One reasons workplace vending machines make so much money is because, by mid-afternoon, employees are often looking for something to get them past their slump. Usually this “something” is sugary or caffeine-filled, hopefully giving them the energy they need to make it through the rest of the day.
While this type of tactic often works, eating too many sweet treats can derail your goal of healthy eating and drinking a cup of coffee or energy drink too late in the day can make it even harder to fall asleep that night, further compounding your fatigue the following day.
So, if you normally struggle with a mid-afternoon slump, yet you don’t want to increase your waistline or wind up giving yourself insomnia, here are a few quick—yet effective—ways to keep your energy levels intact.
Set After-Lunch Goals
If you’re the type of person who feels energized after setting your morning goals, why not take advantage of this same effect after lunch? When you get through with lunch and are ready to get back to work, make a list of the top two or three things you want to complete before the end of the day. This will help reenergize you, more so than setting all of your goals at the beginning of the day.
Schedule Something Fun for the Afternoon
Even though you may still have to work, another way to avoid an afternoon slump is to use these later-in-the-day hours to take care of the tasks that you enjoy. Then, instead of sitting there and wondering how you’re going to make it through the rest of the day, you’re actually excited that the afternoon has arrived.
If you can’t do something fun post-lunch, at least stay physically active. The more you move around, the less time you have to focus on how tired you are. Plus, expending a little bit of energy has a way of creating more, which is one reason why health experts suggest that new exercisers commit to just 5 minutes of exercise a day. Typically, once they begin, they’ll keep going.
Eat an Energy-Boosting Lunch
The foods you eat at lunchtime have a direct impact on how much energy you’ll have in the hours that follow. Case in point: eat a big Thanksgiving dinner (complete with tryptophan-containing turkey) and it’s lights out. But if you fuel your body with energy-boosting foods, such as a salad with grilled chicken or a cup of veggie soup, your tummy won’t be begging you to sleep.
Grab Some Quick Zzzs
Speaking of sleep, if you work from home or have access to a place where you can lie down for 10 minutes or so, a quick nap after lunch may be just what you need to put some pep back into your step for the rest of the day. Just make sure you set an alarm so you don’t wind up sleeping the afternoon away, which will likely make you feel even worse.
Take a Walk on Your Break
Fresh air has a way of rejuvenating the body, as well as the mind. So why not take your afternoon break and head outdoors? Go for a nice brisk walk and, by the time you get back, you’ll be ready to dive back into work.
Consider Why You’re So Tired
Afternoon slumps can be caused by a number of things, from not getting enough sleep the night before to feeling as if your life doesn’t have purpose. Therefore, until you identify the real reason you get tired after lunch, you’re a dog chasing its tail. Admittedly, the reasons may change from time to time, but if you find a common theme, it’s worth paying attention to it.