Anyone who has worked a day in his or her life knows of the afternoon slump. As the clock strikes 3 in the afternoon, head’s start to feel heavy, eyes blur, and the text on your computer screen grows dim and fuzzy. An epic brain fog rolls in and you find yourself stumbling to the kitchen in search of caffeine and anything containing a bit of sugar.
After your fix, you leave the kitchen only to see a steady stream of fellow workmates suffering the same affliction.Like zombies, they pass you in the hall. A short time later, you feel temporarily pepped-up and get serious about productivity. You plug away like mad trying to match the output levels you achieved in the morning.
By the time that afternoon slump hits you, there is little you can do beyond seeking a quick energy fix. It’s no wonder that coffee breaks are written into just about every employment contract. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s for your benefit though. Can you imagine what productivity would be like if you didn’t have your afternoon coffee breaks?
Be assured there is a healthy alternative to using fake energy sources such as caffeine and sugar. Today I’m going to share with you some of the key things I’ve learned over the years. Whether it was guzzling super strong cups of coffee at work or battling chronic fatigue, I have had plenty of opportunities to learn about how our bodies work and more importantly here, what gives us long term energy.
- Eat a correct breakfast
According to a survey carried out on behalf of [pdf] America’s Breakfast Council, roughly half of the population does not eat breakfast. According to a University of Massachusetts study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (vol. 158, No. 1, Pp. 85-92) eating breakfast away from home increases your risk of obesity by a whopping 137%! If you’re not eating breakfast at all, then you’re increasing your risk of developing obesity by, wait for it, 450%!
So, now that you know your parents were right and you should eat your breakfast, what should you be eating? You’re probably thinking cereal (carbohydrates), or pancakes (carbohydrates), fruit (carbohydrates), waffles (carbohydrates), yogurt (minimal protein), juice (carbohydrates), or a granola bar (carbohydrates). See a pattern?
Instead, try eating a breakfast that has a ratio of 1:1 carbohydrates to protein. Experiment and compare how your body feels when you eat a breakfast of almost pure carbohydrates. When I went on my road trip, I made sure I ate a large breakfast with plenty or protein and had protein with every meal whenever I stopped to get fuel. Try it, listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
- Go nuts!
If you don’t currently eat nuts then you should be. It’s time you went nuts about nuts! Specifically I am talking about raw almonds, walnuts and pecans. There are a growing number of people allergic to peanuts. What you should know about peanuts is that they are not actually nuts. Peanuts are legumes, thus the “pea” nut.
Nuts are comprised primarily of fat and protein. Search for the Glycemic Index of most nuts and you’ll notice that they all have an extremely low if not zero GI. What this means is nuts are a fantastic source of fuel for your body that will be released in a long slow gradual manner. Do this instead of reaching for fake energy boosts from caffeine and sugar. Consuming caffeine and sugar to stay productive is only going to damage your health.
You can keep a container of mixed raw nuts at your desk at work and enjoy small snacks during the day without interrupting your work. In fact you’re likely to increase your productivity. This will keep your metabolism burning (aiding fat loss) and keep your blood sugar levels steady.
- Get out of the office during your lunch break
Beyond dietary considerations, this is probably one of the most effective things you can do to beat the afternoon slump. As I mentioned in Stop the Laziness! 6 Simple Ways to Start Exercising Today, instead of staying at your desk and idly surfing the Internet during your lunch break, get out of the office for a brisk walk.
Many people have experienced the huge difference from getting out at lunch. Try it out and when you’re ready, start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. What’s so fantastic about this is there are so many benefits to be enjoyed from this simple change.
Give these tips a try and please let us know how it went by leaving a comment. Also please share any other healthy ways you have been able to beat the afternoon slump.
|Written on 11/20/2008 by Stephen Cox. Stephen learned the vital importance of good health the hard way having overcome open heart surgery at age 7, chronic fatigue at age 20 and debilitating migraines in between. Today Stephen writes daily at Balanced Existence where he shares the knowledge gained from his personal journey.||Photo Credit: