We’ve all heard of it, the afternoon slump where your energy level drops and everyone in the office reaches for a candy bar or third cup of coffee. Maybe you’ve felt it when working on a big project, or cleaning the whole house in one day. Eventually we run out of fuel and it leaves us feeling drained, overloaded, and maybe even stressed. So my goal is to help provide you with tips that will maintain your energy throughout the day.
If you hit the afternoon slump and you still have a lot of work to do, then the first step is to feed your brain. By giving your brain energy, you recharge yourself, and get your focus and drive back. While it’s important to take regular breaks, besides those trips to the bathroom throughout the day, sometimes our workload doesn’t really allow for it. From college students needing a cram session, to working moms needing to finish the errands, there isn’t always time for a break to relax and recharge. However, your brain eventually demands it. Your brain can be fed in three ways: with glucose, with sleep, and with daydreaming. No matter what your schedule or workload, these things are important to beating the afternoon slump. So, you must find a way to work them into your day and lifestyle.
Glucose is usually referred to as sugar, and is necessary for decision making in the brain. If you think it’s as easy as reaching for a candy bar or sugary treat for a boost, think again. Simple sugar usually feels good going down, but leads to blood sugar spikes. These help you short term, but eventually result in another crash later in the day. Instead, look to add complex carbohydrates into your diet. Complex carbohydrates are usually in things like whole grains, veggies or fruit. So, adding something like brown rice, sweet potatoes, or extra servings of green veggies or apple slices will help boost your brain. Extra bonus: try pairing fruit with a little protein or healthy fat. Think apples and peanut butter, raspberries and walnuts or mango and Greek yogurt.
Make sure you bring balanced meals to work and school with you, when possible. One trap that leads to afternoon fatigue is the never-ending sugar cycle. If you eat pancakes for lunch, you’re no doubt craving pizza for lunch, which brings on cravings for chocolate by 2 p.m., and the dreaded slump around 3 p.m. Learn how to meal prep from home and bring nutritious meals for yourself that contain a good balance of protein, fat and carbs.
Sleep is when your brain rests and recovers from the day. Getting enough plays a huge role in your focus and energy for the next day. Sleeping to “feed your brain” may come in the form of getting eight hours each night. Or, maybe a 20-minute nap? Both are great at helping your brain rest and recover, as well as letting your whole body recharge. Don’t count sleep out as something vital to your productivity. Often people skip sleep by staying up late or waking up extra early to get things done. But keep in mind, sleep is also important when it comes to maintaining focus and productivity. And, when you’re rested, you feel less tired, thus, combating the afternoon slump.
Another option for feeding your brain is daydreaming. Daydreaming increases glucose and decision making, which helps your brain recharge by taking the hyper focus away and allowing you to relax. Daydreaming can come in the form of meditation, prayer, or taking a walk around the block. It’s important to give your brain a break so it can recharge, and even as little as 15 minutes will help you rest and refocus.
How do you beat afternoon slumps? Comment below!
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