Do you often start the day all energised and ready to tackle everything on your to-do list but come 2-3 pm and you just wanna crawl back into bed? You struggle to keep your eyes open and concentrate? Let me tell you, you’re not the only one.
The energy drop or the so called afternoon slump you experience mid-afternoon is normal to some extent. It is thought that the dip in energy is just a part of our circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock). Luckily, there are many ways to overcome this so you can continue with your day energy-full.
But before we start, there are some basic things that you should be doing to provide your body with the energy it needs to function properly. Those are the following:
- getting enough sleep
- good eating habits
- leading an active lifestyle
- drinking enough water
- rarely stressing out
These are the main things you should be paying attention to because they affect your body the most. Doing all of the above will not only help with the afternoon slump but will also improve your health and the way you feel on day to day basis.
If none of the things listed above relates to you consider making some lifestyle changes first. However, if you’re already leading an active lifestyle but still experience that afternoon slump, fear not.
I have for you a couple of helpful tips that you can implement straight away to beat the afternoon slump so let’s have a look at them!
8 Ways To Beat The Afternoon Slump
Pay attention to your meals.
Whether you’ll feel that afternoon slump or not mainly depends on what you eat throughout the day. First things first, breakfast. If you skip it you’re more likely to snack during the mid-morning, overeat for lunch and feel low on energy. So rule #1 here is Do Not Skip Breakfast!
Rule #2 is Avoid Heavy Lunch. Eating a meal that’s loaded with carbohydrates and trans fat will leave you feeling sluggish and cranky.
Simple carbs (such as bread and pasta made with white bread, baked goods, candy, cakes, etc.) spike up your blood sugar rapidly and, as with everything, what goes up must fall down. When the fall happens you’ll begin to experience the afternoon slump symptoms.
However, carbohydrates are the primary source of energy so do include them in your meal but replace simple carbs with complex carbs and watch your portions! Complex carbs include anything made from whole grains. Such as whole grain pasta, whole wheat bread and crackers, brown rice, etc.
Beat the afternoon slump and keep lunch light by reducing the carbohydrates intake and adding more protein, fibre and vegetables. Protein, fibre and veggies will help keep you feeling fuller than fats or carbs alone and also make it easier for your body to digest the meal.
Breakfast example – scrambled eggs with bell peppers on wholegrain toast
Lunch example – lettuce salad topped with low-fat cheese, turkey or chicken pieces, chickpeas and carrots
Afternoon snack example – fruit of choice (e.g. berries, banana, apple) + almonds
Simple tip to remember: The cleaner/healthier you eat the better you’ll feel so fuel your body the right way and you’ll notice a difference in your energy levels as well as overall health.
Avoid sugary and energy drinks.
It may seem great reaching for soda or an energy drink to avoid the afternoon slump but it undoubtedly does you more harm than good. Energy drinks and soda are packed with sugar and empty calories.
Their affects are short-term and can cause a worse energy crash than the one you’re trying to avoid. Glucose (sugar) spikes up your dopamine and blood sugar levels. It is rapidly digested so you experience an energy crash as those levels quickly fall.
This leaves you feeling even more tired and sleepy so skip these drinks and choose water, green tea or small coffee* instead.
*be careful with caffeine intake in the afternoon + opt for self-made coffee instead of store-bought
Get fresh air.
Whether it’s hot or cold outside, snowing or raining don’t deprive yourself of spending some time outdoors. Going for a quick walk and getting fresh air is a great way to beat the afternoon slump.
Fresh air helps bring more oxygen to the cells, greater clarity to the brain, improves mood, increases serotonin and energy levels.
If you spend the majority of your day sitting, whether at work, school or home, you need to find the time to stretch. Sitting and being inactive in general has a bad effect on your posture, muscles, circulation and cardiovascular system.
Due to all of this your energy levels are more than likely to drop. Our bodies are designed to move so when tiredness begins to kick in get up and stretch for 5-10 minutes. A few minutes of stretching will do a lot more than you think.
Stretching relieves tight muscles, increases circulation, improves posture, boosts concentration, reduces stress and improves energy levels.
Keep a water bottle handy.
Hydration/dehydration plays a major role on your energy levels. It is said that you should drink about 2 litres or 8 glasses of water per day. It doesn’t matter if you’re working out every day or don’t engage in any activities, you should keep a water bottle handy.
Dehydration can lead to fatigue, make you lose concentration more easily and worsen your mood. On the other hand, staying hydrated makes you more alert and focused, keeps your skin looking good, increases energy level and improves mood.
If you have trouble drinking enough water daily here’s a little tip – buy yourself a cute water bottle. This way your brain will associate it with something good, making it easier to drink adequate amount of water.
Also, if you don’t like the taste, add lemon or lime slices to your water!
Change your routine.
Doing the same thing at the same time each day can quickly become dull and tiresome. When you don’t enjoy what you do and you’re not interested then it’s no wonder you’ll feel tired.
If you find your current routine tedious change it up a bit. Do one thing for 40 minutes, take a 5 min break, then do a different thing for 40 minutes. You’ll be able to concentrate better this way and you’ll keep things interesting.
Feel free to add something new to your routine as well!
Call someone who makes you happy.
Having a bad day at work? Got a lot of stuff to do at home? Feeling down or stressed? While all of these things contribute to low energy and afternoon slump there’s one thing that can make a big difference right away. And that is calling someone you care about.
Call your significant other, mom, dad, best friend, anyone who you’ll enjoy talking to. There’s one rule though – don’t talk about what’s stressing you. Instead, talk about the things that excite you and get ready for an instant energy booster.
Listen to your favourite tunes.
What better way to beat the afternoon slump than listening to songs that make your foot tap, your head nod and your body move to the beat,…you know which songs I’m talking about.
Create a 10-15 min long playlist with your favourite songs and dance like no one’s watching! This is a great way to boost your mood, relieve stress and increase your energy for the rest of the day. Seriously, try it out 😉 and here’s one song you can begin with – click to boost mood.
These are the things that help me when I’m low on energy so I hope you found this post helpful. As always, I would love to hear what other methods you use to avoid afternoon slump so please share them in the comments below! Until next time,