Many people power through their morning work but find their energy levels dipping in the afternoon; the ‘afternoon slump’ is a real feeling and usually hits between the hours of 1pm and 3pm. Most people would say a quick 15-minute snooze would be their number one choice to replenish their energy levels but as most workplaces don’t allow their employees to nap in the middle of the day, we’re afraid this option is likely off the table.
However, don’t fret, there are plenty of other ways for you to recharge when your energy levels are drained. These simple tips will help you be productive through to the end of the day.
1. Get Outside
Get away from your desk and head outside for a quick 10-minute walk around the block. Better still, have your lunch outside and split the time between eating and a walk. A dose of fresh air will help reset your internal clock and keep down the amount of melatonin (the sleep hormone) your body produces during the afternoon energy dip.
2. Eat Protein-Rich Lunches
Carb heavy lunches like pasta and mega sandwiches are delicious but they can make you feel sleepy. This is because carbs allow the brain to produce happy and calming chemicals like serotonin (also known as the happy chemical) and tryptophan (the chemical that creates sleepiness). If you find yourself crashing early in the afternoon, your lunch could be the reason why. Swap your meat and cheese sandwich for a protein-rich lunch like a salad with chicken and eggs or tofu and chickpeas. You need to fuel your body with the right substance to avoid the need for an afternoon nap.
3. Be Social
Talking to your colleagues – instead of sending them an email – is a great way to restore your energy levels. Make the effort to get up and talk to your colleagues; for example, if you’re going for a tea or coffee in the work kitchen, ask someone if they want to come for the walk. Or plan group activities for the afternoon. Whether it’s a meeting to go through proposals or a brainstorm session for the next big campaign, schedule these activities for the afternoon. Human interaction can work wonders for your energy levels.
4. Do Some Isometric Exercises
Isometric exercises reduce stress, increase your energy, and clears your mind. Better yet, they involve nothing more than tensing a muscle and holding it. Take 15 minutes in the afternoon and do a couple of these exercises at your desk. Here are some examples:
Chair leg extension: Press your tailbone firmly against the back of the chair. If the chair is adjustable, move the height so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. Lightly grasp the armrests or the edges of the seat pad. Keeping your back straight and looking straight ahead, slowly extend your right leg with your foot flexed toward your shin. At the top of the movement, your leg should by fully extended. Slowly return to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions, then repeat with your left leg.
Hand press: Sitting upright in your chair, grasp your hands together in front of your chest and firmly press them together. Make sure you continue to breathe throughout the exercise. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat four more times.
Overhead press: Sitting upright in your chair, flex your elbow so that your left hand is in front of your left shoulder and your right hand is in front of your right shoulder. Your elbows should be lightly flared out to the sides, just below shoulder-level. Lightly clench your fists with palms facing forward. Next, fully extend your elbows without locking them out, with your hands moving toward the centre over your head. Slowly return to the starting position. Complete 10 reps.