America's Energy Doctor
It happens to us all: Sometime in the middle of your day, your energy starts to seriously wane. It doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone. Maybe you hit your wall at 11 am. Or 2 pm. Or 6 at night if that’s a midpoint in your schedule. But whenever it strikes, you really need to beat the midday slump, lest your performance suffer.
Your eyelids might feel heavy. Your entire head might feel heavy. Or your whole body might feel heavy. It’s hard to focus. You start feeling antsy for the end of the day. Every little task feels monumental. However it manifests, it’s important to beat the midday slump and rediscover your energy and ability to concentrate.
Don’t reach for another cup of coffee or a sugary, high-caffeine energy drink. These just cause spikes and crashes in your energy level. In fact, if you depend on them to get you through the beginning of your day, they probably contribute to the struggle later on. In general, it’s a good idea to stay away from certain energy-depleting foods if you tend to feel your energy drop out in the middle of the day.
Instead, try these simple, practical, healthy ways to refresh, recharge, and power through to beat the midday slump:
How to Beat the Midday Slump
- Do some stretches. Progressively stretch the muscles in your neck and shoulders, arms, back and stomach, glutes and legs.
- Go for a short walk, even if it’s just several laps around the room or a brisk trip down the hall and back. Walking quickly up and down a few flights of stairs will really get the blood flowing.
- Turn on some upbeat music you enjoy… something that gets your foot tapping, your head bobbing, your mouth smiling, your creative juices flowing, and your energy rising.
- Refuel with a healthy snack. A small handful of nuts and seeds, a piece of fruit, or a serving of dark chocolate are all good choices.
- Take a break to do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle or read an interesting article. Switching focus over to something enjoyable, mentally stimulating, and unrelated to what you’ve been doing all day can be very refreshing.
- Or, change focus by stepping away from your work to tackle something on your personal to-do list. Again, the change is invigorating, as is getting to check something off that list.
- Clean and organize your work space. It’s another way to switch your focus over to something else and still accomplish something to feel good about. Plus it gets you moving around.
- Don’t overlook the importance of making time in your schedule to rest. A 20-minute power nap can be a wonderful thing. If it’s not possible, 20 minutes of just relaxing and stepping away from digital screens can do the trick too.
- Call up a lively friend, family member, or coworker for a quick chat. If it’s someone you can count on to make you laugh, even better. The conversation will perk you right up.
- Expose yourself to natural light. If you can, step out into the sunshine for a few minutes, or at least move to another nearby location to let the sun hit you for a bit. Open the blinds if they’re closed. Our bodies are wired to respond to natural light by becoming more awake.
- Try some invigorating aromatherapy with a diffuser or just by putting a drop of essential oil on your hand or desk. Orange, lemon, other citrus fruits, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, and bergamot are common energizing scents.
- And, last but not least, follow these health tips for people who sit at a desk all day, if applicable. They’ll help you keep up your energy through the day and stay well.