There was an undeniable trend on social media earlier this week: exhaustion. Adjusting our clocks for Daylight Saving Time left many of us feeling the drain. Of course, hitting a wall during your work day isn’t limited to the day after we “spring forward.” There are many reasons we can find ourselves wishing for a siesta. The next time you spend your afternoon yawning and wondering if there is such a thing as too much caffeine, try using some of these office-friendly pick-me-ups.
Get Up and Move
If you’ve been sitting and staring at your screen, a change of scenery can help perk you up. Go pick something up from the printer, refill your water bottle at the cooler, or stop by a coworker’s desk to ask a question in person instead of emailing or calling. Just get up and move. The activity and the shift in your environment and posture will help you shake off the sleepy feeling.
Take a Hike
Instead of working through lunch or using the time to get cozy in one of those plush chairs at your favorite coffee shop, go for a walk. If the weather (and your location) cooperate, take that walk outside! Even a few laps around the parking lot can boost your energy. Bonus perk: Not only will a walk help get your blood flowing and your brain working now, it may also help you sleep better at night, too.
Let the Sun Shine
Whether you walk or find a great place to just sit outdoors, spending some time in the sun is a quick, easy pick-me-up. Your time outdoors can boost your vitamin D levels, which helps fight fatigue. Basking in the warm sun isn’t going to make up for a night of poor sleep, but it can help you get through an otherwise sleepy afternoon. If you can’t get outdoors, spend some time in a bright space – turn up the lights or sit near the window. The brightness will help you feel more alert.
Drink Your Water!
Dehydration can exacerbate your exhaustion. As a coffee lover, I understand the urge to refill your cup, but take it easy with the caffeine. Yes, it can give you a temporary jolt of energy, but too much of it can lead to a precipitous crash of your energy levels and/or dehydration. If you’re really feeling the drain, keep sipping water to stay hydrated and more alert.
Some of us reach for coffee to perk us up, and some of us reach for snacks. (Some of us reach for both!) If your go-to is to refill your coffee cup or reach for a handful of your favorite sweet and/or carb-loaded treat, you may want to pay attention to this one. Junk food and carb-loaded comfort foods are easily digested and absorbed, which means we may feel a short-term spike in energy followed by a crash. Instead, snack on complex carbs and high-protein snacks that take longer to digest. This helps space out the energy boost in a more even and useful way. Same goes for your lunch. Reach for bananas, yogurt, berries, leafy greens, almonds, granola, and other quick, easy foods that offer you that prolonged boost.
Work with It
Some days you’re going to be fighting off weariness. Plan for it. Use your morning to work on tasks that you find more tedious. Use your afternoon for tasks that you generally enjoy more. Having something that you naturally draw energy from can stave off the mid-day slump.
Not every office environment is conducive to musical interludes. If yours is, however, skip the ballads and classical instrumentals. Pick lively music that gets your heart pumping to the energetic beat. Not sure what to include on your playlist? HubSpot put together a list of “Science-Backed Office Music Playlists for Productivity” that may be helpful. If you’re looking for the energy post, try the video game soundtracks, or better yet, the aptly named “pump-up” song list.
If you’re not one to play tunes while you work, try taking a break for a funny video. Researchers at the University of New South Wales found that humor can boost your productivity and energy levels when you’re dragging. So, go ahead and watch that side-splitting viral video. Just don’t fall into the rabbit hole of watching every one that pops up in your feed. It’s easy to be distracted on these tired days. Set yourself a time limit and then laugh your way through it.