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Overcoming the Mid Afternoon Slump at Work

Man Falling Asleep at Work

Overcoming a mid afternoon slump at work isn’t always easy.  Especially when that sleepiness you did so well at shaking off in the morning starts creeping back in after lunch.

What you had going on in the morning often isn’t always happening the same way in the afternoon. Thoughts begin creeping toward the evening, dinner, your bed; seemingly everywhere but the tasks at hand.

But staying motivated in the afternoon doesn’t have to be difficult either. There are things you can do to keep those afternoon motivation killers away and get through the rest of the day.

Food: Food can be your worst enemy in the afternoon, or it can be your best friend. Most people become tired after eating lunch, and it’s why so many countries around the world take an afternoon nap.

Keeping that food sitting in your stomach while you doze isn’t the best idea for staying fit and healthy long-term, however. And not everyone has the option of catching a few Z’s after the sun’s reached its peak.

A better approach is to eat small portions of food as the afternoon wears on.

Keep fruits and healthy nuts like almonds and walnuts at your desk or nearby to fend off cravings, keep your metabolism going and help you stay productive.

Exercise: When you feel your motivation slipping at work in the afternoon, get up and get moving. Take a quick jaunt around the office, or do a quick activity like jumping jacks or push ups if your work space allows it. At the very least stand up and do a short stretching routing. Even a quick walk down to the water cooler will get your blood flowing, and help you refocus your thoughts.

Try standing up at your desk for a while; there are probably plenty of things you can do that don’t require sitting.

You don’t have to do a lot. A few quick exercise moves or full body movements from time-to-time might be all you need and, at the very least, are always better than doing nothing.

Rest: It might sound counter-intuitive  but getting a quick rest in between busy, or boring, things at work can really do a lot to keep you motivated and energized.

It’s recognized around the world, that everyone falls into the afternoon doldrums occasionally. Students in China stop work at three o’clock each day for eye finger massages and exercises.

Of course, you probably can’t take a nap at work. But just sitting back and breathing deeply while relaxing for a few minutes will do a lot of good keeping you focused and motivated to continue on until the end of the day.

A little caffeine: Obviously a cup of a coffee can give you temporary relief from that afternoon slump, so I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know there. But if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine there are other lower caffeinated drinks that provide a similar jolt like coffee does – without the jitters. Drinks like green tea, oolong tea and yerba mate are a few of them.

Green Tea typically has only 20-30mg caffeine per cup (compared to 160mg per cup of coffee.) but is able to provide a similar effect due to high levels of the amino acid L-theanine.

L-theanine has a calming affect that helps eliminate the jitters caused by caffeine, as well as aiding with concentration and mental energy. Exactly what you might need to get through those last couple hours of work.

While Yerba Mate has more caffeine than Green Tea, it still has 1/4 the caffeine of a 16oz. Starbucks coffee.[1] It provides it’s similar, non-jittery effect with a combination of caffeine and other similar compounds (e.g. xanthines)

Yerba Mate also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including magnesium, potassium, 15 amino acids, and the beneficial plant compound quercetin.

Do you have any tips for overcoming the mid afternoon work crash and staying motivated?


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