Beat the 3pm slump!
Having spent the better part of a decade working in corporate environments, the mid-afternoon energy slump (along with an overflowing Inbox and a jam-packed Outlook calendar) continues to be a one of the biggest pain points in my day.
Even when I’ve had the requisite eight hours sleep, come 3pm it’s becoming more and more difficult to fight the urge to crawl under my desk and curl into a ball for a cheeky nanna nap.
So, until the rest of the corporate world catches up with Arianna Huffington’s advice to install nap rooms in offices, I’ve had to get creative.
Here’s how to stop the slump from becoming a slide into the end of the day:
How to take on mid-afternoon fatigue like a boss
First, get up. Literally stand up and step away from your desk. It might sound obvious, but I often find that by 3pm I’ve been glued to my computer screen for more than five hours straight.
Humans weren’t made to sit all day. Getting up and walking around the office, up and down the stairwell or (even better) outside in the fresh air will get that blood pumping again. You’ll feel refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to take on the rest of the afternoon. Also, by giving your brain a break will give you the added bonus of perspective – maybe you’ll see an issue from a different angle and come up with the perfect solution.
Your best friend, coffee
While you’re outside, you may as well grab a coffee.
But isn’t coffee bad for you?
Nope, you don’t need to give up coffee – a number of studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a lowered risk of dying from diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers, and that coffee drinkers tend to live longer than those who go without.
Eat your lunch
No matter how tight a deadline is, don’t skip a meal. Your brain needs fuel to run. If you don’t have time to buy your lunch, prepare it in advance by cooking these meals in bulk on Sunday. Stick to high protein and moderate carb recipes to avoid the dreaded pasta-induced coma.
Eat away from your desk
We are all guilty of this one.
It’s time to get out of the habit of eating at your desk. Why? Because it’s stifling your creativity. “Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It’s also detrimental to doing that rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha’ moment.” [Business Insider]
So, find an empty meeting room with a great view and take it all in while enjoying your quinoa salad.
Get your sweat on
If you’ve got a presentation in the afternoon, working out during your lunch break could help. “It’s no secret that exercise can help raise your general sense of well-being, but it’s been proven to help out a lot in the confidence department. As confident employees typically go far in an organization, spending some time to help tone up will be a win-win. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll act better as well.” [Bustle]
Desk stretches & stairwell squats
Don’t have time to hit the gym or escape outside? Here are a few exercises you can do at your desk without looking weird. Or, find a spare meeting room and try these five stretches. Smashing out a set of squats in the emergency stairwell is also a great way to get the blood pumping again.
Breathe, 1, 2, 3, 4…
Grab your phone and headphones and make your way to the nearest (you got it) stairwell. Download the Headspace app and chill your bean for a few minutes. The restorative benefits of meditation are well documented: we all know that “it helps you to relax, yes, but it also changes the makeup of your brain to improve your cognitive abilities.” [Iris Lillian]
Sugar: friend or foe?
Before reaching for the lollie jar, stop, collaborate and listen.
In my last job, I sat adjacent to a giant jar of sweets. “Heaven” I thought on my first day. But with work stress skewing my normally sensible food choices, meal breaks consisted of pushing back on my wheelie chair and getting my mitts around handfuls of Haribo.
DON’T DO THIS.
It’s tempting to get a quick sugar hit and press on, but this is a bad long-term solution. Your teeth and tummy will not thank you.
So, when you feel the urge to indulge, consider whether it is really a sugar craving or are you just bored or procrastinating?
Healthy snacks with your team
This is a fun one.
Take it in turns with your office crew to bring in or make healthy snacks. Think seasonal fruit, Greek yoghurt with berries, hummus and carrot sticks, or if you’re a baker whip up these Cherry Ripe Bliss Balls. Not only is this activity the perfect distraction from that heavy eye-lid feeling, you’ll also get to know your colleagues a little better.
Walk and talk
Anticipate the slump by scheduling a call or a meeting at 2:30pm. Go one step further and take the meeting outside the office. Anything to get you out of your chair and moving!
How do you manage the dreaded 3pm slump? Have you conquered it or is it currently conquering you?