Beat the Afternoon Slump Without Coffee

Maybe you start the workday feeling empowered and fresh, but by the time afternoon hits, you can’t wait for a nap. Coffee is the solution of choice for many weary workers, yet associated energy boosts tend to be short-lived.

Here are 11 ways to steer clear of an afternoon slump without consuming caffeinated cupfuls.

1. Eat Nutritious Lunches and Mid-Afternoon Snacks

When snacking at work, aim for small, nutritious snacks, especially in the mid-afternoon. Also, avoid loading up on carbohydrates at lunch, and mix carbs with protein-rich fare instead. A turkey sandwich or container of yogurt with fruit is better than a heaping plate of pasta.

2. Go for a Walk

Rather than heading to the coffee machine, lace up your walking shoes and go for a brisk stroll when your energy dips. Studies show natural light makes people more active and improves quality of life, and you’ll get your blood pumping from the activity.

3. Interact With Naturally Energetic People

If some of your colleagues are naturally bubbly, vibrant people, purposefully meet with them during the afternoon in hopes you’ll feel the effects of their demeanor. You could even compliment them on their bright-eyed look to learn secrets.

Just say, “You look so alert, and all I want to do is make a beeline for the coffeemaker. What are you doing that I’m not?” At the very least, you won’t feel as eager to give into your sleepy feeling if they’re raring to go, and at best, you’ll get some energizing insight.

4. Take a Power Nap

Scientists have found it’s still okay to nap as an adult, and napping may even make you feel more rested for hours afterward. One study showed an hour-long nap made people able to work on tasks for longer periods of time without getting frustrated.

Also, napping for as few as seven minutes, such as when you nod off at your desk, could have restful benefits that last up to three hours. However, be careful not to nap for too long. Snoozing for two hours or more often makes people feel disoriented after waking, especially if they were already short on sleep prior to napping. And you don’t want to be tagged as the person who falls asleep on the job.

5. Listen to Upbeat Music

If your work allows for it, grab a pair of earbuds and blast some fast-paced tunes. Your heart may start to beat faster just after listening to a rock anthem, so it’s a good substitute when exercising for energy isn’t practical. Also, create playlists of favorite cheerful tunes so you’ll start naturally anticipating hearing them during your office grind.

6. Change the Room Temperature

The temperature in your office may be the key reason why you’re tempted to top off your coffee cup. Although conflicting thoughts about ideal temperatures abound, cooler temperatures may increase mental stamina during repetitive tasks. When it’s difficult to adjust the temperature due to a climate-controlled workplace, do the next best thing by opening the window to take advantage of cool breezes.

7. Beef Up Your Vitamin B-12 Intake

B vitamins, including Vitamin B-12, affect the body’s metabolism by enabling energy production. Trade your coffee cup for an energy drink rich in B-12, and see if the beverage makes you feel more engaged as the afternoon rolls on.

Adults should ideally get 2.4 micrograms of B-12 daily, and many energy drinks include that much or more. Read ingredient labels carefully and choose beverages that boost with vitamins, not sugar. Or, take a vitamin supplement in the morning to get the benefits all day long.

8. Pump up the Pressure

Chinese medicine practitioners believe blockages in the body’s energy flow cause problems ranging from diseases to fatigue. Battle tiredness by learning acupressure points to stimulate energy, and use them while sitting at your desk.

Scientists from the University of Michigan taught acupressure points to participants to induce relaxation and alertness but didn’t tell them which ones they were learning on specific days. Then the participants sat through three hours of boring lectures. Results showed the stimulating acupressure points made students more alert than the ones to encourage sleep.

Locate the loose skin between your thumb and forefinger and put firm pressure on it for three minutes while making circular motions to massage the area in both directions. Alternatively, put pressure at the base of your skull, one finger’s width from the side of your spine. Those are two acupressure points you can try to increase energy without attracting attention from curious coworkers.

9. Choose Uplifting Essential Oils

You’re probably familiar with using lavender to fall asleep and may spray it on your pillow and sheets just before drifting off into dreamland. Do the opposite at the office by reaching for essential oils such as peppermint and orange.

Known for their energy-increasing effect, these oils could cause you to feel as excited as what happens as you smell fresh coffee. Even better, these oils come in roll-on applicators so you can dab them on pulse points and take whiffs whenever your attention wanders.

10. Save Important Tasks For Periods of Peak Energy

Whereas some of us love to rise with the roosters, others are content as night owls. Regardless of your body’s natural rhythms, get in tune with them and concentrate the most mentally draining obligations during periods when you’re most awake.

Although you won’t directly boost energy with this strategy, at least it allows you to follow your body’s preferences and not force it to work its hardest during off-peak times. By doing less-intensive tasks when your energy’s low, you won’t exacerbate a tired feeling.

11. Drink Plenty of Water

Mild dehydration makes people feel tired and moody. Prevent those symptoms by keeping water within easy reach. If you’re not accustomed to drinking water throughout the day, set a timer to ring after short increments and hydrate whenever you hear it.  Sip naturally flavored water or carbonated varieties if plain water’s too bland for your taste buds.

The next time you’re considering caving to a coffee craving, try these tips instead. They’re easy to start using today.

How do you power through your afternoons? Tell us in the comments and on social media!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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