Mid-day slumps have been attributed to a variety of things including a body’s natural sleep cycle and our lower afternoon body temperature. They’re real, and you can do things to help keep yourself alert, energetic and feeling healthy.
Don’t reach for that candy bar, or caffeinated beverage when you feel tired during the day. You may get a quick energy boost, but these can also lead to returned fatigue later in the day, and really aren’t good for your overall health.
Eat, Drink and Move to create sustained energy throughout the day:
What and when you eat matters. Don’t skip a meal, especially breakfast. You’re less likely to be active
and can be more lethargic in the morning if you skip breakfast. People who eat breakfast also tend to
eat overall fewer calories throughout the day and are healthier in general.
- Eat unrefined carbs and foods with fiber such as oatmeal, blueberries, oranges, legumes (beans), broccoli, asparagus, spinach and kale for meals and snacks instead of refined carbohydrates like candy and sweet baked goods. These provide energy for your body but keep you from having a sugar crash.
- Lean protein like nuts, plain yogurt, and hummus help you to have sustained energy.
- Eat small amounts frequently throughout the day instead of skipping meals. This will help to keep you from overeating at meals.
Drink more water not more coffee! Tiredness and loss of concentration are both symptoms of dehydration. Drinking water can curb your appetite for sweets and caffeine. On the other hand, too
much coffee (or caffeine drink) can cause you to feel tired later in the day. If you have caffeine later in the day you also may get less sleep. This becomes a cycle of not enough sleep, more caffeine to stay alert and on and on.
Move. Get up and walk around, and if you can, walk outside. The exercise and exposure to natural light are both good for you and will help you to think through problems, will reduce stress and improve
- If you can’t get out of your workspace for a walk you can at least stretch for brief periods of time. Even these short bursts of activity can help improve awareness and productivity.
- Switch tasks and get up and move to do something different. Choose to do those tasks that interest you more for the afternoon, and those that are demanding to you for the morning if that’s when your energy levels are highest.
- Interact with people in the afternoon. Check in with colleagues or take a quick break and check in with family or friends. Try to move away from your workspace to do this, at least get up and move around when you make phone calls.
Most importantly pay attention to the habits that keep you healthy and happy. Check in with your doctor if you feel that your mid-day fatigue is unusual or if you have tried the techniques listed here and they haven’t helped you to be more productive.
Source: Complete Wellness Solutions. Completely Well Newsletter, January 2023