There’s nothing worse than the post-lunch slump – especially when there’s so much to do. But luckily for you, here’s 10 fast fixes to boost your energy that will see you back to your productive self in no time!
Most of us have had the experience of the post-lunch slump.
Because we’re so busy, we’ve scoffed down our food without even taking a break. Now we’re getting ourselves ready to tackle the tasks of the afternoon. But before we can start, we’re hit by a wave of tiredness.
Next thing, we’re browsing on Facebook, checking our personal emails, or even putting our heads on the desk and sneaking a quick nap because our brain is so foggy we can’t even begin.
And this is all not abnormal. Our digestive systems are busy at work, which kind of explains why we aren’t. But unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to check out for the afternoon, or even save our tasks till later. There are things we need to get done and they need to get done now.
So if you want to counteract falling asleep at your desk, then try these ten fast fixes for the post-lunch slump.
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1. Eat the “right” lunch
Okay this is a little preventative, but it’s too important to miss.
What we eat matters a lot.
In the writing of this article, I had to break it to my husband that his go-to favorite lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches with white bread could be a sleeping pill substitute.
Most of us will have heard that the refined nature of white bread means that our bodies are flooded with sugar, which, after a brief high, also leads to a crash.
What’s more, the tryptophan in your brain increases. Tryptophan can help induce sleep, so you can see that while it’s a good thing, it’s not wanted right now. Tryptophan is also high in chicken, turkey, cheese and peanut butter, so add any of these combinations to your white bread and you’re giving yourself a double whammy of sleepy goodness.
Instead, aim for a lunch that won’t cause these spikes in energy. Cynthia Sass, author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim, says the magic formula for a meal is vegetables or fruit, plus a whole grain, plus a lean protein, plus a plant-based fat (avocados, nuts or seeds for example), plus a herb or spice.
However if that sounds like just too much work, then right now I’m loving chia seed puddings. The best part is that they are super easy to prepare and a batch can last five or so days so you can make it up on a Sunday and be set for the week.
2. Drink a couple of glasses of water
Much tiredness comes from dehydration, and just feeling thirsty is a sign that you’re already dehydrated.
If you can’t stop yawning then quickly knock back a couple of glasses of water to combat your tiredness.
Top tip – I have found that my daily water consumption is 100% related to the accessibility of water. If you are struggling to have enough fluids in the day, then purchase a decent sized drink bottle like this 1 liter CamelBak drink bottle, and have it right next to you on your desk, so you can sip it throughout the day.
3. Reduce the temperature
Chances are you’re doing a battle with your air conditioning unit most of the time. It’s either too cold or too hot. but never just right.
When it’s too hot, our energy levels start to wane.
Not only do we expend more energy trying to keep cool, but the heat exacerbates any dehydration you already have. What’s more, there’s a psychological connection between physical warmth and emotional feelings of warmth, so that warm office might be making you feel cozy, safe and unsurprisingly sleepy.
So if you’re feeling tired, then drop that thermostat setting to a few degrees below comfortable for you until you feel yourself start to wake up again.
It’s a bonus if you’re able to open a window and get some fresh air instead.
4. Give yourself a squeeze
Acupressure is an effective way to give yourself an energy boost. The easiest and least obtrusive method is to squeeze the pad between the joint of your thumb and your index finger firmly with your thumb and forefinger on your opposing hand. Hold it for three minutes.
5. Have a cup of tea
Rather than reach for a cup of coffee, try for a cup of tea instead. While both black and green teas contain caffeine, which will help to wake you up, green tea is also full of antioxidants and so does double duty on your health and wellbeing.
If neither of these seems appealing to you, Marie McKeown recommends either ginger, licorice, ginkgo biloba or gingseng teas for an energy hit. Ginger tea in particular is incredibly easy to make- simply grate one and a half teaspoons of ginger into a cup, pour over boiling water and let it seep for 10 minutes. Strain the ginger out then enjoy!
6. Stimulate with scent
Lemon, lavender, jasmine and rosemary, among others, are all perfect essential oils to use if you need an energy boost. It’s a matter of experimenting until you find the scents that a) you like the most and b) have the most beneficial effects. Try a set like Natrogix Bliss Essential Oils which contains many of the above. I am a lover of citrus smells, so anything in the citrus family works for me.
7. Mix up your tasks
If your energy is still lagging, then it’s time to look at what you’re doing. I’m a big believer in eating the frog, so I aim to have my most important job of the day done first. That gives me a bit of freedom to shuffle around my other tasks and to accommodate having a little less brainpower by selecting something that’s more grunt work than intellectual work.
On the other hand maybe what you need is to dig your teeth into something super interesting and exciting.
Even just changing tasks every 30 minutes might help keep you engaged and energized.
8. Splash cold water on your face.
Now this can be easier said than done if you have a face full of makeup, but I find it works really well to make me feel cooler and fresher.
If that just won’t work for you, I find a spray with a hydrating mist also works to make me feel more alive – particularly if my sleepiness has been compounded by the heat.
9. Get moving
If none of these tips are working so far, then it’s time to get yourself moving. Get out of your desk and out of your office. Take a brisk walk outside if at all possible. This has the double benefit of exposure to sunlight.
If you are working on a multistory building, take the stairs rather than the elevator.
If you have the flexibility to do so, consider having your daily workout at lunch time so you return to the office rested and invigorated.
10. Give yourself some LOLS
Whether it’s funny memes, cat videos, epic fails, or whatever it takes to give yourself the giggles, having a good laugh will not only make you feel more awake, it will also give you an endorphin rush. That means not only will you feel good, your stress levels will reduce as well.
To sum up the post-lunch slump fast fixes
There’s nothing worse than that energy slump you get after lunch – especially when there are things you just have to get done. But luckily for you, it’s possible that by eating the right lunch, drinking water, practicing acupressure or any of the other fast fixes here, you can beat the post-lunch slump.
Want to know how to manage your time better? Try How to use time-blocking to achieve balance.
Want to take care of yourself more? Try Self care for busy women.