Is it just me, or is the office clock rigged to move slower in the afternoons than in the mornings?
Somehow the after-lunch hours have a way of seeming interminable, as the morning’s caffeine wears off and the afternoon’s drowsiness begins to set in. If you pay attention to your daily rhythms, you’ll have probably uncovered a period or two where your motivation tends to wane. These are generally great times to downshift to mellower tasks, but what if you don’t have that luxury?
Sure, you could head back to the kitchen and pour yourself another cup of coffee, but there are better, less jittery ways to boost yourself out of an energy slump.
Take a quick walk
Nothing worsens the energy lag cause by sitting at a desk like … more sitting at a desk. Get your blood flowing with a quick walk around the block, or switch gears to a more physical work task (if you have one available). If you’re pressed for time, try to mix a walk into another task you have to do, like refilling your bottle from the water cooler on the far side of the building, or hand-delivering your report to a department that’s two flights up.
Get up and stretch
A few minutes of stretching will do more than dissolve tensions in your neck and help your posture – it can help unwind your brain, too. Hours of sitting hunched over your desk staring at your computer can really be detrimental to your body. That stiffness you feel in your shoulders, neck, and back today can actually lead to long-term pain and repetitive stress injuries if not attended to.
While most of us can’t take a yoga break each afternoon, you can learn a few stretches that you can do at your desk, like neck rolls, shoulder stretches, and torso twists. To get you started, check out Yoga Journal’s ongoing video series of office poses designed to be done in close spaces and normal work clothes.
It can be tough to focus when your energy’s flagging, leading to scattered attention and decreased productivity. If you find yourself grasping for a coherent thought, try taking a mini meditation break. There’s no need to light candles and sit cross-legged on top of your desk, but simply pausing to be mindful a few moments can be a great way to refocus your mind.
Visualize a favorite vacation spot, a quiet nature scene, or anything else that will work to take your mind off the present for a moment. Try out the Mindfulness App for short guided meditations.
Eat an orange
Oranges are tasty and healthy, and the quick boost of fructose and Vitamin C you get from eating one can help you through a slump. Even just the scent of citrus can have revitalizing effects, which some say is antidepressive and calming. Try keeping a vial of citrus essential oils at your desk for a quick pick-me-up, or stir yourself up a glass of Emergen-C for an energizing boost of citrus and Vitamin C.
Brush your teeth
Trick yourself into feeling like you had a fresh start to the day by brushing your teeth during the afternoon slump. This gets you up for a few minutes, gives your mind a mental break, and the invigorating rush of mint can help make you feel more alert. Plus, it’s good for your teeth!
If you don’t have your toothbrush handy, try popping a piece of cinnamon or mint gum for a quick boost over the fatigue slump.
How do you get yourself through a slump? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!