you get when you tap into your mind and focus on what’s going on in your head. Pull out your journal and write about what’s been on your mind, your emotions, or your to-dos. Take the time to identify and release what’s been distracting you all day. When you can return to your workday with a clear mind, you’ll be able to focus all of your attention on your next responsibility.
Declutter Your Work Area
You’d be surprised the difference a clean, tidy area can make. Oftentimes work tasks get in the way and you’re drained by the end of the day--you don’t have the time or motivation to tidy things up before heading home. Take a short break and organize your desk. Throw away old paperwork that you no longer need, file away what you want to keep, and wipe down your area. You’ll feel energized with accomplishment and be in a go-get-’em mode.
You’ve almost made it through your day--you can do it! Give these Rowdy energy boosters a try and let us know which ones have been helping you stay energized throughout your workday. Or if you’re really feeling lethargic and need a quick fix, there are even quicker ways to boost your energy. Take a look at these 16 ways to enliven your Rowdy spirit in under a minute!