Banish Afternoon Blues

We’re all familiar with the lag that comes during the mid-afternoon, when your mind suddenly gets sluggish and your body slows way down. Did you know that this is actually a hard-wired biological response to our core temperatures cooling down post lunch? It’s a key part of our circadian rhythm, but it can be really annoying when we have a lot to accomplish throughout the day. Most of us reach for caffeine or a sugary snack to pick us up, but neither rush will last long, and it always leaves us feeling more tired than before. So what’s to be done? If you make a game plan starting in the beginning of the day and follow these 7 steps, you’ll have more consistent energy all day long, and won’t feel burned out in the eveningIt’s the hardest thing to do on this list, but don’t hit the snooze button. Doing so makes waking up actually harder, which throws off your rhythm all day and makes focusing difficult.

***We’re programmed to wake up with the sun rising, so any time you can expose yourself to bright(ish) lights in the morning is good. It’s a natural way to ease your body into alertness and prepare it to begin the day.

***Cut the carbs (just a bit) and up your protein intake. Carbs provide easy fuel, but protein gives you consistent energy all day long. Think of it like gasoline vs. wood: carbs will burn bright and fast in terms of energy, but wood (protein) will make you an energy fire that lasts for hours.

***In the afternoon, try not to stay sitting. Take a walk, use a standing desk, pop by someone’s office instead of sending an email – anything that gets your blood flowing.

***Go outside if you’re able. Getting a change of scenery in the middle of the day can do wonders for your mental and physical health, and make you more productive and focused.

***Drink lots of water all day long, but especially in the afternoon when you’re feeling sluggish. Dehydration is often the cause of tiredness, and ice cold water can perk you right up.

***Finally, get a good night’s sleep. Make a plan (which should include a bedtime), and try not to look at any screens (phones, tablets, TVs) for about an hour before you fall asleep. It helps your mind wind down from all the stimulation and ensures you get the most out of your precious ZZZ’s.