It’s 11 am on Monday. You’ve charged through the morning, full steam ahead, getting the kids off to school, sifting through a congested email inbox and managing a heap of meetings. The amount of tasks you’ve accomplished in just a few hours seems enormous by any scale, but by midday you struggle to keep your eyes open.
Perhaps you turn to energy drinks or extra shots of espresso to make it through the day. The problem is, these concoctions are packed with sugar, empty calories and even harmful chemicals that can spike a quick jolt of energy then leave you feeling more exhausted than before. How do you overcome the afternoon slump without turning to quick energy fixes? The answers may surprise you.
What’s causing my afternoon crash?
There are two main reasons your body experiences the dreaded afternoon crash: first, your body’s natural circadian rhythm—the internal clock that tells you when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to sleep—and, second, the peaks and dives in your blood-sugar levels, which are directly correlated to diet and lifestyle habits. As such, you really only have control over one of the triggers for afternoon exhaustion.
How do I overcome the crash?
Your first meal of the day is also the most important. You may think you’re saving on calories by skipping breakfast, but actually, this habit will slow your metabolism and impede your body from receiving the nutrients to provide much-needed energy throughout your morning and early afternoon. Eating a balanced meal with whole grains, protein and fruit can keep you energized and ready to take on your day.
Surprisingly enough, exerting more physical energy throughout the day can actually increase energy levels. Even just walking for a few minutes or taking a few flights of stairs to your office can boost the circulation of blood to the brain and increase concentration. Physical activity may also help to cue creative thought by removing excess “clutter” away from the brain. Not to mention the calories you’ll burn!
Grabbing something quick and easy from the vending machines on hectic days might seem like your best option. Perhaps that jolt of sugar from a soda seems like just what you needed, until the dreaded crash. Opt for healthy, filling snacks, like a handful of almonds, an apple, yogurt and berries, a protein shake or raw vegetables with hummus. Stay prepared by keeping a bag of trail mix in your desk or an apple in your bag. By choosing foods with high protein, complex carbohydrates and high levels of vitamins and minerals, you’ll give your body a better chance of keeping up with the day’s tasks.
Pack a Lunch
Preparing your lunch each night or morning will ensure you have a nutritious meal on hand when things get frantic during your day. Avoid the temptation of grabbing fast food and further lending to an afternoon crash. If you must eat out, choose fresh salads or healthier fare at restaurants.
Don’t skimp on water. Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue. SlimGenics recommends drinking 80 ounces of water every day. Keeping your systems refreshed will help your body function at optimal energy levels. So when in doubt, drink it out! Thermo-Boost, our specially formulated antioxidant energy drink, is a great way to stay energized throughout your day while also giving plain water a delicious makeover.
Evenings are your time to unwind after work. Just one more episode, you tell yourself as your eyelids begin to droop. But fight the urge to stay up late watching your favorite re-runs. Instead, read a book for 15-20 minutes before bed and skip the extra shows. Kick the habit of looking at phones, tablets or laptops in bed as the bright light from their screens may keep you awake.
Skip the Sugar
Steer clear of snacks and drinks with high sugar content. Sugary snacks and drinks will spike your blood sugar, causing a rush that masks itself as energy. This peak in false energy inevitably results in a worse mid-day crash than had you skipped the sugar in the first place.
For many, caffeine in moderation is a great pick me up in the morning, but too much can become an unhealthy habit. Your body may develop a caffeine intolerance, meaning it will take more than one cup of coffee to get you moving throughout the day. Limiting coffee intake can also improve your sleep patterns.
Don’t let the afternoon slump get you down. Reenergize with these tips and take steps to improve your daily habits for a healthier, happier life.