June 12, 2012

10 Tips to Avoid the Afternoon Crash. ~ Mackenize Kochs

Do you find your eyelids drooping and trying with every bit of will power to not fall asleep on your keyboard?

Check out these tips to help you increase your personal energy level, and keep yourself productive throughout the day!

1.  Eat and eat smartly.  This tip is twofold:  what you eat is just as important as when you eat.

  • –What to eat:  Eating foods with a lot of simple carbohydrates (i.e. sugar) will cause your energy levels to spike and then crash—hard.  Choose foods with high protein and complex carbohydrates, such as celery and peanut butter, nuts, seeds, yogurt and whole-grain cereal, or even hummus and veggies to keep your energy high throughout the day.
  • –When to eat it:  Avoid a dip in your energy levels after lunch: eat a heartier breakfast and a lighter lunch.  Snacking will also help you keep your energy up between meals, but choose your snacks wisely (see above).

2.  Get a move on.  Regular exercise will boost your energy levels—start by taking a short walk during your break instead of hanging out by the water cooler.  Invite your coworkers to join you or simply enjoy being outdoors by yourself.

3.  Sleep.  You’ve probably heard and read that you need to sleep 7-8 hours each night a million times, so just know that you wouldn’t hear it that often for no reason.  When you don’t get enough sleep, you build up a sleep debt that can be difficult to repay.  You’ll also have more energy if you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—including on the weekends.

4.  Have your own jam session, all day, every day.  You might already know that the pleasure centers in our brains light up when we hear music, so it’s no wonder that listening to music while you work can help you be more productive and energetic.  If you can’t listen to music all day, take a quick 3-minute break and get the whole office to sing along and jam to a song you all know—Journey, anyone?

5.  Stretch it out.  Feeling like you can’t keep your eyes open another second?  Stand up and stretch!  Touch your toes, reach for the sky, or even do a few jumping jacks to get your blood flowing and shake off that sleepiness.

6.  Drink up.  Water, that is.  Dehydration causes fatigue, so staying properly hydrated is crucial to optimal energy. Don’t be scared by the old “8 cups of water a day” advice—the Institute of Medicine looked at water intake by the old standards and determined that women should generally consume 91 ounces of water a day and men 125 ounces.  They also found that about 80 percent of water intake comes from water and beverages—the other 20 percent from food.  If you don’t like drinking water all the time, consider eating more foods with high water content, like lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, or grapefruit.

7.  Laugh until your stomach hurts.  Laughing is a great natural stress reliever, and there are definitely other great side effects of laughing often. Laughing can lift your mood and, in turn, your energy—so take a minute and check out xkcd or Llamas with Hats.

8.  Sniff some citrus. Citrus scents, like orange, lemon, and lime, stimulate alertness.  Keep an orange and your favorite citrus-scented lotion (try Bath & Body Works’ Wild Citrus Sunflower) at the ready to beat the doldrums.

9.  Just say no.  Know your limits and stick to them.  Overextending yourself will only lead to stress and less energy for everything you have committed yourself to.  As hard as it is to say no those first few times, it will soon get easier and your time will be more valued because of what you choose to spend it doing.

10.  Use caffeine wisely.  Caffeine in moderation provides a great energy boost, but letting it become a habit will do more harm than good.  Your body builds up a caffeine tolerance, which will make you consume even more caffeine to get the desired effect; i.e. instead of one cup of coffee you might need twelve to properly function.  Limiting your caffeine intake to earlier in the day will also allow you to sleep better.



Mackenzie Fochs is a contributor at LivingGreenMag, an online publication that informs and educates readers on a range of environmental and lifestyle issues, and highlights various non-profit causes. Visit www.LivingGreenMag.com.



Editor: Hayley Samuelson.


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