Even with a restful sleep the night before, we may still experience the dreaded midday slump. Unfortunately, this period of low energy occurs during peak productive hours at work and as the kids arrive home from school. There is still half the day left to get through and taking a power nap is unfortunately not always an option. Before reaching for the second, maybe third cup of coffee, take these four steps to create a better afternoon:
Snack right. It is important to prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low, triggering fatigue and irritability. Try snacking on nutrient dense foods that are low in sugar such as a variety of nuts, delicious berries and savory hummus. Avoid meals and snacks that are high in simple carbohydrates, as those will cause you to crash a short time later.
Stay hydrated. Hydration is a vital part of improving our midday energy levels. When we are dehydrated our brain and body become extremely lethargic. Sips of cold water throughout the day can increase alertness and cognitive thinking.
Stretch. A nice big stretch in the morning is how most of us get out of bed and start our day, so why not give it a try during those afternoon slumps? Stretching increases circulation and improves the flow of oxygen. This invigorates the body and rejuvenates the mind.
Sunlight. Sunlight has a direct influence on our mood. Exposure to sun promotes the production of vitamin D and serotonin, both of which alleviate symptoms of depression. To fight fatigue, get outside. A ten-minute walk or a lunch break spent outside can drastically boost your energy level and improve productivity.
Excess exhaustion can wreak havoc on our emotional, physical and mental health. When we are tired we become irritable, anxious and our cognitive function plummets. This mental stress can lead to increased difficulty practicing essential skills such as emotional regulation, mindfulness and distress tolerance. Try these four steps to improve not only your energy throughout the day, but emotional wellness as well.