By ALLIE MYSZKA
Sleep deprivation. The “afternoon slump.” Burnout. Whatever the cause, we’ve all experienced those days where it seems nearly impossible to keep our eyes open. Before you brew a whole pot of coffee for yourself or reach for a sugary, potentially unhealthy energy drink, take a step back and try integrating these simple changes into your workday routine.
Have you ever felt a little “blah” sitting at your desk, but couldn’t put your finger on why? Maybe your eyes got dry and tired (especially if you work at a computer all day), maybe you noticed your lips were cracking, or maybe you just felt sluggish. That’s your cue to drink water! Your body needs it, and you’d be surprised how much a cold glass of it can make your body feel better and wake you up a bit. Bonus points if you hydrate throughout the day, but no matter what, at least drink a significant amount of water with your lunch. Unlike sugary or caffeinated drinks, reaching for water won’t leave you with a crash after an hour or two.
- Work out.
Yeah, yeah, yeah– we’ve all heard that working out can help increase your energy levels on a long-term basis by improving your overall health. But what about in the immediate? As it turns out, exercise can help with that too. The endorphin release you get from a solid workout can boost your energy AND your mood. The next time you’re frustrated with how your morning went, or struggling to focus in the middle of the afternoon, get moving. Even if you don’t have the schedule flexibility to leave work in the middle of the day for a workout, a simple walk around the block will help.
- Revisit your to do list.
Energy slumps don’t always have a root cause in your physical body. Mental overload can cause you to feel low, too. Pull out your to-do list, and remove one thing. Give yourself permission to do less work today than you initially planned. Lighten your mental burden and give yourself some extra breathing room to think clearly on the tasks you do get to today.
- Turn on the lights.
Has it gotten cloudy outside, but you’ve been too buried in tasks to notice? Lighting can definitely affect our energy levels. Trick your body into perking up by turning on a few lamps.
- Add some scent to your workspace.
Like light, scent can affect our mood and energy level. Find a candle that awakens your senses, and burn it in your home or office while you go about your daily tasks. If you’re a fan of essential oils, diffuse an oil like peppermint or something citrus-y to keep you alert and focused.
- Power nap.
If all else fails, it’s okay to take a nap! Sometimes our bodies are screaming at us to rest, and in those cases, these other tactics won’t do much to help you. Set an alarm for 20 minutes (any longer and you may wake up groggy), find a quiet place, and give your body and brain a quick break.
Allie was born and raised in Georgia, and moved to Nashville after graduating from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, an old soul, and a chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie at alliemyszka.com.