Avoid the Afternoon Slump: Boost Energy Levels Naturally
You know its mid-afternoon when you feel like putting your head down on your desk and having a nap. Your eyes glaze over, the clock seems to slow down, and your ability to concentrate disappears entirely. You’ve hit the afternoon slump that affects so many of us.
Don’t fear, though, because there are natural ways to boost your energy levels and avoid the afternoon slump.
A natural dip in energy is, well, natural. But if you experience a lack of energy so profound that you can’t think about anything other than sleep, you need to do something about it. Don’t reach for that sugar hit, though, because it will just make you feel worse once the sugar rush wears off.
A few things that can steal your energy are:
- A diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugars and low in protein and fat
- Ahuge lunch that steals your energy in order to digest
- Insufficient sleep: anything under five hours a night is insufficient
- A dependency on caffeine or other stimulants
- Lack of regular exercise
Tricks and Tips to Boost Your Energy
1. Stay Hydrated
Every system in your body needs adequate amounts of water to function at peak performance. Drink at least one glass of water every two hours. You’ll have to experiment to find the “sweet spot” when it comes to how much water you need, but it’s best to aim for between eight and twelve glasses a day, depending on your activity level. If you work outside in the heat, you’ll need more water, and probably some added electrolytes, too.
2. Get Some Sun
A brief dose of natural sunlight can give you a boost. Go for a walk around the block, or just sit outside for a few minutes while you eat your lunch. The fresh air combined with natural light will make you feel much more alert.
3. Move Your Body
As soon as you feel tired, stand up and make your body move. Do some yoga moves, if you have the space, or just do a few stretches or jumping jacks. If you’re so inclined, do a couple sets up push-ups. This will get the blood flowing and some endorphins will go through your system which will make you feel great and relieve your drowsiness.
When you’re not at work, you need to make sure you’re getting adequate exercise. Focus on trying to go for a 30-minute walk once a day.
Weight training offers many benefits, as well: you’ll increase strength, endurance, and increase your metabolism. Exercise also helps you sleep deeper and fall asleep faster, so you’ll benefit on that front, too.
Avoid Future Afternoon Slumps
There are many possible culprits, as discussed previously. Here are some things you can do to avoid suffering from a mid-afternoon slump on a regular basis.
Eat a Good Quality Lunch
No matter what you might think, a fast-food lunch will not do you any favors. That burger and fries lunch is full of processed carbs, bad fats, and low-quality meats, plus a giant serving of sugar if you go with a soda.
In addition, avoid those floury, sugary lunches like buns, croissants, and donuts. Sugar and flour are two of the biggest enemies when it comes to health and wellness, for several reasons. Both sugar and flour cause spikes in your blood sugar, which results in a slump when that sugar gets processed.
For the best energy post-lunch, eat whole, natural foods like raw fruits and vegetables, cheese, some nuts, and some healthy, naturally-raised meats like chicken wings. Salmon or tuna salad without the bread is another good choice for healthy protein and fats.
Another great lunch would be a chicken and spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, a sprinkling of nuts, parmesan cheese, and a variety of other vegetables like cucumbers, onion, and sweet peppers, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Aim for a lunch that combines natural carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), some protein (meat, eggs, or cottage cheese), and some good fats (olive oil in your salad, macadamia nuts, or walnuts).
Avoid Alcohol with Lunch
Unless it’s a super-important occasion, you should probably skip the beer or wine with your lunch. Even one serving can leave you feeling fatigued.
Avoid a Huge Meal
A large meal, especially those heavy on carbs, will leave you sleepy while all your energy goes to digesting that food. While it digests, your brain gets less oxygen and nutrition.
No matter what you might think, those energy drinks don’t actually work. Sure, they might give you a boost for an hour or two, but once they wear off, you’ll be in worse shape than ever before.
Similarly, drinking a pot of coffee throughout the day doesn’t do anything to actually help your energy levels. You’re better off finding ways to naturally increase your energy rather than relying on stimulant drugs.
See a Health Practitioner
If you’ve tried all these tips, and still suffer from that dreaded afternoon slump, it might be time to see your health care expert. Some medical conditions can cause drowsiness, such as low iron or other vitamin or mineral deficiencies, hypoglycemia, and diabetes or insulin resistance.
Yoga is incredible for keeping your body & mind healthy. Ready to learn about how the power of food can also create a sound body & mind? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.