01 May Eight Strategies to Beat Afternoon Slumps and Manage Your Energy!
The reality is that many people experience afternoon slumps. It could be too many carbs eaten at lunch, low blood sugar, or a variety of other reasons. While the cause is important to know, the key right now is to get your blood moving and get your mind and energy motivated. Here are eight simple tips to overcome the afternoon slump.
1. Eat smart. For lunch, eat light: enjoy smoothies, fruit, water, nuts, and proteins instead of heavy carbs that will take more of your body’s energy to digest.
2. Do the hardest project of the day first. If you eat your “frog” in the morning, rather than leaving the most difficult task to do in the afternoon, you will have other less difficult things to work on in the afternoon allowing you to look forward to the afternoon and fly though it.
3. Create an afternoon routine. For example: after lunch, do a 5-minute power walk outside, perform 10 jumping jacks, stop by the restroom, put cold water on your face, and get a big glass of ice water. Then come into your office, clear your desk, do a brain bump of all morning to-do’s, turn on the lights/music, get good air flow with a window/fun, and start working! Routines help our brains connect with what we want to do. Once you develop habits, your brain will automatically shift gears when you do the same activities.
4. Engage your body. Do things that get your body moving and that are “easy.” Stand up, sit on a balance ball instead of a chair; do things that keep your blood and body moving. Stay engaged with movement and let the momentum of movement keep you alert.
5. Give your brain a break. Save the more mindless and active tasks for the afternoon (e.g., errands, phone calls, filing, straightening, sorting). Tasks that require heavy concentration like looking at the computer, reading, or listening can work against your energy making it harder to focus and stay engaged.
6. Change the scenery. If you can, move to a different room. Do things to get extra lighting or air. Sit in a place that is suitable but not cozy (perhaps a natural environment to keep you from getting distracted when your mind is already wandering). Turn on some upbeat music. Let your environment keep you on your toes.
7. Play a game. Give yourself a goal or game to play. For example, if you get a project done or so many calls made, you can reward yourself by going home early, or stopping for a treat on the way home. Introduce some momentum and urgency to the picture to counteract the slowing force of your afternoon low energy.
8. Lastly, don’t fight it. If nothing else is working, take the 10-minute power nap or a 10-minute mediation time (set a timer). This will allow you to rest and then then focus and re-engage in high productivity. If you keep fighting it, you will have a longer period of low productivity.
Track your energy and look for the patterns of what works and what slows you down. Find the things that support you to be the most productive and attentive; try different things. When you find things that work, make them habits. Try to notice what the cause might be, if it is what you are eating for lunch, staying up too late, stress, etc. you will always do better to trouble shoot the root cause.