The mid-afternoon slump gets a hold on everyone from time-to-time. One minute you’re okay, then suddenly all you can think about is how much you need a nap. An early morning followed by hours of meetings, checking emails and making important decisions can mean that by 3pm our brains have decided they’ve had enough. This can be frustrating, especially if you still have lots of things to do.
But there is a way to battle the slump. In this article, we’ll reveal the long-term lifestyle changes and short-term solutions you can employ in your life to banish the afternoon slump for good.
The impacts of exercise on mental health are well documented, but did you know that exercise also combats fatigue? It sounds counterproductive, but a recent study has proven that sedentary people who start an exercise programme significantly improve their feelings of fatigue. Some of the most successful people in the world today count exercise as part of the key to their success, including Richard Branson and Barack Obama. If you don’t exercise regularly and you regularly feel tired, now might be the time to get active.
As little as 3% drop in water weight can cause a 10% drop in performance level. Your brain needs water to operate at it’s best. If you’re thirsty, this means you are already dehydrated and that your body and brain are already struggling to function at their optimum levels. You should be drinking 2-3 litres of water throughout the day to give your body what it needs to perform physically and mentally.
It can be tempting to reach for fast food or high-fat comfort food when you’re working really hard, but these will not help you to concentrate throughout the afternoon. Sugary foods will give you a short-term energy boost when you consume them but will also leave you feeling tired and hungry come mid-afternoon. Instead, reach for natural sugars like fruit. Thanks to their nutritious vitamin and mineral content and a healthy splash of carbohydrate, an apple can actually provide you with more energy than a coffee.
Go for a walk
Walking improves mood, increases creativity and is great for overall mental health and well-being, so if you get a chance to leave your desk and go for a brisk walk, you should make an effort to get up and go. If you’re too busy for a mid-afternoon break then why not incorporate your daily walk into your lunch hour? Getting out of the office for half-an-hour or so will help you to start the afternoon feeling invigorated.
Take an ‘inspiration’ break
It may not be feasible for you to leave your desk, but you can still take a break even while you’re sitting at it. Shut down your emails, restart your browser and take yourself on an inspirational jaunt around the internet. Research your favourite entrepreneur, look for thought-provoking speeches on YouTube or read blogs and articles from other business people online. Ten minutes away from your to-do list and a quick reminder why you’re working so hard in the first place can make all the difference.
Have a 5 minute clear out
There is a reason for the saying ‘tidy house, tidy mind.’ Admit it, your drawers could do with a clear-out, and your desk could do with a dust-down. Perhaps your inbox is clogged full of emails, your folders are a mess, and your bin is overflowing. Taking 5 minutes to give your desk a quick clear up and de-clutter can drastically de-clutter your mind and improve your productivity. It’s a mindless task, but it’s still productive, so it will stimulate you mentally and re-boot your brain for the rest of the day.
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