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Caffeine-Free Ways to Beat the Mid-Afternoon Slump

Struggling to stay awake past 2:30 in the afternoon, yet unable (or unwilling) to stomach yet another cup of coffee? We’ve all been there. Whether you’re yawning through a meeting or sneaking catnaps in the carpool lane, these caffeine-free perk-me-ups might be just what you need.

Get moving

An object at rest tends to stay at rest – so if you’re seriously considering a desk nap, it’s time to get moving! Take 10 minutes to climb some stairs, do a lap of the office and fit in some desk stretches – the activity will raise your heart rate a bit, get you breathing deeply, and just like that, you’ll be back to your bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self.

Drink a glass of water

We’re conditioned to think of caffeinated drinks – coffee, tea and cola – as the ones that give us an energy boost. But before you turn to those, try drinking a tall glass of cold water. Sometimes you feel tired because you’re dehydrated, and a glass of water is a quick and easy fix.

Have a snack

Eating small meals, more often, has been shown to help people maintain their energy levels better than eating three big meals per day. Have a small snack that includes protein (such as a boiled egg or a handful of almonds) for an energy boost that will sustain you for the next several hours.

Re-engage your brain

A recent study from the University of Michigan shows that office workers’ most commonly used wake-up strategies (such as changing tasks or hitting the Internet) are not associated with higher energy levels at work. “Rather, strategies related to learning, to the meaning of one’s work, and to positive workplace relationships were most strongly related to employees’ energy,” the authors report – so take 15 minutes to watch a TED talk, brush up on a work-related topic or chat with a co-worker about an upcoming project. Chances are, you’ll feel revived by the time you get back to your desk.

Go outside

A series of studies conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that people who regularly spend time outside feel more energetic and more positive about life. Spending  just 15 minutes per day communing with nature made a difference, improving the study participants’ energy levels, mental health and ability to withstand illness.

Think Long term

The strategies outlined above will help you get past the mid-afternoon slump, but if you’re struggling with fatigue on an all-day-every-day basis, it’s worth looking at your lifestyle choices to see if you could be making changes that would help improve your energy levels. Generally, you need to stay well hydrated, eat nutritious meals on a regular basis, and ensure you’re exercising regularly and getting enough sleep to have the energy you need to get through the day. Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight and reducing stress can also help you maintain your energy levels.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and still exhausted? It might be time to visit your family doctor. They’ll have insight as to whether your fatigue is lifestyle or health related, and can make recommendations that will help you get back on track.

What are your strategies for beating fatigue? Share them in the comment section below.

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