Ever feel your energy level take a big dip right after lunch? Sometimes, even when you felt refreshed and energized in the morning, you start to drag in the early to mid-afternoon. But don’t worry, there is hope! Test out some of these tricks to avoid the afternoon slump and finish out the rest of your day like a champ.
Smell a grapefruit. OK, we admit that sounds a bit odd, but it’s true! Citrus fruits are known to help awaken or liven the senses. Slice up a few pieces of lemon or lime and drop them into your water, or snack on a grapefruit. You could also keep some lemon or grapefruit essential oil on hand and dab it on your wrists right after lunch.
Eliminate white flour at lunch. If you often feel like curling up under your desk following your lunch break, it may be the food you just enjoyed. Many people—an estimated 6 to 7 percent of the population, around 20 million Americans—are sensitive to gluten which can cause headaches and fatigue after eating wheat and rye grains. And even those who are not sensitive to gluten can still feel ill effects from consuming carbs.
The white flour in your sandwich, wrap or pizza has gone through extensive processing which turned the grains into simple carbohydrates. These carbs are quickly converted into glucose which sends the signal to insulin to grab the glucose from your bloodstream and store it for future energy supply—depleting your current energy for several hours. Try eliminating white flour or bread from your lunch one day and see if you experience the same crash you typically do. If you don’t, then try to keep your processed carbohydrate intake to a minimum for a couple weeks. You may find that you feel much better.
Take a lap. Get up and get moving after lunch; especially if you’re one of the 75 percent of working Americans who have a sedentary job. Don’t have much time? No problem. Research shows that a brisk 10-minute walk boosts your metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure—which can energize you for up to two hours. You also increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, so you’ll not only feel more energy, but you feel happier, too. Added bonus: If the sun is out, you’ll increase your body’s production of vitamin D, which fights off fatigue.
Guzzle a glass of H2O. Many people don’t drink enough water during the day—and it can be easy to forget when you’re consumed with other tasks. When your body is dehydrated, the oxygen flow to the brain decreases and your heart has to work harder to get oxygen to the rest of your body, which can cause an increase in fatigue. Drink a full glass of water when you feel like it’s time for a nap.
Sit up. Are you literally slumping over at your desk? Cut it out! Not only is this putting strain on your spine, but it is causing your muscles to work double-time and use up extra energy. You should be sitting with your shoulders back and your ears should be above your shoulders (every inch your head is forward creates an extra 10 pounds of weight and pressure on your spine). Ask your chiropractor for more tips on the best way to sit in a chair.