The Afternoon Slump

We allllll know the feeling. Three o’clock hits, and you are either running to the coffee machine or trying to quietly unwrap the chocolate bar that you have stashed in your desk, or both.  Today’s post is about a few habits I’ve incorporated into my daily routine that have helped me beat the afternoon slump.

1) Ditch the Heavy Lunch

Don’t eat a heavy lunch.  When you eat a carb-heavy lunch, your blood sugar spikes giving you that instant satisfaction and energy, but the energy doesn’t last long and only leaves you wanting more carbs and a sweet treat.  If you have a lighter lunch (still with protein, fats & vegetables), your energy will be much more even and stable in the afternoon.

2) Stay Hydrated

A 5% drop in your body’s water levels can result in a decrease in energy of 25-30%*.  People tend to remember to drink water in the mornings, but by afternoon have forgotten.    Not sure if you’re hydrated? Check the colour of your pee – it should be a pale yellow colour – almost clear.

I actually just heard about a great way to remind yourself to drink water.  Let’s say you know you want to drink 2L of water throughout the day and you have a 500ml water bottle.  Put 4 elastic bands around the bottle, and each time you finish the bottle, take an elastic off and refill it until you’ve done that 4 times.  It’s no real work, but will remind you to drink up!

3) Snack Properly

For me, this is the most important one as the quality of the snack has a major impact on your energy. I have a substantial snack with protein between 3-3:30pm everyday, even if I’m not yet hungry.  I try to aim for about 5-10g of protein.  Here are some examples:

  • 2 TBSP nut butter such as almond or sunflower, no sugar added (6-9g protein)
  • 1 serving Mary’s Crackers with 1 TBSP nut butter (>6g protein)
  • 2 hard boiled organic eggs (10g protein)
  • 1/2 a smoothie, if you didn’t have it for breakfast (10g protein)
  • Chia pudding – I will post a recipe for a chia pudding soon (>6g protein)
  • 1 serving plain organic Greek yogurt (11-18g protein).  Have this one in moderation since dairy intolerances are so common.

4) Go Easy on the Caffeine

Last but not least, (and this one comes purely from personal experience), the less coffee you have in the a.m. the better you will feel in the p.m.  If you’re a die hard coffee addict, try switching it up for green tea here and there, and make sure to be incorporating the lemon water first thing.

So give these things a try, and just think…if you can avoid the afternoon slump, you might even have enough energy to get to the gym after work!  Double win!

*Source: Nutritional Symptomatology, by Lynne Hinton, BSc, BEd, RNT, ROHP and Tracy McBurney, BA, RNCP, EMP

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