Facing an afternoon energy slump is something that happens to most of us. It may be entirely normal for you, but in some cases, it can reflect a health issue. If your low energy levels affect your quality of life, you should talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying possible health conditions.
Even outside of medical conditions causing your fatigue, it can be dangerous to have low energy levels or feel fatigued at times when you shouldn’t.
We think of fatigue as something that’s not a big deal, but it’s essential that you stay on top of it.
With that in mind, the following are some ways that you can naturally get past an afternoon energy slump.
Don’t Consume a Lot of Carbs at Breakfast and Lunch
You should choose healthy breakfast and lunch foods to keep you fueled throughout the day. If you opt for items that are high in carbs and low in protein, it can cause a spike in your blood sugar.
That spike can then reduce your energy levels.
Along with choosing healthy meals, don’t have many sweet snacks during the day and stay hydrated.
Many people are surprised to realize how much what they eat plays a role in their energy levels.
Be Aware of What Your Peak Productivity Times Are
In some cases, if you can’t altogether avoid your energy crash, you might at least want to find ways to work around it. For example, if you tend to be most alert in the morning, do your tasks requiring the most concentration during those early hours.
That way, if you do start to feel your energy waning, you might be able to do things requiring less concentration and focus.
Another way to work around your energy slump is to do collaborative work in the afternoon. The reason for this is that when you’re working with other people, it can help you stay more engaged instead of trying to do work on your own when you’re already feeling tired.
Sunlight and fresh air are good pick-me-ups when your energy is on the decline. You don’t have to go far. Just step outside for a few minutes and walk around your house or office building. If you’re driving, you might want to stop your car on the side of the road and take stretch breaks every hour or so.
If you move for just five minutes, it can improve your mood and help you feel better. It doesn’t have to be much to help you see benefits.
Use Essential Oils
Stimulating your senses can help you when you feel tired. Essential oils are a simple way to get a sense boost. You can smell an invigorating oil like peppermint oil and see if it makes you feel any better. You can also put just one drop under your nose, as long as you keep it away from your eyes.
Have a Cup of Green Tea
You might not want to have too much caffeine in the afternoon because it can keep you up at night, but if you drink green tea, it gives you a bit of caffeine and some other health benefits as well. For example, green tea has something called phytochemicals. These are energy boosters that don’t contribute to insomnia.
Rest Your Eyes
Eyestrain can be a factor that leads you to feel tired in general. Try to keep your computer screen at least an arm’s length from your eyes. Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes and look at something at least 20 feet away to avoid too much eye strain.
Turn On Music
One very simple and effective way to feel more alert and promote better memory and attention is to turn on music. Choose uplifting and energetic music. If you want to concentrate at the same time, go for music without lyrics.
Finally, if all else fails, try to set aside time in your schedule for a quick power nap if at all possible. Not everyone can do this either because of work or because naps make them feel more tired, but if you’re someone who can truly nap for just 20 minutes and you feel better then rather than feeling guilty about it, go for it. It can help you stay productive the rest of the day.
The pace of modern life rarely lets up and it can be particularly difficult to meet all of your obligations and get through the day if you are suffering from fatigue. Fatigue is an increasingly common complaint, and it is most noticeable in middle age. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to combat fatigue and restore your energy levels so that you can get more out of life.
Check for health problems
The starting point if you are suffering from chronic fatigue is to speak to your physician so that they can rule out certain illnesses, for which fatigue can be a symptom. These include serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and thyroid disease. A blood test can usually rule out many of the more serious conditions and if you are wondering where to get one you can speak to your physician or go online to find out about local facilities that can provide a blood test.
Related to this potential cause of fatigue is medication. Unfortunately, many medications, including those for blood pressure, and drugs such as antihistamines and diuretics, can lead to fatigue. If your fatigue appears to be related to a new medication, speak to your doctor and they may be able to find you an alternative medication that doesn’t provoke the same side effects.
If you’ve ruled out medical conditions and medication side effects, the next step is to increase the amount of physical exercise you undertake. Exercising more when you feel fatigue may seem counter-intuitive, but multiple studies show that taking more exercise can have a range of benefits, including making your heart, muscles and lungs more efficient, which in turn gives you more energy.
Any exercise is good, but there is some evidence to suggest that yoga is particularly good at boosting energy levels. A study in the UK found that volunteers who took part in a once-a-week yoga class reported improvements in alertness, energy and clear-mindedness and similar results emerged from a study of men and women aged 65 to 85 conducted by the University of Oregon.
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of low energy and impaired physical performance. Research shows that athletes who are dehydrated struggle to perform at their best level, and it can also sap both concentration and alertness. It is easy to spot if you are not drinking enough water: if your urine is darker in color than a light yellow, then you may well be suffering from dehydration.
Get an early night
Lack of sleep is one of the more obvious causes of fatigue, but that doesn’t make it any less significant. The fact is that if you don’t get enough sleep, you will lack energy and focus, and you will also be at a greater risk of experiencing accidents. Good sleep habits may even have an impact on longevity. The secret to getting more sleep is not to stay in bed later in the morning, but to go to bed earlier the night before. And if you are short of sleep, try a 10-30-minute afternoon nap. This can boost your energy levels without affecting your regular sleep patterns.
Fish is good for you
Fish is one of the healthiest sources of protein available. Not only is it good for your heart, the omega-3 oils in fish can also boost your alertness and reduce fatigue. A 2009 study in Italy found that volunteers who took fish oil reported feeling more vigorous and showed faster reaction times.
Respect your body clock
Everyone’s body clock is different. Some of us are full of energy in the morning, while others are at their best in the evening or late afternoon. These differences in our energy patterns are the result of brain shape and genetics, and that means that they are hard to change. So instead of trying to fight your natural patterns, try to become more aware of your own daily rhythms. Once you know what time of day you are most energetic, you can try to schedule demanding activities for that peak time.
Lose the extra pounds
Losing those extra pounds can make a big difference to your energy levels. In fact, even small reductions in your body fat percentage have been found to boost mood, improve vigor, and raise the individual’s quality of life. There are many ways to shed those pounds, but the most reliable methods include eating smaller portions, sticking to a more balanced diet and taking more exercise.
Too many of us accept a level of fatigue as a natural part of life, but in many cases, fatigue is instead the result of lifestyle. With a few simple changes, you can boost your energy levels, ensuring that you are more alert, and that you can get more out of your life.
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