13 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump at Work

If you’re like many people, shortly after lunch your head begins buzzing, your concentration plummets, your eyes droop and the

If you’re like many people, shortly after lunch your head begins buzzing, your concentration plummets, your eyes droop and the top of your desk begins to look as cozy as a feather mattress. Here are 13 ways to stay awake at work:

1. Head outside and sit in the daylight
for 10 minutes
. Better still, have your
lunch outside and divide your break
between eating and a walk. It will
help reset your chronological clock, keep
down the amount of melatonin (the sleep
hormone) your body produces during
this circadian dip and give you a valuable
boost of beneficial vitamin D, reducing
your risk of osteoporosis as well as
various cancers.

Plus: 15 Ways to Maximize Your Lunch Hour

2. Choose activating protein not
energy-sapping carbs.
So a tuna salad
without the bread is a better choice
than a tuna sandwich. A green salad
sprinkled with low-fat cheese, a hardboiled
egg and some sliced turkey wins
over a pasta salad. The change can really
make a difference.

3. Enjoy teatime. Get into the routine
of a mid-afternoon cup. It’s a good step
towards beating the afternoon doldrums
thanks to that little bit of a caffeine burst
and the few quiet minutes it entails.
Keep a selection of exotic flavored
teas (preferably caffeinated) in your office
and an aesthetically pleasing cup just for tea.

4. Clean your desk and clear out
your email inbox.
Both are
relatively mindless tasks that
don’t require great amounts
of concentration or clear
thinking, and both will leave
you feeling more energized
because you’ll have
accomplished something
visible as well as having
reduced energy-sapping

5. Make an “I was thinking of you”
phone call.
To your wife, child, siblings,
parents, a friend or a retired colleague.
A 5 minute keep-in-touch call will lift
your spirits for hours and reinvigorate
you to get your work done.

6. Put a drop of peppermint oil in
your hand
and briskly rub your hands
together, then rub them over your face
(avoid your eyes). Peppermint is a known
energy-enhancing scent.

Plus: 8 Secrets to Managing Workplace Stress

7. Roll your shoulders forwards, then
backwards, timing each roll with a deep
breath in and out. Repeat for 2 minutes.

8. Consider a morsel of dark chocolate.
This is not a license to overindulge, but
dark chocolate does have some unique advantages.

Unlike milk chocolate, it
is truly a healthy food, closer to the
category of nuts than sweets, given the
high levels of healthy fat and antioxidants
it contains. Plus, it has abundant fiber
and magnesium. Additionally, it provides
a little caffeine, as well as a satisfyingly
decadent feeling. But don’t eat more than
one square.

9. Chew some “spicy” gum. Chewing
gums with strong minty flavors are
stimulating, and the mere act of chewing
is something of a tonic to a brain
succumbing to lethargy. Plus, chewing
stimulates saliva, which helps to clear out
bacteria responsible for cavities and gum
disease from lunch. Just be sure to choose
sugar-free gum.

Plus: Soothe Workplace Madness

10. Plan group activities for midday. If
you often work on your own, try to
organize work involving others at the
time of day when your concentration
might otherwise be waning. We are social
animals, and interactions always rev us
up. But make sure it’s an interesting,
interactive activity. Sitting in a room
listening to someone else drone on and on
will just send you snoozing.

11.Take 10 minutes for isometric
Isometric exercises involve
nothing more than tensing a muscle and
holding it. For instance, with your arm
held out, tense your biceps and triceps at
the same time and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
You can do this with your calf muscles,
thigh muscles (front and back), chest,
abdomen, buttocks, shoulders and back.

12. Keep a rosemary plant in your office.
Not only will sharing your space with
a live, growing thing provide its own
mood boost, but studies find the scent of
rosemary to be energizing. Whenever you
need a boost, just rub a sprig between
your fingers to release the fragrance into
the air. Or, if you’re really wiped out, rub
a sprig on your hands, face and neck.

13. Have an afternoon snack designed
to get the blood flowing.
That doesn’t
mean a whole milk chocolate bar. The
high glycemic index in the chocolate bar
(a measure of how high it pushes up your
blood sugar) might give you a temporary
boost, but once that jolt of sugar is gone,
you’ll sink faster than the stock market
after an interest-rate hike. Instead, you
want a snack that combines protein, fiber
and complex carbohydrates (such as
whole-grain crackers or raw vegetables) to
raise your blood sugar levels steadily and
keep them up.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest