The afternoon slump hits scores of workers sometime after lunch, most often between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., while they have several hours to go before punching out for the day. It’s a little like the famous “wall” marathoners talk about, when the vim and vigor seem to evaporate suddenly and the finish line feels all too far away.
Still at work, we can experience drowsiness, battle lethargy, grow increasingly distracted, or even nod off a bit during this daily energy drop. We’re not lazy; we’ve just run out of steam for a bit. Popular wisdom blames blood sugar drops, human circadian rhythms, ongoing sleep issues, and excessive workload. Maybe or maybe not. Whatever the reason, the afternoon slump is a dragon to be slain daily.
|Adapted from public domain artwork.|
Try these 16 practical tips to boost on-the-job energy during the post-lunch lapse.
- Halt the hangovers. Could last night’s revelry lead to today’s lethargy?
- Step away from stresses. Are personal issues dragging you down?
- Skip the sugars. Do you tend to load up on simple carbohydrates at lunch?
- Rehydrate regularly. Guzzle a water, and see what happens. (Coffee and tea don’t count.)
- Catch some caffeine. How about an afternoon cola, tea, or coffee?
- Pick a piece of protein. A hunk of cheese or a handful of nuts might do the trick.
- Crunch a bit of chocolate. This isn’t license for a giant sugar binge, but an energy-boosting snack, like granola or a square of dark chocolate might help.
- Grab some gum. Chewing some gum can get your wheels turning again too.
- Get up and stretch. Walk it off. Fitness specialists advise everyone to get up and move at least hourly during the workday. Maybe they’re onto something.
- Interact for an instant. Instead of zipping of another text message or email, why not deliver it personally?
- Step into the sun. There’s something energizing about sunshine, or even bright lighting.
- Get some fresh air. If you can, step outside for a moment. Breathe deeply. Open a window, if that’s the best you can do right now.
- Start up a soundtrack. Got headphones? Crank up some peppy tunes, and watch your energy levels rise.
- Save the most mundane tasks for morning. Plan your most boring tasks for your hours of better focus and energy, whenever possible.
- Catch 40 winks. A tiny catnap can be an energy bonus, when it works. Maybe that’s why plenty of traveling sales reps find quiet places to park and rest for a few minutes each afternoon.
- Aim for extra sleep for a few nights. Sometimes this has to be a deliberate decision, or it simply won’t happen.
A little advance planning (and preparation), coupled with some on-the-spot self-awareness, can put some pep into a person’s step in that mid-afternoon valley of sluggishness.
Adapted from public domain image.