We can all relate to the afternoon slumps. They usually hit a couple of hours after lunchtime, and sometimes just keeping awake is a challenge. But before you reach for the caffeine, here are some other ideas that may help stave off those doldrums and give you the energy boost you need.
Have a Cuppa
Perhaps the concept of tea in the afternoon could be adopted by some Americans. Green tea in particular has a refreshing effect. It does contain caffeine, but it contains a fraction of the caffeine found in coffee, and its effect is much gentler. Green tea also contains antioxidants. If you find a warm cup of tea too relaxing, try iced green tea sweetened with a little raw honey. The honey will help boost your energy, too.
Take a Walk
Give yourself a boost by getting your circulation going and your muscles working. If you work in an office, see if you can get away for a few minutes to walk around the outside of the office building. If you’re at home, try walking outdoors for a bit. Getting out into the fresh air and moving briskly can help give you an energy boost.
If you don’t have windows or otherwise have little access to natural light, try putting daylight-spectrum bulbs in your lamps and light sockets. It’s amazing what this daylight exposure can do to lift your spirits and help your energy. If you do have windows, let in as much natural light and fresh air as you can.
You may already be taking vitamins, but many people take them in the morning. Instead, try taking them at lunchtime to help boost your energy in the afternoon. Make sure you’re taking a quality vitamin, too – it should be formulated to your stage in life, and many health professionals agree that your vitamins should be food-based rather than synthetic.
For some, a carbohydrate-heavy lunch can contribute to an energy slump later in the afternoon. Try focusing on lean protein and fresh fruit and vegetables for lunch instead, and if you have carbs for lunch, eat whole grain ones. Maybe you could have a salad with lean beef or chicken, or topped with healthy nuts.
When the energy slump hits, it can be very tempting to reach for something sweet, like cookies or candy. Your body needs energy, and craving sugar is its way of telling you – but whereas this craving served our ancestors well by driving them toward the ripest berries and fruits, nowadays it tends to drive us toward the pastries. Get back to your ancestral roots and go for the sweet fruits instead!
A combination of fresh or dried fruit and nuts makes an energy-boosting snack – think celery with peanut butter and raisins or trail mix.