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Most Effective Ways to Overcome the Post-Lunch Dip in Energy

Most Effective Ways to Overcome the Post-Lunch Dip in Energy

You know the feeling – it’s early afternoon and you are doing everything you can to fight off yawns and avoid microsleeps.

We all naturally experience a midday slump, and it’s due to fluctuations in our internal circadian rhythms. For most people, this dip occurs between 2:00 p.m and 4:00 p.m. During this time, your body temperature decreases and alertness also declines. This flux leaves many people yawning at their desks after lunch and reaching for an extra cup of coffee or sugary pick-me-up. Although the post-lunch dip in energy has biological roots, there are a few ways you can help yourself stay focused and alert through the afternoon by choosing smarter foods and incorporating a few energy-boosting habits into your routine.

1. Choose smarter foods.

Sugary foods and simple carbs can provide a short burst of energy, but may leave you yawning again in no time. On the other hand, foods with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates preserve energy for hours. The idea is to maintain blood glucose levels in order to minimize your energy dip. Here are few smart foods to have on hand for afternoon snacks:

  • Protein rich snacks like boiled eggs, cheese, turkey, smoked salmon or almonds.
  • Chocolate, particularly flavanol-rich dark chocolate or even low-sugar cacao nibs.
  • Apples, oranges and blueberries are also rich in flavonoids and easy to bring along.
  • Staying hydrated with plenty of plain water helps boost alertness.
  • Green tea and black tea are rich in energy-boosting compounds including caffeine.

Other tips include eating a breakfast rich in healthy carbohydrates which helps sustain energy throughout the day, and avoiding overeating at lunch which can contribute to drowsiness.

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    2. Take a very short nap after lunch.

    Napping is an effective way to boost energy in the afternoon, if it’s done right. If your goal is to overcome drowsiness, the ideal midday nap is between 10 and 20 minutes. Longer naps can actually make you feel more drowsy upon waking, so its best to keep them short.

    Take your nap during the time you usually feel tired if possible, making sure to set an alarm so you’ll definitely wake up. Once up, do some quick stretching or jumping jacks and drink some water to get energized. If you are partial to caffeine, studies suggest consuming it before your short nap for the best effects.

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      3. Get moving or take a walk if you feel tired.

      Sitting at a desk for hours can also contribute to drowsiness, and boredom as well. During your afternoon slump, make it a point to get the blood flowing with a little activity every so often. A walk outside in the sunshine might be best, but even a jaunt to the water-cooler, running in place or jumping jacks for a few minutes can all be beneficial for alertness. Periodic activity could have other health benefits for sedentary workers, too.

      Walking In Office

        4. Have a sweater or jacket at your desk if you feel cold.

        An internal temperature drop is a key part of the circadian pattern that contributes to the post-lunch energy dip. Keep a sweater or jacket around to warm yourself back up and fight the yawns, especially if your workplace is on the cooler side.

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          5. Keep rooms brightly lit or sit by a window.

          Light also plays a role in circadian rhythms, and getting plenty of natural sunlight in the afternoon can be helpful for limiting drowsiness and for normalizing sleep schedules as well. Sit by a window if you can, or keep your workspace brightly lit if there are no windows nearby. Dimmer rooms can make nodding off harder to resist.

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            6. Get a good laugh in.

            Another instant way to fight mental fatigue is to simply laugh. Laughter engages mood and cognition-boosting chemicals in your brain, helping you feel better, less stressed and feel more alert. Take a look your favorite funny YouTube videos, browse quiet giggle-inducing GIFs, or share a funny story with colleagues – all in the name of productivity.

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              7. Practice good sleep habits at night.

              Sleeping well at night and practicing good sleep hygiene also helps avoid daytime fatigue. Make sure you are allowing yourself adequate sleep time every night (at least seven hours for most adults), and try to stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule every day. An evening routine with sleep-friendly habits can also help.

              Time for Sleep

                Though some of these tips may seem a little counterintuitive, science shows that energy-boosting foods, activity, light, naps and even laughter can work to counteract your body’s natural afternoon dip in energy. Naps and activity breaks in particular can actually make people even more productive and creative, boosting alertness and contributing to physical and mental health. Now there’s no excuse not take a siesta and jump around at work!

                Share: What do you do to get through the post-lunch dip in energy? Have you tried any of the hacks above?

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                Last Updated on May 23, 2019

                Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

                Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

                How do you usually go about your day?

                Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

                We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

                To me, that seems…off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

                Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

                With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

                So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

                Work Life Harmony Explained

                The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple. With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

                Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

                Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

                Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

                He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

                He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

                As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

                Rethink Time Management

                Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives?Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

                This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

                With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

                Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

                As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

                In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

                When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

                Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

                Have Passion for What You Do

                Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life. One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

                For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

                So have a think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

                Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

                Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

                When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

                Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

                Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

                If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

                Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

                Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

                Delegate When You Need To

                Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

                If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

                At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

                While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

                Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

                If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

                Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

                Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be.Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

                It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

                These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony. 

                Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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