I don’t know about you, but I think the Spanish and Mexicans got it right with their afternoon siesta. Never having been to either Spain nor Mexico (not for want of trying though!) I can’t ascertain the truth of whether businesses do shutter at high noon, to enable everyone to take a quick nap before they get back into the swing of things.
Personally, I’d like that!
For most of us who work, our days start at any time from 6-7am when our alarms go off, and we rub our bleary eyes before we wake up and rejoin the rat race. So, by the time the clock hits 12 noon, we’d have been up and about for at least 6 hours, and I think that calls for a break!
It doesn’t help that that’s when we break for lunch, and what with the heat and full tummies, and just low batteries, we find ourselves hitting that afternoon slump at around 2pm. So how do you beat that?
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself quite useless in the hours between 2-4pm. Now, don’t go tell anyone. It might destroy my credibility LOL! 😀 But it’s between these hours of the day that I find myself being a zombie, and operating almost on auto-pilot as my energy levels drop like a stone.
So, where possible, I arrange my meetings for the mornings, when I’m much more alert, and keep the afternoons for more mundane things. Well, unless of course it necessitates me using the ol’ grey matter, when I’ll find some way to keep my eyes open and my brain cells functioning.
But you know what? I’ve found one almost sure-fire way to beat this afternoon slump, and it’s not something you’d like to hear, but here it is.
As much as I detest the notion, I’ve found that getting active actually makes me get over that zombie-state of being, and makes me function better. I think it is to do with the fact that when you force your body to move, it boosts your endorphins and that makes you feel better. Also, for some strange reason, it actually helps me feel more energetic, and I function better as a result.
What I try to do therefore, is slip in a quick short walk/run on the treadmill, just enough to get the heart pumping. This seems to wake me up and once I’m done, I stay woken up. Other times, I do a short session of yoga. Although not strenuous like walking/running, the stretching and bending gets the blood flowing and makes you feel a little more alive as a result.
If you work from home, Tine has shared a tip that incorporates short breaks for exercise and while I can’t say that I’d be able to keep to that, I like the idea of taking a break and slipping in a short exercise session. You will find that it helps you actually function better, and might even help reduce stress levels.
But what if you don’t have the luxury of slipping off to the gym or rolling out your yoga mat? Goodness knows, sometimes, we’re trapped behind our desks, sleeping with our eyes open.
Well, go for a walk then, or get out of your chair and do some quick in-situ stretching. You can try slipping away from your desk for about 10-15 minutes, and just get the blood flowing. Sometimes, I just take a walk around the building, or just get up and get moving. This is what I think is key to beating the mid-afternoon slump – moving, so you raise your heartbeat and get the blood flowing, instead of having it moving sluggishly through your body as you sit at your desk.
Not eating heavy lunches help too, but I’ve also found that even if I eat a light lunch, I often get hit by that slump anyway. I think it’s just our body’s way of telling us to take a break. We’re not machines after all, and we can’t just function for over 6 hours at a stretch at full speed.
As for coffee? Don’t even go there. I’m an insomniac so while coffee will jumpstart the slumbering engine, it keeps it running long after I should be in bed, and that’s another problem I don’t want to have!
How do you deal with the afternoon slump? Have you tried incorporating exercise?
I actually stumbled on using exercise to beat the afternoon slump a little by mistake. I was slipping into a semi-comatose state at my desk, when I decided to do something productive instead of sitting there reading and re-reading a passage multiple times without understanding anything. Much to my surprise, I found that after my quick session at the gym, I felt better, more awake and suddenly, everything I was reading made sense. So, the next time you’re starting to feel comatose between the hours of 2-5pm, get up, get moving and see if that doesn’t make you function better! 🙂