You know that drop in energy that inevitably happens about mid-afternoon every day? You’ve had your lunch, you’re just over half way to the end of the work day, and suddenly your eyelids get that dreaded heavy feeling and you feel you could really use a chocolate bar or a giant latte to pick you back up again, or even contemplate packing it in early for a nap date with your cozy bed. Believe it or not, this is normal. Our energy level naturally drops at night before bed, as well as in the afternoon, but there are a few surefire ways of beating this dip in energy in the afternoon, and staying alert and motivated until day’s end!
I know, it seems like this is the answer to every problem that ever existed. But it kind of is! Our bodies are made up of almost 60% water, so keeping this replenished is essential for a vast array of bodily functions to perform efficiently, including our energy and brain function.
Ok, so everything in moderation… we know the holidays are coming! However, alcohol is a huge dehydrator and also impacts our quality of sleep. These two factors combined are a deadly combo for your energy level, skin, and brain function. Try to cut down on alcohol consumption where you can and you’ll guaranteed feel a difference. Even if you just make a deal with yourself to not touch a drop during the weekdays, this will be a start.
They’re not kidding when they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day! But you should also pay attention to what you’re eating for breakfast. Filling up on crap that will cause your blood sugar level to spike and then crash will have the same effect on your energy. Try to eat foods with complex carbohydrates and ample protein so you’ll feel satisfied longer and have a sustained release of energy throughout the day.
As the old saying goes, eat like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch, and a Peasant for dinner. Filling up on a large, rich lunch will focus your energy on digestion and give you a sense of inertia in the afternoon. Allow your brain juices to function properly without being distracted by digesting a massive lunch! Steer clear of heavy carbs and go for options like salads and soups with light protein for energy.
More and more studies are coming out about how sitting all day long is a silent killer! Our bodies were made to move, so if you’re working behind a desk it’s crucial for both your mental and physical health to take regular walk breaks to get your blood flowing and muscles moving, and to get a bit of fresh air. This will also wake you up, making you feel refreshed and rejuvenated and give you a second wind. If your boss is a stickler about your hours in the office, make the effort to come in a bit early so you can allow yourself these breaks throughout the day, it’s worth it. Another hot new trend- walking meetings! Run it by the boss under the heading of “workplace health and wellness”, they might just love the idea.
While it’s human nature to opt for the “quick fix,” especially when we’re crunched for time, it’s important to think about the end result. Sure, sugar is the quickest way to achieve a spike in energy, but the crash afterward will leave you feeling even worse than you did in the first place. When you start getting that familiar sweet craving mid-afternoon, recognize it as your body signaling dehydration or hunger, or perhaps a lack of movement causing drowsiness. Take a quick walk outside and grab a bottle of water, or grab a healthy snack like some carrots and celery. Whatever you do, say no to the chocolate bar!