Delicious and comforting as they may be at first, caffeine and sugar can actually backfire on you when you use them to get over the famous mid-day downswing in your workday energy. If you find yourself feeling foggy or fatigued halfway through the day, you need to try these tricks! Here’s how to plan your smooth, slump-free day the healthy way.
Wake and sip.
Did you know one of the major symptoms of dehydration is fogginess and fatigue? I like to start my day by drinking a big glass of water (then coffee and cream, I’m only human). And I keep sipping water or fruit seltzer throughout the day. Bonus: If you’re full of water, you could be less likely to indulge in mindless snacking. (See our tasty hydration ideas here!)
Ditch sugary breakfasts.
Starting out your day with sweetened cereal, pancakes with syrup, or even a glass of OJ may be tasty, but it’s a likely cause for that blood sugar crash that knocks you down later in the day. Instead, try something high in fiber and protein and low in simple carbs, like whole grain toast with a little peanut butter or Greek yogurt with berries.
Where you munch matters.
Most of us want to hole up and eat lunch at our desk sometimes. But you’ll do yourself a favor if you get up and walk somewhere to eat, picnic style. Not only will you likely feel refreshed by a walk, but researchers at Stanford University found that you’re also likely to be a more creative thinker when you return to your desk after a lunch walk.
Smart snacking is a thing.
It’s a long way from noon lunch to a 7 p.m. dinner. Don’t bring on a hangry episode by trying to rough it without food. Set yourself up for success, not a sugar crash, by planning a healthy yet filling snack sans added sweeteners, like an apple and cheese or carrot sticks and mixed nuts. Figure out what time of day you personally feel the slump (it’s mid-afternoon for me) and break out your smart snack a bit before then.
Sniff something citrus scented.
Japanese researchers have found that in addition to actually making you feel happier and more comfortable, taking a whiff of lemon scent can actually help you be more productive and make fewer mistakes in your work. Try this and see if you notice a difference.
Take a mini yoga retreat.
After hours of sitting focused at a computer, you could probably use a little respite. My favorite online yoga teacher, Esther Ekhart, says that even five minutes of yoga at your desk can be beneficial for your workday. Here’s a free short desk yoga routine on her YouTube channel that I do and love.
Do what comes naturally.
If you’ve tried all our healthy tips and still find yourself regularly sinking into an afternoon funk, think of the old “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” adage. If you’re able to organize your day so that you leave less demanding tasks for the time you might expect to experience your slump, you can try honoring your senses and let your activity fit your mood (until you come out the other side).