Itís 11:00 in the morning and your energy is waning. Minutes seem to tick by like hours and your mind feels foggy. Youíve still got six more hours to look alert and act productive, so how do you cope with the afternoon blahs? Follow these six tips!
1. If you have a job that involves sitting at a desk all day or staring at a computer screen, take five minutes to stand up or lean back, close your eyes and stretch, especially in your shoulder and leg areas. Being seated all the time can make your whole body feel stiff and sleepy. A good stretch session helps limber up your body and gets the blood flowing again.
2. Avoid the tempting lure of caffeine or sugar-laden foods such as coffee, tea or chocolate. Caffeine may perk up your energy levels temporarily, but it also has a bad habit of leaving you sluggish after the effect has worn off. Instead, choose whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables to give your body the fuel it really wants! Eating healthier will boost your mood, elevate your alertness and make you feel better all day long.
3. Along with healthier foods, take a quick 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break. Just a few minutes will give you a burst of energy that refreshes you and makes you feel more alert Ė while burning off your lunch calories in the process!
4. Sometimes, afternoon slumps can be your bodyís way of telling you that it needs something. You may be feeling tired if your blood sugar is low (which happens especially after the effect of those caffeine and high sugar foods has worn off!). Packing a low calorie snack like graham crackers, granola, fruit or vegetable slices can give your body a boost and keep you from feeling hungry in the late afternoon and caving in to the urge to devour the entire contents of the vending machine after work!
5. Drowsiness is often a sign that youíre not getting enough water. Drinking more water throughout the day not only helps keep you awake, but also keeps you from feeling those hunger pangs that inevitably creep up in mid-morning. Taking a large sports bottle that you can drink from throughout the day is a great way to get your recommended eight glasses a day as well!
6. If afternoon fatigue is a recurring problem, it may be a side effect of medications you are taking. Allergy pills are well known culprits, as are some blood pressure and anxiety/depression medicines. Donít try to circumvent these effects with caffeine, otherwise youíll overload your body with stimulants while itís already trying to deal with drowsiness, and youíll feel mentally and physically exhausted. Instead, try a short 15-20 minute catnap. Youíll be surprised how refresh youíll feel when you wake up! (Donít try this at work though Ė I know itís tempting!)
If you follow these tips on a regular basis, youíll not only make it through the afternoon blahs, but youíll also feel better physically and mentally, sleep better at night, and wake up rejuvenated and re-energized the next morning. Make it a GREAT day!
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