15 Tips for Curing Afternoon Fatigue

Feel like you’re bound to crash midway through your workday no matter what? Fear not — there are ways to keep yourself from hitting the wall before the workday is over. With help from Reader’s Digest and Greatist.com, we take a look at 15 tips for curing afternoon fatigue.

1. Stretch

You may think you’re too tired to stretch out your limbs. In fact, this tactic can help you wake up. “Stretching out can provide a quick boost of energy,” Greatist.com says. Even just standing up from your chair and doing a couple shoulder rolls can help your muscles feel more awake.

2. Eat a protein-rich lunch

The key is to cut out heavy carbs, which will make you crash mid afternoon. Reader’s Digest summarizes: “For lunch, 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.”

3. Get some fresh air

Sure, this may be difficult when it’s the middle of winter. But you should otherwise give this a try regularly, Reader’s Digest says. “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,” they say.

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4. Switch up your routine

Because who actually wants to grind over the same exact mundane task for hours on end? Not us. “Working on the same project for five hours?” Greatist.com asks. “Try tackling something else to stay stimulated and keep things fresh at the desk.”

5. Declutter

It’s pretty amazing how much clearing off your desk and emptying your email inbox can cut into afternoon fatigue. “Both are relatively mindless tasks that don’t require great amounts of concentration or clear thinking,” Reader’s Digest says, “and both will leave you feeling more energized because you’ll have accomplished something visible as well as having reduced energy-sapping clutter.”

6. Organize an activity

Think walking meeting or powwow at a coffee shop instead of in the office — anything that gets you away from your desk. “Schedule an appointment during lunch for some forced activity that prevents us from feeling doze-y,” Greatist.com says. “This way, you avoid eating at your desk, too!”

7. Sip tea

“Get into the routine of a mid-afternoon cup,” Reader’s Digest suggests. “It’s a good step toward beating the afternoon doldrums thanks to that little bit of a caffeine burst and the few quiet minutes the brewing and steeping entails.” Greatist.com adds green tea will give you health benefits plus just a kick of caffeine.

8. Have an energizing snac

Skip the salty snack packs and carbs that will cause you to crash before the day is over. Instead, reach for some whole crackers, a couple cubes of cheese, or some sliced carrots and cucumbers.

9. Send a personal message

No, we aren’t suggesting you gab away on a personal phone call every afternoon and get in trouble with your boss. However, you should consider shooting your best friend or your sweetie a quick “hello”. “A five-minute keep-in-touch call will lift your spirits for hours and reinvigorate you to get your work done,” Reader’s Digest says.

10. Chew 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,” Reader’s Digest says. Just make sure you stick to a sugar-free variety — and that you aren’t smacking your gum so loud you annoy your coworkers.

11. Keep rosemary nearby

Having a plant in your workspace, in general, is good for boosting your mood. But the smell of rosemary is particularly good for revving up the brain and helping you to perform tasks faster — and better, Sleep.org says. If a plant is too much, consider keeping some rosemary essential oil on hand.

12. Put on some tunes

Listening to music you consider to be upbeat — let’s face it, we all have different tastes in tunes — can help you feel more energized when you feel fatigue during your work day. Plug in your headphones for as long as you need to get that extra boost.

13. Make excuses to get up and move

Sometimes, light stretching at your work space isn’t enough. If that’s the case, find tasks in the afternoon that require you to stand and walk around. This will keep the blood flowing through your body to your brain and keep you energized.

14. Try isometric exercises

Can’t move around much? Give isometric movements a try. “Isometric exercises involve nothing more than tensing a muscle and holding it,” Reader’s Digest explains. “For instance, with your arm held out, tense your biceps and triceps at the same time and hold for five to ten seconds.”

15. Give yourself a break

Heck, sometimes the best medicine when you feel afternoon fatigue isn’t to keep going. Sometimes you just have to give yourself a breather. “Sometimes the best remedy for fatigue is to simply shut the eyes,” Greatist.com says. “Learn how to power nap (10-20 minutes of snooze time!) to get that midday boost you really need.”

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