Almost nothing is worse than 3pm on a workday, when the world suddenly comes screeching to a halt. Minutes feel like hours, and you’ll shove anything with sugar or caffeine into your mouth just to make it to the day’s final bell. In truth, humans weren’t built to sit at a desk for eight-plus hours, but that’s the system within which we work. So, how can we keep productivity up when our energy levels plummet? Barring a power nap in the office, here are seven realistic suggestions.
Walk And Talk
Walking meetings may feel awkward at first, but eventually you'll get hooked. An afternoon walk not only wakes you up, it takes the pressure off your post-work fitness regimen by killing two birds with one stone. Recommended for small groups—no more than three or four.
Try A Natural Energy Boost
We love Raw Beauty, a supplement you can dissolve in water that's shown to increase productivity while improving your skin tone when used over time. It's a great replacement for that afternoon insomnia-inducing coffee or sugar-filled snack. Cordyceps Herbal Mushroom Tea is another healthy pick-me-up alternative to coffee; however, if you must feed your caffeine addiction and nothing else will do, we suggest opting for green tea in the afternoon instead of java. Likewise, if you can't live without your chocolate fix, try dark chocolate–covered almonds for a sustained boost.
Even a 2% drop in water levels can cause focus problems, and most of us go through our days with a much greater deficit than that. Every organ in our bodies relies on hydration to function properly, and making a habit of drinking a steady stream of water throughout the day can eliminate headaches, increase mental clarity and focus, and give you an added impetus to get up and walk around regularly (for those powder-room runs). Aim for at least ten cups per day. If you're apt to forget, set a timer every hour on the hour, as once you're dehydrated, there's no quick fix and it can take a full day to recover.
Send Your Brain To The Gym
Your first choice, if you have one, should be to get up and move around—nothing will do more to boost your energy level than a little light exercise; however, if you are strapped to your desk, avoid mindless activities like Instagram-scrolling in favor of fun but challenging ones that will force your brain back to life. The exercises on Duolingo, the foreign language learning app, are the perfect example of the type of activity that provides a welcome distraction from work while still working out your brain. A quick call to a loved one can also activate the brain, improve focus and mood, and reinvigorate your afternoon.
Chew, Sniff And Rub
Strongly-flavored chewing gum can instantly energize, as can massaging a dash of peppermint oil into the palm of your hand. The scent of an herb like rosemary also works; just rub a sprig into your hand or along your neck for an instant pick-me-up. Citrus is another go-to energizer in terms of scent, so an afternoon cup of hot water with lemon is a good choice to wake you up while aiding in the digestion of your lunch, ridding your body of toxins and even helping to reduce wrinkles over time.