We’ve all experienced the afternoon slump in the workplace. At 8 AM, we’re coffee-fueled superheroes, ready to tackle our tasks with a full, promising day ahead of us. After a little mental rest and sustenance at lunch time, we get back into a productive pace easily, checking off more on our ever-growing to-do list. But then the 2:00 hour rolls around, and we find ourselves stuck.
The afternoon slump isn’t just a perceived lull in workplace productivity–research has shown that workers naturally feel an energy decrease around 2 PM, partially due to our internal clocks and a drop in core body temperature which occurs from 2-4 PM. As the body temperature drops, the brain releases melatonin, which makes us sleepy.
So how do we combat the afternoon slump when it’s our very own brains that make us get tired and unproductive? Don’t worry, there are still ways to keep your boss off your case. Here are seven tips for beating the afternoon slump in your workplace.
Seven Tips for Beating the Afternoon Slump
1. Stretch it out.
If your profession is particularly sedentary, you might feel tired and achy from hunching over a desk or squinting at a computer from 9 to 5. Beat this aspect of the afternoon slump by taking deep breaths and regular stretching breaks at least once an hour to boost your circulation and your energy. This doesn’t mean you should get up and do aerobics–just take a jaunt to the restroom or a walk to refill your cup at the watercooler.
2. Drink it down.
Speaking of the watercooler, it can be your best friend when it comes to fighting off the afternoon slump. Studies have shown that not drinking enough water causes drowsiness, a lack of concentration, and even headaches, all of which are felt during the afternoon slump. Prevent these symptoms by bringing a personal water bottle to work, then drinking (and refilling!) it throughout the day. Having your own water bottle will also help you measure your daily water intake.
3. Switch it up.
If you’re staring down a seemingly never-ending workload, it’s natural to lose steam. Rather than working on one long task which will easily halt during the afternoon slump, break your projects up into smaller, more manageable parts. Then take short breaks after you complete each part, refocusing after each segment. This will increase your mental stimulation. You can also try leaving simpler tasks for the early afternoon.
4.Talk it out.
In the age of iEverything, it’s easy to let face-to-face communication fall to the wayside. But doing so can induce the afternoon slump. Rather than emailing your coworker to ask a question, take a stroll to their office and confirm the information in person. This will provide a physical break as well as a mental one. If your boss and coworkers are up for it, you could also take a “walking meeting” and discuss things outside of the office for a change of pace that’s sure to eliminate the afternoon slump. As we’ve said before, it’s good for employees to step out of the office every once and a while.
5. Fight the afternoon slump in the morning: eat breakfast.
The afternoon slump doesn’t just start and end at the office. You can eradicate it from your home by eating a healthy breakfast, which will boost your concentration, give you energy to start the day off right, and will prevent you from having a mid-afternoon sugar crash.
6. Eat a good lunch.
Getting out of the office for lunch is great, but resist the urge to grab supersized fast food and instead opt for smaller, yet satisfying protein-rich and carbohydrate-low meals. This diet will help you fight off the afternoon slump. Try a salad with grilled chicken or some salmon with a side of quinoa.
7. Munch on healthy snacks.
Sugary snacks are sure to make you crash and burn. Skip them (and other vending machine junk food) and grab a healthy snack instead to forgo your afternoon slump. Some fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, an ounce of cheese, or a few veggies with hummus are all great alternatives. Start chewing healthy foods before you feel the afternoon slump coming on, and you could avoid it altogether.
Beat the Afternoon Slump with Workplace Wellness Programs
Workplace wellness programs can help keep you and your employees from feeling the setbacks of an afternoon slump. Test Smartly Labs can help further workplace wellness with drug testing, employee health screens, flu shots, and more!