In this episode of the Feel Good Effect, we’re talking about how to beat the afternoon slump with 12 science-backed, ultra-simple ways to boost your energy all-day.
How to Beat the Afternoon Slump: 12 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Energy All Day
About eight years ago, I was working 60-hours a week, was a new mama, and went to school full-time in the evenings, and let me tell you, I was exhausted.
The afternoon slump was next level and I was reaching for breakroom treats and pick-me-ups daily.
These 12 tactical ways to beat the afternoon slump are science-backed and applicable regardless if you are at a day job, out in the field, are a student, or still in quarantine, you can definitely take some of these and put them into practice right away.
This episode of the Feel Good Effect Podcast is sponsored by the Feel Good Effect book (yes, I sponsor my own podcast because that is how much I believe in this book).
The Feel Good Effect book comes out on September 1, 2020, and is available for pre-order now.
Two frameworks to help you beat the afternoon slump
1 | 4-R Framework (download the Essential Guide to Daily Wellness Routines)
The 4-R Framework is designed to help you create essential micro-wellness routines throughout your day.
I’m a huge fan of morning routines, but it’s also important to have these little wellness routines throughout the day so you can maintain focus and energy.
The 4-R framework breaks down these mini-routines into four parts of your day: (1) refresh in the morning, (2) revive in the mid-morning/day, (3) reset in the afternoon, and (4) rest in the evening.
With this framework, you’re putting investment into your energy earlier in the day to avoid the afternoon slump altogether, rather than putting a band-aid on it at 3 pm.
We want to make sure we are investing in our care, our energy, and our vitality.
“It’s not about more time, it’s about focused time”.
2 | 3-M Framework: Mind, Movement, & Meals
The 3-M Framework is a holistic way of looking at wellness, a coalescing of taking care of your mind, moving your body, and nourishing yourself for a well-lived, energy-filled life.
How are you incorporating mind, movement, and meals into your day?
Are you over-focusing on one at the cost of the others?
Invest small amounts of time for major payoffs.
You don’t need to spend more time to feel good and to reclaim your wellness, but it does need to be intentional and focused.
Tips for avoiding the afternoon slump
3 | Morning routine
You do not have to spend hours on a morning routine.
I invest 5- to 10-minutes in the morning answering some journal questions, drinking water and coffee, a facial massage, really just to send a message to myself that “I am worthy of care” and set myself up for success.
4 | Hydration
So much of what you feel like in an afternoon crash is related to dehydration.
It might be the least sexy tip out there, but it can make the biggest difference.
Start your day with water and drink it throughout the day (maybe drinking a big glass of water during each time of the 4-R routines).
5 | Eating lunch
If you’re finding yourself snacking throughout the day, I would encourage you to shift your mindset around the importance of lunch.
Eating a nourishing lunch is a radical act of self-care, showing yourself that you’re worthy of nourishment.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, I usually freeze extra soups or stews in mason jars and pull them out for lunch.
Oftentimes, the only meal prep I do for the week is lunch, and it helps a lot (for more, check out the Simplified Reset Program).
6 | Caffeine connection
There’s actually a wide range of opinions when it comes to caffeine consumption.
I think it’s really just about paying attention to the caffeine connection, whether you’re drinking tea, coffee, soda, or another caffeinated beverage– just pay attention to it.
We all have different timelines for metabolizing caffeine, so it’s highly individual.
Pay attention to how it affects your body and try not to use it as a bandaid.
7 | Energy audit
For a week, try to keep track on paper or on your phone when your energy level is naturally higher and when you naturally need a rest (Kate Northrup is a great resource for this).
Once you have an understanding of your natural rhythm, block your time around it to maximize the times that you are energetic.
We are not programmed to be on high energy 24-7.
8 | Schedule a break
There is research to support taking an afternoon nap, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
Instead, consider scheduling a mid-afternoon reset for 5-, 10-, or 20-minutes.
Don’t underestimate the power of movement when it comes to reviving yourself, your mood, your outlook, and your energy.
Exercise is not just a form of burning calories or building strength, it has everything to do with mental clarity, perspective, focus, joy, and energy.
It doesn’t have to be something that you need to even change into workout clothes for or get really sweaty.
It might be a walk, taking the stairs, a 10-minute yoga or pilates video (I love Robyn Long’s Balanced Life program, use my discount code to save $20)
9 | Music
Music has so many science-based, mood-lifting effects (for more on this, listen to Kelly McGonigal’s interview on the FGE)
Consider putting together an afternoon playlist that you can put on to reset, maybe of calming, spa music, or pump-you-up music.
If you’re not in the mood to dance, just listen and let it soothe your soul.
10 | Sleep well
Your ability to get a good night’s sleep will fully affect whether you hit a midday slump.
The best place to start is with good sleep hygiene to make sure you sleep well.
Return to your sleep schedule and see what you can do to sleep a little better.
11 | Breathe in fresh air
Even if it’s stepping outside or opening a window, that fresh air will signal your brain to wake up.
12 | Intentional breathwork
Pay attention to your breathing.
- Inhale for three counts.
- Exhale for three counts.
- Next level: extend the exhale for four counts.
That simple focus, mindfulness, will calm your nervous system and activate your parasympathetic nervous system (which is rest and digest) to help you deal with stress, build resilience, and ultimately have more energy.
(For more on breathwork, check out Ashley Neese on the FGE).
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