5 Healthy Ways to Beat the Mid-Day Slump
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A while ago, we published a post about the “afternoon slump”, and how you can fight it. Today, our blog features a real expert on this topic – and she is here to give us a more scientific explanation, as well as some more practical advice.
You know the mid-day slump all too well: 3p.m. hits and all of a sudden you find yourself deciding between an extra large bag of M&Ms and a nap—and if you’re at work, we know which one you’re choosing.
Unfortunately, within an hour or two, when that sugar quickly makes it way through your body, you’ll be right back where you started: riding the wave of a sugar crash.
Before you raid your emergency chocolate stash, take a deep breath and choose one of these healthier options instead. Whether you simply step away from the computer or make a big mug of green tea, you’ll be feeling more energetic and productive without the heavy sugar bomb and subsequent crash.
1. Step Away from the Computer Screen
Staring at a monitor all day causes asthenopia—more commonly known as eye strain. This can lead to blurred vision, headaches and brain fog, all of which you may automatically assume are signs of a mid-day slump.
Instead of making an assumption that will lead to a crash later, step away from the computer screen. Reduce this mental exhaustion throughout the day, not just when you’re feeling tired, by taking periodic technology breaks. Sit back to relax for a minute in your chair or chat with friend, just keep your eyes off the screen.
When it’s time to refocus, maintain about 12 inches between you and the computer to reduce overstimulation.
2. Plan For A Drop in Energy
The best way to beat the mid-day slump is to prepare for it. “It’s just not realistic to expect ourselves to be on all day,” says Carson Tate to Harvard Business Review. Tate continues, “Just as you wouldn’t expect yourself to walk at a brisk pace for eight solid hours, you shouldn’t expect yourself to be focused or think strategically for that amount of time,”
Keep this in mind as you make your to-do list in the morning. Plan hard work that requires a lot of brainpower and energy in the morning. Put tedious or less stimulating tasks in the afternoon, so if you’re feeling slow, you can still get everything done.
3. Munch on a Protein-Heavy Snack
High-protein foods help stabilize your blood glucose, preventing the classic afternoon sugar crash and subsequent lethargy that’s characteristic of the mid-day slump. Choose a protein that’s also high in healthy fats, or pair it with a healthy fat, for sustained energy—fat digests slowest of all macronutrients, making it great energy source.
When snacking, choose whole sources of protein and fat like cashews, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pepitas, edamame, organic nut butter or slices of deli meat (choose lean meats like turkey and chicken) with organic cheese.
4. Stretch It Out and Move Around
Being in a sedentary position often causes tightness in your muscles and joints because they aren’t moving or being contracted in any way—which they weren’t designed to experience. Luckily, giving your body the movement it’s craving is another great way to beat the mid-day slump.
If you’re in the mood for a good stretch, try this sequence of five stretches, which is specifically designed to do at a desk. Don’t forget to stand up and reach your arms overhead, and bend down for toe-touches.
If you know you won’t remember to get up and stretch, give yourself a reminder: ““The best way to start keeping yourself more accountable for your activity level is to get an activity tracker. You can set your tracker to vibrate on your wrist to remind you that you’ve been sitting too long and it is time to get up and move,” says Mandy McClellan, of Fit2Run.
Note that if you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can find one for as low as $45. Find more inexpensive options in this 2016 wearables pricing analysis.
5. Swap the Coffee for Green Tea
With the smell of a fresh afternoon pot of coffee wafting in your office, it’s hard to resist another cup. Unfortunately, high amounts of caffeine can keep you up late at night, making you tired for your next day of work—if you have coffee every afternoon, the cycle will simply continue feeding itself over and over.
Instead, choose a cup of green tea. This herbal infused powerhouse is loaded with antioxidants to help recharge your entire system with just enough caffeine to get you through the afternoon.
Constant demands clamoring for your attention can feel exhausting and overwhelming—particularly so when that mid-day slump hits. Next time fight back with these proven strategies to maximize the mind–body wellness connection and help you feel more energized all day.
About the author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.
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